Wednesday, July 29, 2009

To Pound Or Not To Pound

Chicken cutlets may be more expensive than chicken on the bone, but have almost no waste, are easy and quick to cook, and nearly everyone likes them. When they go on sale, I buy several family packs, spend time trimming them, separating the tenderloins, and packaging them in bags of four cutlets each before they go in the freezer. The tenderloins are packaged in larger bags (always with the amount written on it), to make chicken fingers when a big group of kids are coming over. This way, I can take out just the right amount from the freezer. The small packages defrost quickly, and even if I end up cooking a few more cutlets than are needed for one night's dinner, leftovers seems to magically disappear from the refridgerator overnight!

The decision whether to pound the cutlets thin or not depends on the recipe. Shnitzel - always pounded! That way the cutlets, once breaded, cook quickly and evenly and the chicken is cooked through as soon as the coating is crisp.

For grilled cutlets, whether or not to pound depends on how the cutlets will be eaten and when. If it's a large party and people are eating hot off the grill, it's best to pounds the cutlets, give a quick marinade and then they grill in just a minute or two on each side. For cutlets cooked before shabbat to eat warm for shabbat dinner or sliced and eaten for shabbat lunch, it's best to grill without pounding. Grill marinated, unpounded cutlets over a lower heat and they will stay moist and juicy, and can be sliced on the bias for sandwiches, shredded to be added to green salads or pasta salads, or simply eaten.

This past shabbat, I made a spicy marinade and the chicken was delish!

Spicy Grilled Chicken Cutlets

8 skinless, boneless chicken cutlets

1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup lime juice
shredded zest from one lime
1 clove garlic, shredded or crushed
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Combine all marinade ingredients in a zipper bag and mix well. Add cutlets. Put in refrigerator for 2 to 3 hours. Grill over low or indirect heat.

Note: For shabbat lunch, we made sandwiches on whole wheat challah rolls spread lightly with mayonnaise, chicken sliced on the bias, arugula and fresh, ripe tomato slices - YUM


  1. mmmmm.... Schnitzel

  2. susan kleinman9:46 AM

    Any time the word "schnitzel" is mentioned, my husband says, "remember that great schnitzel Debra brought us when the baby was born?" Said "baby" is turning six this month -- suffice to say, that was some schnitzel!!

  3. Maybe I should have gone into the shnitzel business instead of the baking business!


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