RESTES DE POULET: A LA VIENNOISE

Leftover chicken is never as good as the first day it was cooked.  The white meat dries out, and the skin is no longer crispy.  I have a usual repertoire of chicken salad, chicken omelets, chicken and rice, and chicken soup in which I make use of the leftovers.

But this recipe blew all of that away.  Rose has proclaimed it “the best thing I ever tasted!” and it got numerous acclaims from the rest of the family, even Mirin, who has a reputation of being a very exacting food critic.

It is basically a recipe for fried chicken, and has the interesting method of dipping the pieces of chicken in a white sauce, then in beaten egg, and finally rolled in breadcrumbs.  The chicken fried up beautifully golden, crisp, buttery, and somehow not dry at all, but tender and moist.

To begin with, you must make a white sauce, which is really quite easy.  I will have both the direct translations together here, and there will be modern versions together at the end:

 SAUCE BLANCHE

 Put into a pot, at the same time as a spoonful of flour, a large piece of fresh butter.  Wait for a moment before mixing, and then pour into the pot a large cup of hot water; add salt and pepper.  Mix until it thickens, take off of the fire and add an egg yolk beaten beforehand with vinegar or lemon juice, put back on the fire and cook, stirring, without boiling.

RESTS DE POULET: A LA VIENNOISE

Cut up the leftover chicken into pieces, dip into a thick white sauce, then dip in beaten egg, roll in bread crumbs, fry in butter and serve sprinkled with fine salt.
 

White Sauce

1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon flour
 
1 1/2 – 2 cups hot water
salt and pepper to taste
1 egg yolk
2 teaspoons vinegar or lemon juice
1.  Whisk up the egg yolk with lemon juice or vinegar, and set aside
2.  In a sauce pan, melt the butter and flour together.  Stir in the hot water slowly, as it will thicken as it cooks.  The consistency that worked best for dipping seemed to be thick enough to coat a spoon, but not thick enough that it is like a paste.  Season with salt and pepper.
3.  Take off the heat for a moment while you stir in the yolk beaten with lemon or vinegar, and then put the pan back on a low fire for a minute, stirring constantly.  Don’t let the sauce come to a boil again.

 Leftover Chicken, Viennese-style

 Leftover chicken, de-boned
White sauce (see above)
3-4 whole eggs, well-beaten
2-3 cups of bread crumbs (I tried it with just flour, and it was a good substitution if you don’t have bread crumbs on hand)
Plenty of butter, for frying
Salt, to serve
Lemon slices (not in the original recipe, but it was very good with a squeeze of sour citrus.  I also chopped up some green onion tops as a garnish)
 1.  Cut up the pieces of chicken into about 1×2 inch pieces.  Beat up the eggs and get set-up for breading:  plate of chicken on the left, bowl of white sauce next, then the eggs, then the bread crumbs, and lastly a plate to hold the breaded chicken while it is waiting a turn in the frying pan.  This part gets messy, with chicken, white sauce and bread crumbs all over (see picture above).
2.  Fry breaded chicken pieces in plenty of butter until golden and crispy.
3.  To serve, sprinkle with salt, and if you like, lemon juice.

{These French recipes are from a cookbook titled La Cuisine:  Guide Practique de la Ménagère by Chef R. Blondeau.  This book was passed down to me from my great-grandmother, who was from Alsace, a North-eastern region on the Rhine river plain in France.  It was published in 1930 as a guide for household cooks.

I am translating the recipes from French, testing them out with home-grown or raised food, and re-writing them in a modern format}

  
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