Chicken Paillards 101
What are Paillards?
Every cook needs a trick or two up her sleeve, a tried-and-true technique to rely on when time is short and people are hungry. Preparing paillards is one such method: Pound out a piece of chicken, pork, or veal. Cook it in a flash, and make a savory sauce right in the same pan.
The French term "paillard" may sound fancy, but it just refers to the flattened meat. You can find thin cuts at some grocery stores, but you will save money by buying larger pieces and pounding them out yourself. Sauces that are a cinch to vary ensure that dinner is never dull -- or more than just a few minutes away.
Step 1: Boning
Start with a bone-in chicken breast half (this will yield 2 paillards). Insert the tip of a boning knife near the ribs, and work the knife along the bone to remove the meat.
Step 2: Butterflying
Place one hand on the chicken, curving your fingers up slightly for safety. Slice meat horizontally, cutting almost to the other side. Open it like a book.
Step 3: Pounding
Place meat inside a plastic bag or between two sheets of plastic wrap. Working from the center out, pound with the smooth side of a mallet until meat is 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick. Cut into 2 pieces.
To use this technique, try our recipe for Chicken Paillards with Lemon-Butter Sauce.