We had dinner the other night at a local bar and grill that has a pretty decent menu. We particularly love October, when they bring out their Oktoberfest menu of German dishes. The choices vary from year to year but are always excellent. This year I ordered Vienna Style Pork Schitzel and fell in love. I had to learn to make this dish.
I haven’t learned to make many dishes from my mom’s side of the family, who are all Germans. My Norwegian half dominates in the food category, and I make a lot of dishes my Grandma passed down from her own family traditions. But I do love German dishes, when I can find them or be brave enough to make them. We won’t discuss my tragic attempt at making spaetzel, but I can make a mean pot of borscht!
I had no idea what schnitzel was, even though I’d heard jokes about the word many times. Looking it up, I found it’s simply the German word for “cutlet”. Poo. I know cutlets! And I have an awesome metal meat pounder thingy that I rarely get to use unless I need some crushed nuts. I decided pork schnitzel could happen in my kitchen!
My P.S. was so excited at the ideal of schnitzel that he hightailed it down to the basement freezer and brought up a frozen hunk of pork loin, which he assured me is a good meat to use. I took his word for it; I know nothing about meat and have to read the package to figure out what “cut” it is. So I can cook it, but can’t tell you what animal or part of said animal it comes from. I’d rather not know, frankly.
Pork loin thawed, I sliced it into 7 cutlets, trimmed the ring of fat from it, and pounded those suckers flat. I put them between sheets of plastic wrap so I could flip them and pound both sides. My arm got a good workout, but they ended up flat and thin. Whew, next step.
Oh cheesh, I was out of panko crumbs. A good chef could quickly make his own to compensate, but I’m not a chef or good most days. So I called the P.S. and told him to bring home crumbs, pronto! He was on his way home anyway so I quick side stop for panko and I had them in 20 minutes.
I had my eggs and milk beaten in a large flat bowl, the flour with seasonings in a second bowl, and the panko crumbs and paprika went into the third bowl.
As my large skillet heated over medium high heat with about ½ inch of oil, I dipped the cutlets into the flour, then egg mixture, then the crumb mixture. I laid them on a dinner plate and had all 7 cutlets ready to fry. I also had my oven on at 300° F to keep them warm as I finished them. I had German potato salad in there, along with braised cabbage. Those will be future posts.
I laid three schnitzels out in the pan and let them fry for about 3 minutes per side. Since the meat is so thin, it doesn’t take long to cook! I removed them to a pan in the oven and fried three more cutlets, then the last cutlet after those were finished.
In the meantime I tried to replicate the awesome sauce they had drizzled on the schnitzel at the restaurant. It had a bacon flavor, minus the bacon pieces, and mustard. It had a nice tang and was so delicious I licked the plate clean. In my mind. I wasn’t successful in coming close to the right flavors, and will have to work on that some more.
I will list the sauce I did make which was good, but not excellent like the Blue Moose’s sauce. I brought the broth, mustard and bacon drippings to a boil, stirred in the milk which I’d dissolved the cornstarch in, then stirred until it thickened. I added some balsamic vinegar to give it more of a snap, but that still wasn’t the trick. I think the sauce had more of a tang because they’d used sour cream, I might try that as a base instead of milk next time.
Dinner was ready- I plated the foods and drizzled my now lumpy sauce over the pork schnitzel. It was SO good, my P.S. kept moaning as he ate. This was his kind of meal. At the Moose he’d ordered a German prime rib which he said was good, but had really liked tasting my dish. He devoured the schnitzel and the two sides and was extremely happy.
I loved it of course, but filled up fast and wasn’t able to eat much of the meal. Odd, but after smelling the three dishes cooking for several hours, I’d lost my appetite. I wonder if it really was the smells; I hadn’t eat much all day, really. Oh well, I’m looking forward to leftovers tomorrow night!
Vienna Style Pork Schnitzel
1/2 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup milk
2 cups panko
1 tablespoon paprika
pork loin cut into 6 cutlets
Preheat oven to 300 degrees F
With a meat mallet, pound cutlets 1/4” thin between two pieces of plastic wrap.
Put the flour, onion powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper into a shallow bowl and mix. Beat eggs and milk in a second bowl. Mix panko crumbs and paprika in a third bowl.
Dip each cutlet in flour, covering all areas, then the egg mixture to wet all areas, then into the panko crumbs. It’s not necessary to press the crumbs into the cutlets.
In a large skillet heated with about ½” of oil, fry each side of the cutlets for about 3 minutes. Do not overcook, they will cook fast since they are thin.
Put finished cutlets into an ovenproof dish and keep warm in the oven until all are cooked.
Serve hot with bacon mustard sauce.
Bacon Mustard Sauce
1 cup chicken stock
2 Tablespoons bacon drippings
2 Tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup milk
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon salt or to taste
1/2 teaspoon black pepper or to taste
Whisk together chicken stock, bacon drippings and Dijon mustard in a medium sized skillet and bring to a boil. Dissolve the cornstarch in the milk and whisk into the skillet, stirring until it thickens. Taste test and add salt and pepper as desired.
Serve immediately to prevent lumps from forming.
Adapted from Simply Recipes