How To Cook a Perfect Chicken Paillard

I love the paillard.  It’s easy to prepare, cook and eat.  Kids love them.

The word paillard refers to a piece of meat pounded thin.  You can make a paillard into satay pieces, a crispy milanesa, or you can stuff and roll the meat with your choice of filing.  Paillard-ing works with pork, turkey, beef, and chicken.

My favorite benefit of paillard-ing is that thinning the meat gives the appearance of stretching serving quantity. If you cut a pounded out breast in half lengthwise, each person can get a decent looking piece of chicken.  Your pocketbook will thank you, especially if you buy a chicken from the farmers market, which can be much more expensive than supermarket varieties.

Here are my rules for cooking the perfect chicken paillard:

1.  Find a happy chicken.

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Often I have to do two rounds of food shopping — one with my husband and one without, because farmers market prices astound him.  But trust me, food sold at farmers markets is worth the cost.  It tastes so much better that you won’t need as much quantity.  So on your next trip to the farmer’s market, buy a chicken, or some chicken pieces.

2.  Prepare your paillard with a knife before pounding it.

(Photos courtesy Don Reid at Serious Eats)

3.  Pound to even thinness.  Be gentle, you don’t want your chicken to turn to liquid.

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4.  Brine.  Soak your paillard overnight (or, if you prefer, you can brine the chicken breasts before you cut and pound them) in a mixture of equal parts salt and sugar, as well as other seasonings and aromatics to your liking.  I use lemon, garlic, parsley and thyme.

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5.  Coat in egg wash and Panko Breadcrumbs.  Panko are Japanese breadcrumbs and they’re like heavy snowflakes.  They’re the bomb! I seasoned my panko with salt, parsley and thyme, and a few gratings of parmesan cheese.

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5.  At this point you can either bake or pan fry your paillards.  I prefer pan frying.  Simply heat your preferred fat in a saucepan over medium high heat, add paillard and cook for about 3 minutes per side.  Serve with freshly ground black pepper and lemon wedges.

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What’s your favorite way to cook chicken breasts?  Please let me know in the comments below!

14 Comments on “How To Cook a Perfect Chicken Paillard

  1. Love this step by step, Sue! I’m so lazy, usually I just brine in salt and sugar in water overnight and roast them in the oven for dinner. I like this method of flattening the chicken, though, since it’ll cook faster and get brown all over. My parents used to raise chickens and we would eventually cook them. I cannot fathom doing this now, so I’ll avoid those live chickens, lol.

    • Really, Ngan, your parents used to raise chickens????? Wow! Your brining process is also what I normally do all the time. I find it really makes a difference, especially with pork!

      • 🙂 Yes, back in the OC in the 80s and early 90s. We had chickens for as long as I can remember. Fresh eggs, good meat, but the killing and cooking process was no fun to watch or be a part of. We were very humane though, and my dad even built them a huge home. You know those 200 sq ft tiny homes people are jumping all over now? My dad built them one of those, with a huge backyard for them to roam. Then I think the city laws changed and we couldn’t have chickens anymore.

  2. A great step by step on this Sue! Thank you for sharing! I like to marinade diced chicken breasts in herbs and spices, grill them or fry with a little olive oil and have warm chicken salads or like tonight, I made savoury rice to have with Moroccan spiced chicken breasts!😊

    • Great ideas. My husband always loves salads, but then he wants “warm” food . . . so chicken on top of salads I like that!

  3. That looks so good. And I’m so hungry at the moment. I agree farmer’s market prices seem pretty astounding, especially if you’re used to paying $1.99 for a dozen eggs, versus $8 or $9 a dozen at my market for truly free-range eggs. But the taste can’t be beat unless you grow the food (or raise the chickens) yourself.

    • Thank you Margherita, I agree. When my son was young we used to call this dish “schnitzel” and because he loved the crispiness so, when attempting to get him to eat vegetables or other foods we would call them, for example “broccoli schnitzel.”

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