A cooking and baking journal

Chicken Cutlets Make for a 'Smashing' Good Time

5/23/10: Chicken Cutlets with Herb Mayonnaise served between two slices of Ballymaloe Brown Bread

Meal details: I baked two loaves of an Irish brown bread called Ballymaloe and served it with chicken cutlets seasoned with salt and pepper. For a sandwich spread I combined fresh parsley, mayo, and lemon zest and juice.

Defining moments: First time baking bread in a loaf pan! I've baked bread before many a time but I've always done it the artisan way; see what I mean here. This would also be my first time pounding chicken breasts; see how I did it without a mallet by reading on.

Recipe sources: The chicken cutlet and spread recipes are from Sandra Lee. I specifically chose these because I am part of the Food Network Chef Cooking Challenge that is being hosted by the writer of the I Thank My Mother blog. The Ballymaloe Brown Bread recipe came from the Early Spring 2009 issue of The Baking Sheet, a newsletter printed by the people from King Arthur Flour. Here is the recipe written out for you:

Ballymaloe Brown Bread
Yield: One loaf using a 8 1/2 by 4 1/2-inch loaf pan

  • 3 1/2 cups (14 ounces) King Arthur whole wheat flour, Traditional or White Whole Wheat
  • 2 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 2 tablespoons (1 1/2 ounces) molasses
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 cups (10 ounces) water

Combine all of the dough ingredients by hand, in a mixer, or in the pan of your bread machine set on the dough cycle. Mix and knead until a soft, smooth dough forms, or let the bread machine finish its cycle.

Cover and let rise for 1 hour. After the dough's first rise, gently deflate it and shape it into a loaf. Place the dough into an 8 1/2 by 4 1/2-inch loaf pan, and then cover with greased plastic wrap or a large inverted bowl. Let the dough rise for 30 to 45 minutes, until it domes 1 inch above the rim of the pan. Bake in a preheated 400 degrees F oven for 35 to 40 minutes, until it reaches 190 degrees F in the center when measured with an instant-read thermometer. Remove from the oven and cool in the pan for 10 minutes, before taking the bread out of the pan to finish cooling on a rack before slicing. Makes 14 to 16 slices.

What I learned: Being a person who doesn't like dealing with raw meat, especially when it is soft and slippery, I wasn't looking forward to pounding out my chicken to make cutlets. But I really wanted to try out this technique, and not having a suitable kitchen mallet wasn't going to stand in my way. I took out our Pyrex cutting board, a sheet of plastic wrap, and a rolling pin, and got to work. I cut each breast (which was boneless and skinless) into three or four narrow strips, laid the plastic wrap on top, and gingerly pounded each strip with the rolling pin. The job was really easy to do, the only thing I really didn't enjoy about the ordeal was the hot kitchen! lol! It has been over 80 these past few days, you see!

Now let's talk about my favorite part of the day: the bread. I used our Pyrex bread pans and sprayed them lightly with vegetable spray. You can see that my family loves Pyrex, can't you? I followed the recipe by letting the dough double in size, formed it into loaves, placed the loaves in the pans, and covered the pans with an inverted bowl. As soon as I saw that the loaves were 1 inch over the top of the pan, I made a slit on top of each loaf and placed it in the oven. I noticed that as soon as I made the slit, the loaves deflated slightly and when I took them out of the oven, they weren't very tall. I wonder if a) that is how high they should be or b), my slit was the culprit. I've never done bread in the pan before so I'm not sure! And oh by the way, I placed a roasting pan at the bottom of the oven and poured a cup of water in the hot pan when the bread went into the oven. I usually do this "steam" pan when baking bread, it is something I picked up from the book, Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day.

Any modifications? I followed the bread recipe exactly but I tweaked the sandwich filling a little bit. Because I didn't have fennel, red onion, or lettuce available, I left those ingredients out.

How did it taste? Superb! And a very good supper choice for such a hot day. The chicken was surprisingly moist and flavorful, (gee, a little salt and pepper can go a long way, can't it?), the spread complemented it very well, (that fresh chopped parsley was the star of the spread), and the bread was soft and tasty.

How about a 2nd time? Yes, and I am interested in giving this brown bread another go. Maybe next time I will have a loaf that will mimic the Empire State Building. Who knows? :D






I sometimes think I am an Army Cook. Now you can see why!






And here are a couple shots of dessert. It is an Applesauce Cake that Annemarie made the day before. She used the applesauce we canned last January and boy oh boy, it was delicious!


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