Last week I talked about cutlets and how to pound them out for your cooking needs. They (cutlets) are fairly easy to cook and don't take very long. Stuffing them or rolling them up with other ingredients inside is a little trickier but still easy to do.
You will find recipes that don't use cutlets that are stuffed. Some will use chicken breasts and others pork chops. These recipes usually just have you slit the item to make a pocket to hold other ingredients. Those are great dishes but not the type being discussed today.
The cutlet is the item that will be used to stuff or roll. What is the difference between stuffed and rolled? When you stuff something it usually means filling a pocket or something like a pocket. To roll a cutlet it gives more of a pin wheel look if sliced through. Either method works it just may depend on how you want to present the food at service.
Let's talk stuffed first. If you take a cutlet that has been pounded out to a 1/4 inch thickness. Then place a filling of about 1/2 cup size (depends on the dimensions of the cutlet) in the middle of the cutlet leaving area of the cutlet all around the filling. Most of the time when you pound out your cutlet, it is not going to be perfectly square. One direction will be longer than the other by a little or a lot. It doesn't really matter. Once the filling is in place, you then need to bring the 2 sides of the short length in towards the filling. Next bring the long side that is away from towards the filling and then bring the other side over the first side and the filling. This should give you a bundle that shows no filling and will keep it inside the cutlet. Here you need to secure the bundle with toothpicks or butcher string. Either one will work well. They both just need to be removed before service. Yes, it takes a little practice to get good at it and make beautiful bundles. But they will still taste great even if you don't master the look that well.
At this point, the bundle can be cooked as is or your recipe may call for it to be breaded. Just follow your recipe and you will be fine. These bundles (unbreaded) can be baked, sauteed or grilled. Different recipes will call for different methods. Usually the bundles when breaded will be baked but not always.
Rolled cutlets come breaded and unbreaded, toothpicked or string tied depending on the recipe. No matter which way is used, they start by pounding out the cutlet. Again, they usually are not square. So lay the cutlet out in front of you with the longest side running from left to right as you look at it. It gives you a little longer bundle. Then you place your filling down the center from left to right as well. Be sure to leave some space on all sides of the cutlet. You now take the side closest to you and roll the cutlet up away from yourself. Depending on the filling being used, you may want to tuck the ends in to help seal the bundle. You will have a bundle that looks like a jelly roll.
Again, depending on the recipe being used, the bundle may be cooked whole or it may sliced first. If the recipe calls for slicing first, be sure to have the bundle toothpicked between each slice you will make. This holds the jelly roll together for cooking.
Today's blog may sound difficult but it is not and as I stated earlier you just need to practice a little. Have fun trying these techniques and remember it's the taste that matters more than the looks.
I will have a stuffed recipe next Thursday and a rolled recipe on next Friday. Tomorrow is a recipe for "Chicken Marsala" and Friday is "Rhubarb Crunch" this week. Enjoy them!