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Take A Bite of Rochester’s Chicken French

WEBSTER, N.Y. — Don’t let its name fool you. There’s nothing French about Chicken French.

“The combination of chicken broth, butter, lemon and wine makes a sauce that is just delightful,” said Whitey Proietti, owner of Proietti’s Italian Restaurant.

The recipe made its way over the Atlantic from Italy.

“Originally, Chicken French came to Rochester through New York City,” Proietti said.

It was made with veal, but those who craved the lemon flavor learned chicken was a cheaper option.

“It kind of evolved from veal into chicken and then chicken into anything else,” Proietti said.

Now it’s eaten and made by the masses in and around Rochester, but when trying to find the perfect recipe online, the variations seem endless. We turned to Proietti, who can also teach you at one of his cooking classes. 

“(We are going to take) a white wine, just a domestic mountain Chablis,” Proietti said.

Proietti said boil the wine for three or four minutes so the alcohol is cooked out. In goes the butter, some lemon juice and chicken base, all to thicken up the sauce. Then it’s onto the egg batter.

“So, I’m going to take a couple of eggs,” Proietti said.

He said then add milk, parsley and Romano cheese, and don’t forget about the sauce.

“I’m going to take some roux,” Proietti said. “roux is a thickener.”

Finally – the main ingredient! Proietti said it’s important to make sure the chicken breasts are the same thickness across, otherwise they won’t sauté evenly. Once coated, it’s onto the second layer.

“So what we are going to do now is take our floured chicken and put it into the egg,” Proietti showed.

Check to see if the oils hot, and let the sautéing begin. Let it sizzle and pop until its golden brown and add it to the sauce. Add a little steamed broccoli on the side.

“I say eat it because it’s delicious,” Proietti said with a laugh.