Chicken French Rochester New York Style

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Steve H

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Feb 18, 2018
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Newark New York
Morning all.
Here is a regional favorite of mine. The history behind this. And it's original term, veal french, is a interesting topic up this way. I attached a story about how and where this dish came about.
Anyway, that was our dinner from last night. I served it with sauted asparagus with shallots and oven roasted baby reds with ranch dressing.

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ROCFLAVORS
Is Chicken French really a Rochester thing? Five facts
Tracy Schuhmacher
Democrat and Chronicle

View Comments
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Rochesterians like their Chicken French. That much is for sure.
After we published a story on Chicken French (or chicken franchese) being the most popular new recipe published in the New York Times this year, the response was enormous. More than 500 people posted their favorite place for Chicken French on our Facebook page, and readers flooded my in box with suggestions.
One question that was asked repeatedly: Is Chicken French really a Rochester thing? The answer is yes, mostly. Former food and drink reporter Karen Miltner traced the origin story in 2005.
Here are some key facts about the dish.
1. The "French" concept wasn't created here.
Vitello Francese is an Italian-American dish that was served in New York City after World War II, and is now served at restaurants around the country. When the dish made its way to Rochester, Rochesterians opted for the American translation, Veal French.
2. Rochester brought the chicken and the popularity.
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James Cianciola, who was also known as Chef Vincenzo, served Veal French at the Brown Derby, a restaurant on Monroe Avenue in Brighton. After anti-veal picketers urged a boycott of the restaurant in the 1970s, Cianciola put Chicken French on the menu. It was a popular offering, and the restaurant added Artichoke French, Cauliflower French, Haddock French and so on.
Other Rochester restaurants followed suit, and the dish is now ubiquitous on Rochester restaurant menus.

3. There's a debate about a main ingredient.
Sherry or wine in the sauce? That is a debate among home cooks and chefs alike.
The Cianciola brothers used an assertive sherry in their sauce, according to Miltner's story. Others — including the one from Proietti's in Webster, below, use a dry white wine.
4. Rochester chefs wrote the book on Chicken French.
Nate Cianciola, along with his brother, James, wrote a book called Frenching Food Italian Style, highlighting 73 recipes from the Brown Derby including Veal French.
It is available on Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com.
5. You can even get a vegan French.
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Elizabeth McDade emailed that when she switched to a vegan diet, one of the dishes she missed most was "French," especially artichokes.
She was able to get her fix at Cinelli's Pizza Ristorante, 840 Long Pond Road in Greece. It is "TRULY delicious and hits all the right notes," McDade said.
A Rochester Chicken French Recipe
While Julia Moskin's recipe in the New York Times recipe hits all the right notes, here's a local recipe courtesy of Webster restaurateur Whitey Proietti. It was originally published in the Democrat and Chronicle in 2005, and readers have indicated that it's still a favorite.

Ingredients
• 1 cup flour
• Pinch of salt and black pepper
• 6 eggs
• 6 tablespoons milk
• 2 heaping tablespoons grated Romano cheese
• 1 1/2 teaspoons dried parsley flakes or 1 tablespoon fresh chopped parsley
• 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
• 2 cups vegetable oil
• 2 cups white wine (Proietti recommends Chablis)
• Juice of 1/2 lemon
• 1 tablespoon chicken base
• 6 tablespoons butter
 
Funny, here I am 60 miles away and Chicken French is not a thing here, in fact this is the first I've heard of it.
Thanks for the post,
 
Funny, here I am 60 miles away and Chicken French is not a thing here, in fact this is the first I've heard of it.
Thanks for the post,

I know. When we go on vacation I ask about a areas local favorites that appear regional.
 
Great looking plate Steve, love the little potatoes. Nice color on all. I'm not a big asparagus fan, but I would eat the rest. :)

I also have never heard of this. Good story , thanks

David
 
Great looking plate Steve, love the little potatoes. Nice color on all. I'm not a big asparagus fan, but I would eat the rest. :)

I also have never heard of this. Good story , thanks

David

Thank you! The taters were perfect. By boiling them the day before, and freezing them. And baking the next day results in a perfect blend of crispy coating with a nice puffy flesh.
 
Call it what you will .....I'd eat that up with a quickness. Good looking plate Steve!
Jim
 
I never heard of it either. Lived in Batavia for a few years, no stranger to Rochester.

Definitely going to try the boil/freeze/bake on the potatoes!
 
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That plate looks great Steve, everything on it makes my mouth water... YUM!

Here's the rest of the recipe for folks like me who want to know how to execute this.
Mix together flour, salt and pepper. Set aside. Mix together eggs, milk, cheese and parsley. Beat well. Set aside. Tenderize chicken and pound thin. Coat chicken with flour Dip chicken into egg mixture, coating well. In a medium size frying pan, heat the oil until hot.(To tell if the oil is ready, drip a bit of egg mix in the oil, if it sizzles it is ready). Saute’ the chicken until golden brown on each side. Discard the hot oil, and pour wine into hot frying pan adding the lemon, chicken base and butter. Simmer an additional 3-4 minutes. Transfer to serving plate, cover with sauce, and eat hot.

(Serves 4)
 
Great looking dish and a nice story to go with it Steve! That'd be quite a difference in flavor depending on if one used sherry or Chablis. A lot of nice work on that plate, Like! RAY
 
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Man Steve you nailed it on this one!! Beautiful meal that has to be rich and delicious!! Love the backstory with it.
 
Steve- question on the potatoes.

Do you fully cook them in the boil, or partially then finish in the bake?

Thanks
 
Call it what you will .....I'd eat that up with a quickness. Good looking plate Steve!
Jim
Thanks Jim!

I never heard of it either. Lived in Batavia for a few years, no stranger to Rochester.

Definitely going to try the boil/freeze/bake on the potatoes!
Thank you!

6 eggs seems like a lot
You'll need 6 eggs because the parm cheese sucks up the whites.

Looks interesting (and good!).
So is it fried or baked?
Fried. Though I don't use quite that much.

That plate looks great Steve, everything on it makes my mouth water... YUM!

Here's the rest of the recipe for folks like me who want to know how to execute this.
Thanks! And thanks for posting up the rest of the recipe. I though the whole thing transferred.

Great looking dish and a nice story to go with it Steve! That'd be quite a difference in flavor depending on if one used sherry or Chablis. A lot of nice work on that plate, Like! RAY
Thanks Ray! I've used white wine in the past because I was out of sherry. It was ok. But I prefer sherry.

Man Steve you nailed it on this one!! Beautiful meal that has to be rich and delicious!! Love the backstory with it.
Thanks Jeff!

That looks like an excellent meal.
Thanks!

Steve- question on the potatoes.

Do you fully cook them in the boil, or partially then finish in the bake?

Thanks
Ah, I gave that recipe out in the past. But forgot to mention it here. You boil until slightly firm so they don't break apart when you slice them in half for baking. Or, boil until done if you are leaving them whole.

Man that really looks good Steve!
Al
Thanks Al!
 
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