Chicken Francese Recipe

Chicken Française in skillet
Chicken Francese

I am a huge fan of one skillet stovetop dinners and, today, I am sharing my recipe for Chicken Francese with you. This restaurant quality dish is basically pan-fried battered chicken breast cutlets served in a lemony white wine sauce. This savory dish is easy enough to make for a weeknight meal, but is certainly (at least in my opinion) suitable for company fare, too.

Like the other one skillet stovetop dinner recipes I have shared with you in the past (links at the end of this posting), this meal is not particularly difficult to make though there are steps involved. While it is not a complicated recipe to make, I recommend (as I do with all my recipes) that you read through the recipe a couple of times before beginning to make it to be sure you have a good understanding of the steps involved. I have broken this recipe down into bite-sized steps for the ease of those making the dish.

In terms of equipment needed to make this meal, I recommend the following:

Instant-read meat thermometer for confirming doneness of chicken
Kitchen scales for weighing chicken
Meat mallet (aka meat pounder or tenderizer) for flattening and tenderizing chicken cutlets
Microplane or fine grater for grating Parmesan cheese
Citrus juicer for juicing lemon
Large skillet for cooking chicken pieces

Plated meal of Chicken Française, Steamed Broccoli, and Whipped Potato
Chicken Francese

Chicken Francese (pronounced Fran-chay-zay) is sometimes called Chicken Française or simply Chicken French. While its origins are not clear, it is speculated that a version similar to this dish may have originally been made with veal and may have arrived along with Italian immigrants to New York many years ago. The term Francese means “French” in Italian so we can deduce that it is chicken made in a French way or using a French cooking method.

When it comes to organizing the making of Chicken Francese, I recommend starting with some pre-prep work. Measure out all ingredients. Mince the garlic and grate Parmesan cheese. Slice one lemon into scant ¼“ thick slices and squeeze the second lemon to yield two tablespoons of juice (strained). Measure out the chicken stock and set apart 1/4 cup of it. Set up two shallow dishes for the batter ingredients for the chicken – one for the flour, salt, and pepper and one for the eggs, milk, and Parmesan cheese. This advance prep work will help the cooking part of the process go quicker and smoother than having to stop and prepare ingredients as you go.

This recipe will yield four servings so you will need 2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts, each breast weighing about 8 ounces – so about 1 pound of chicken is required. Slice each breast in half, horizontally, parallel to the cutting board. Place chicken pieces between parchment paper or plastic wrap. Then, use the smooth side of a meat mallet to gently pound each of the four pieces of chicken to a uniform thickness of 1/3” – ½” thick. What you now have is what is known as escalope, thin boneless chicken pieces ready for pan frying. The action of pounding the chicken thinner will break down the fibers in the chicken thus tenderizing the meat. And, of course, it is easier and quicker to pan fry thinner pieces of chicken than entire thick chicken breasts.

Each piece of chicken is dredged first in the flour and then in the egg mixture. Coating the moist chicken with the dry flour gives a dry surface for the egg mixture to adhere. This two-step dredging procedure is going to form a light batter on the chicken pieces which will then be cooked in butter and olive oil in a large skillet until they are golden brown and register 165°F on an instant read thermometer. This can be expected to take, on average, about 3 minutes of cooking per side of chicken (depending on size and thickness of cutlets and heat used) but I do strongly recommend relying on an instant read meat thermometer to determine actual doneness. Don’t crowd the chicken pieces in the pan. Work in batches, if necessary, or alternatively use two skillets for this part of the recipe. Once cooked, keep the chicken pieces warm while making the sauce. If your oven has a specific “warm” setting, this is an ideal environment. Alternatively, tent the chicken cutlets with tinfoil.

Once the chicken is cooked, add another tablespoon each of olive oil and butter to the pan and add the lemon slices. Cook these over medium heat for 3-4 minutes, turning the slices once during cooking, and cook just until they show some caramelized color and even some slight charring is okay – it will just give the dish a more rustic look. These are then removed from the pan and will be used to garnish the chicken when plating it.

Caramelized Lemon Slice atop Chicken French in skillet
Caramelized Lemon Slice Atop Chicken Francese

After the lemon slices have been removed from the pan, use some paper towel to wipe the skillet clean.

Add a couple of tablespoons of butter to the clean pan and add the minced garlic, cooking it for just 20-30 seconds ensuring that it does not scorch. Stir the garlic constantly and briskly. Then, add the ¼ cup of reserved chicken stock into which 1½ tablespoons of cornstarch has been whisked. Keep stirring this mixture for a few seconds then remove the pan from the heat and add the white wine. Any kind of dry white wine that you would drink is fine for this recipe. Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, or a dry Riesling are all good choices for this dish and will add a bit of acidity to the sauce while adding depth and complex flavor notes. Cook this for about 2 minutes which will allow the alcohol in the wine to cook off so you won’t be left with a sauce that tastes distinctively of wine. It’s the underlying flavor notes we’re looking for here, not an alcohol taste.

Add the remaining chicken stock along with the Herbes de Provence or Italian Seasoning and cook, stirring frequently, for approximately 4-5 minutes or until the sauce thickens to the point that it would coat the back of a wooden spoon. Lastly, stir in the lemon juice to brighten the sauce and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Chicken French topped with caramelized lemon slices in skillet
Chicken Francese

Return the cooked chicken cutlets to the sauce and spoon the sauce over each one. Cook over low heat for just a couple of minutes to ensure the chicken is reheated to a comfortable eating temperature.

Plate the chicken cutlets and spoon the sauce over top. Top each cutlet with finely grated Parmesan Cheese, if desired, and a lemon slice. A sprinkle of chopped fresh parsley, adds a dash of color to each cutlet, too. Serve Chicken Francese with rice, pasta, salad, roasted vegetables, or choice of potato. Enjoy!

Chicken Française topped with a caramelized lemon slice served alongside steamed broccoli and whipped potatoes
Chicken Francese

Chicken Francese

Ingredients:

Step 1:
2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts (apx. 1 lb), cut in half, horizontally
Salt and pepper

1/3 cup all-purpose flour
Salt and Pepper

2 large eggs, room temperature
2 tbsp milk, room temperature
2 tbsp finely grated Parmesan cheese

3 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp butter

Step 2:
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp butter
1 large lemon, sliced into slices a scant ¼“ thick

Step 3:
2 tbsp butter
3 cloves garlic, minced

Steps 4, 5, and 6:
¾ cup + 1 tbsp chicken stock (reserve ¼ cup from this amount)
½ cup dry white wine
1½ tablespoons cornstarch
1-2 tsp Herbes de Provence or Italian Seasoning
2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
Salt and Pepper, to taste

2-3 tbsp finely grated Parmesan Cheese (optional)
Chopped fresh parsley for garnish (optional)

Equipment Needed:

Instant-read meat thermometer for confirming doneness of chicken
Kitchen scales for weighing chicken
Meat mallet (aka meat pounder or tenderizer) for flattening and tenderizing chicken cutlets
Microplane or fine grater for grating Parmesan cheese
Citrus juicer for juicing lemon
Large skillet for cooking chicken pieces

Method:

Pre-prep:
Measure out all ingredients. Mince the garlic and grate Parmesan cheese. Slice one lemon into scant ¼“ thick slices and squeeze the second lemon to yield 2 tbsp juice (strained). Measure out the chicken stock and set apart 1/4 cup of it. Set up two separate shallow dishes as follows: Mix flour with salt and pepper in one of the shallow dishes. Break eggs into a bowl and lightly beat with a fork. Stir in the milk followed by the Parmesan cheese. Transfer mixture to the second shallow dish.

Step 1:
With sharp butcher knife, slice each chicken breast in half, horizontally, parallel to the cutting board. Place each piece of chicken between two pieces of plastic wrap or parchment paper. Using the smooth side of a meat mallet, gently pound each piece of chicken to a uniform thickness of 1/3”– ½” thick, being careful not to tear the chicken. Sprinkle both sides of chicken cutlets with salt and pepper.

Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in large skillet over medium to medium-high heat. When hot and the oil is shimmering, add 2 tablespoons of butter.

While oil and butter are heating, dredge both sides of each piece of chicken with the flour mix. Shake off excess flour. Dip each flour-coated cutlet in the egg/milk/cheese mixture. Shake off excess liquid.

Transfer the chicken pieces to the hot skillet, making sure not to crowd them in the pan. Work in batches, if necessary, or use two pans. Cook the chicken pieces over medium to medium-high heat for approximately 3 minutes per side (depending on their size and thickness and heat used), or until their internal temperature registers 165°F on an instant read meat thermometer. Remove the chicken pieces from the pan and place in heatproof dish. Cover. Place chicken in oven set to the warm or lowest setting or, alternatively, tent with tin foil to keep the chicken pieces warm.

Step 2:
Over medium heat, add 1 more tablespoon each of olive oil and butter to the pan. Add the lemon slices, cooking 3-4 minutes or until lemon slices develop a light caramel color or are slightly charred and fragrant (turn lemon slices half-way through cooking time to brown both sides). Remove from heat and set aside. Wipe out pan with paper towel.

Step 3:
Add 2 tbsp butter to pan set over medium heat. When butter has melted, reduce heat to medium-low and add the minced garlic and cook for about 20-30 seconds, stirring constantly. Do not let garlic scorch.

Step 4:
Whisk 1½ tbsp cornstarch into ¼ cup of the reserved and slightly cooled chicken stock. Add mixture to the pan. Stir constantly for a few seconds until mixture starts to show signs of thickening. Remove pan from heat and add the wine. Return pan to stove over medium-low heat for about 2 minutes, stirring sauce frequently to ensure lumps do not form.

Add the remaining chicken stock along with the Herbes de Provence or Italian Seasoning and cook for 4-5 minutes or until the sauce thickens to the point that it would coat the back of a wooden spoon. Stir frequently. Stir in lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Steps 5 and 6:
Return the chicken pieces to the pan for a couple of minutes over medium-low heat, spooning the sauce over each cutlet. Plate the chicken pieces and, if desired, add a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese. Top each cutlet with a slice of browned lemon. Sprinkle with chopped fresh parsley, if desired.

Serve immediately alongside rice, pasta, or favorite potato side dish and  vegetable of choice.

Yield: 4 servings

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Chicken Francese

If you love one skillet stovetop dinners, you will love Chicken Francese! This restaurant quality dish consists of lightly battered pan-fried chicken breast cutlets served in a lemon and white wine sauce.
Course Main Course
Keyword Chicken, chicken francese, one skillet dinner, stovetop dinner
Servings 4
My Island Bistro Kitchen My Island Bistro Kitchen

Ingredients

Step 1:

  • 2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts (apx. 1 lb), cut in half, horizontally
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 tbsp milk, room temperature
  • 2 tbsp finely grated Parmesan cheese
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp butter

Step 2:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 large lemon, sliced into slices a scant ¼“ thick

Step 3:

  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced

Steps 4, 5, and 6:

  • ¾ cup + 1 tbsp chicken stock (reserve ¼ cup from this amount)
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1-2 tsp Herbes de Provence or Italian Seasoning
  • 2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste
  • 2-3 tbsp finely grated Parmesan Cheese (optional)
  • Chopped fresh parsley for garnish (optional)

Instructions

Pre-prep:

  1. Measure out all ingredients. Mince the garlic and grate Parmesan cheese. Slice one lemon into scant ¼“ thick slices and squeeze the second lemon to yield 2 tbsp juice (strained). Measure out the chicken stock and set apart 1/4 cup of it. Set up two separate shallow dishes as follows: Mix flour with salt and pepper in one of the shallow dishes. Break eggs into a bowl and lightly beat with a fork. Stir in the milk followed by the Parmesan cheese. Transfer mixture to the second shallow dish.

Step 1:

  1. With sharp butcher knife, slice each chicken breast in half, horizontally, parallel to the cutting board. Place each piece of chicken between two pieces of plastic wrap or parchment paper. Using the smooth side of a meat mallet, gently pound each piece of chicken to a uniform thickness of 1/3”– ½” thick, being careful not to tear the chicken. Sprinkle both sides of chicken cutlets with salt and pepper.
  2. Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in large skillet over medium to medium-high heat. When hot and the oil is shimmering, add 2 tablespoons of butter.
  3. While oil and butter are heating, dredge both sides of each piece of chicken with the flour mix. Shake off excess flour. Dip each flour-coated cutlet in the egg/milk/cheese mixture. Shake off excess liquid.
  4. Transfer the chicken pieces to the hot skillet, making sure not to crowd them in the pan. Work in batches, if necessary, or use two pans. Cook the chicken pieces over medium to medium-high heat for approximately 3 minutes per side (depending on their size and thickness and heat used), or until their internal temperature registers 165°F on an instant read meat thermometer. Remove the chicken pieces from the pan and place in heatproof dish. Cover. Place chicken in oven set to the warm or lowest setting or, alternatively, tent with tin foil to keep the chicken pieces warm.

Step 2:

  1. Over medium heat, add 1 more tablespoon each of olive oil and butter to the pan. Add the lemon slices, cooking 3-4 minutes or until lemon slices develop a light caramel color or are slightly charred and fragrant (turn lemon slices half-way through cooking time to brown both sides). Remove from heat and set aside. Wipe out pan with paper towel.

Step 3:

  1. Add 2 tbsp butter to pan set over medium heat. When butter has melted, reduce heat to medium-low and add the minced garlic and cook for about 20-30 seconds, stirring constantly. Do not let garlic scorch.

Step 4:

  1. Whisk 1½ tbsp cornstarch into ¼ cup of the reserved and slightly cooled chicken stock. Add mixture to the pan. Stir constantly for a few seconds until mixture starts to show signs of thickening. Remove pan from heat and add the wine. Return pan to stove over medium-low heat for about 2 minutes, stirring sauce frequently to ensure lumps do not form.
  2. Add the remaining chicken stock along with the Herbes de Provence or Italian Seasoning and cook for 4-5 minutes or until the sauce thickens to the point that it would coat the back of a wooden spoon. Stir frequently. Stir in lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Steps 5 and 6:

  1. Return the chicken pieces to the pan for a couple of minutes over medium-low heat, spooning the sauce over each cutlet. Plate the chicken pieces and, if desired, add a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese. Top each cutlet with a slice of browned lemon. Sprinkle with chopped fresh parsley, if desired.
  2. Serve immediately alongside rice, pasta, or favorite potato side dish and vegetable of choice.

Recipe Notes

Yield: 4 servings

[Copyright My Island Bistro Kitchen]

You may also enjoy these other stove-top one skillet dinner recipes from My Island Bistro Kitchen:

Chicken Marsala
Chicken Florentine
Maple-Orange Sauced Chicken Breasts 

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Chicken Française in skillet on counter
Chicken Francese

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