Mushroom Stuffed Chicken Breasts

New Year is approaching and during the course of the week we will greet both friends and strangers with wishes for a Happy New Year.  It is the time of year when we are filled with goodwill, and we extend the hope that a better year lies ahead for all of us.  It is the time of year when everyone is planning celebrations, large and small, simple or lavish, an opportunity to spend an evening with people you care about.

Some of my best memories of New Year’s Eve are of simple dinner parties, like those that my parents hosted when I was growing up in The Bronx.  The silver chafing dishes were polished and shined, the dining room table was beautifully set, and my mother would prepare some of my favorite dishes.  Tender sweetbreads in a mushroom sauce, miniature matzoh balls in mushroom gravy, and farfel with caramalized onions and mushrooms. (it was not till I began writing this post that I realized how many of the dishes included mushrooms)  One wonderful New Year’s Eve was spent in Philadelphia with my cousin Micheline and her family.  Even though there were just a few of us, Micheline wore a full length gown and a tiara on her head. We sat on the carpet in the living room around the coffee table, and dined on cheese, baguettes and champagne.  No matter where I was, we always watched the ball fall in Times Square and listened to Guy Lombardo’s rendition of  Auld Lang Syne, .  That melody speaks volumes.

To all of you, and to my family (old and new) and my friends, I wish you all a very Happy New Year.

Mushroom Stuffed Chicken

There is no recipe for this, but it is simple to make. No exact measurements are required.

Pounded chicken breasts

Shiitake mushrooms

Garlic

Italian Parsley

3-4 Tbs Olive Oil

Eggs

Bread Crumbs

salt and pepper to taste.

Slice Shiitake mushrooms and sauté in olive oil along with minced garlic and chopped parsley. Add salt and pepper to taste and cook till mushrooms are tender. Remove from heat.  Fill each flattened chicken breast with some of the mixture and roll up. Dip in beaten egg and then seasoned bread crumbs.  Return to hot frying pan to which you have added some extra olive oil. Fry till golden on both sides.  Place frying pan in a 350 degree oven for about 20 minutes till chicken is cooked through. Slice on the diagonal and serve.

Enjoy,

Irene

Schnitzle

For years now a group of our friends have being going to the Hollywood Bowl to celebrate the Fourth of July.  We arrive early, picnic, and then head over to our seats.  It has all the elements of what I consider to be the perfect night: spending an entire evening outdoors, dining and listening to music surrounded by family and friends.  Among us there are two immigrants, one from Canada and one from England,  two first generation Americans, and the rest are “real” Americans.  We have never discussed how we feel about this particular holiday so I have no idea if the others find it as meaningful as I do.  I have always been very aware that my parents could have ended up anywhere in the world when they left France in 1952.  Fortunately they came to this country and made it their home and mine.

Happy Fourth of July!!

My mother’s version of fried chicken, a  traditional Fourth of July dish, was Schnitzle, pounded boneless chicken breasts, breaded and fried. What a great way to combine the old world with the new.

Schnitzle

1 lb. boneless chicken breast, pounded thin

1/2 cup flour

3 eggs, beaten

1 cup bread crumbs

salt and pepper to taste

1/4 cup oil or more as needed

Place flour, beaten eggs, and seasoned bread crumbs in three separate shallow bowls. In assembly line order, dip each breast in flour, eggs,  and then seasoned bread crumbs.  Heat oil in frying pan (cast iron is best) till sizzling. Fry schnitzle till golden on each side.

Serves 4

Enjoy,

Irene

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