An American Bird Meets French Cuisine

If you love lemon flavor and believe in the curative power of some foods, then this Turkey Francaise is just what the doctor ordered. Using turkey Americanizes the classic French cuisine deliciously. The best part is that if you prefer to make it Italian, substitute the mushrooms with capers and you have Turkey Piccata.

Always a big decision for me which country’s lemon poultry recipe to favor since my ethnic heritage combines both French (my dad) and Italian (my mom) and my grandmothers on both sides were phenomenal and inspiring cooks; especially for a little girl who loved wearing her grannies’ aprons!

Ask half a dozen food historians where lemons originated from and you’ll likely get half a dozen different answers. The exact origins of the lemon remain vague, it is widely presumed that lemons were native to India and China where the tart juice was known for its medicinal properties and as an antiseptic. Lemons made their first appearance in the Arab world and the Mediterranean regions around the same time the pretty yellow fruit found its way to Europe via ancient Rome in the first century AD.

Lemon was introduced to the Americas in 1493 when Christopher Columbus brought lemon seeds to Hispaniola. Spanish conquest throughout the New World helped spread lemon seeds. It was mainly used as ornament and medicine. It wasn’t until the 1700s that lemons took off as a favored flavor for foods in America and became a popular cash crop in Florida and California. Today most Americans love lemon!

1/2 cup chicken broth
2 tablespoons white table wine
1-2 tablespoons lemon juice (to
4 turkey breast cutlets
3 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
1 cup sliced mushrooms (Piccata substitute is 1 tablespoon capers)
Chopped fresh parsley, for garnish (optional)

Combine the broth, wine and lemon juice in a small bowl or large mixing cup. Set aside.

Rinse and dry the turkey breast cutlets. Using a kitchen mallet, pound the meat to about 1/4-inch in thickness. Dredge cutlets in flour, saving the excess flour. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat, add the meat and saute until cooked through. Remove from the pan and place on a plate.

In the same pan used for the turkey, add the butter or margarine and the mushrooms. Saute 2 to 3 minutes. Add the remaining flour to the mushrooms and stir to coat. Cook for 1 minute. Add broth mixture to the mushrooms and stir constantly until the mixture thickens. Add chopped fresh parsley if desired.

Spoon the sauce over the cutlets and serve with wild rice pilaf and steamed broccoli. Decided to go Italian with a piccata? Place the cutlet and pour the sauce on top of cooked liguini noodles. Either way, the recipe makes 4 yummy portions.


  1. Yum! And I was just starting to miss turkey again!

  2. another great way to use that turkey !!

  3. I love anything Francaise--never thought of turkey! Great idea, Deb....

  4. Great Turkey à la Française recipe :)
    You could also replace olive oil with sunflower oil.



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