Theres really no going into my home cooking without approaching this delightful treat. Although its merely a fried pork chop, its really a staple in my home. Its something special that often I serve with nothing more than homemade applesauce, we really do eat it for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Wiener Schnitzel or schnitzel is about the most popular German or Austrian recipe I can think of, its classic and fairly straight forward. Wiener schnitzel specifically is referring to veal cutlets that are made the same way. I use mostly pork cutlets, sometimes chicken or venison. The name can flip flop around for example Schweine-Schnitzel refers to pork and Jäger-Schnitzel or hunters schnitzel refers to either the addition of a mushroom gravy or the cut of meat. I’ve heard it been described both ways however if I were to call something Jäger-Schnitzel, in my home it would be venison. The cutlets are traditionally served with a lemon wedge, and often topped with browned butter. It should be incredibly tender and moist, no knife needed. Normally I don’t have lemons laying around so I almost always top with a bit of browned butter with just a bit of lemon juice in it. (yeah from the bottle). The type of gravy makes the name subject to change also so really…
I don’t actually specify to my family one way or the other, schnitzel is just schnitzel….its always great and they don’t really care to know the details. Riley of course calls it “shit-zel” which is kind of funny but hey you cant fault him, and its actually kind of cute. (he’s hearing impaired and as a result his speech is affected) If Stephen has gravy he’s set, yes yes cream gravy, its not chicken fried steak however you can not convince him that he does not need the gravy…need I remind you he’s from Oklahoma? I’m pretty sure he’d eat gravy on a slipper. So if we’re being technical I eat schnitzel, he eats rahm-schnitzel (referring to the cream gravy)…see what I mean? I mean the technical difficulties make my head spin. Its schnitzel…just schnitzel. The kids eat it with homemade applesauce and I do too sometimes, its pork and apples not really that much of a leap, its really a throw back. Is there a home in America that you don’t eat applesauce with pork chops? Its not shake n’ bake, its schnitzel beautifully basic yet wholesome and delicious home cooking.
You can use pork, chicken, turkey, venison or any other meat you have available to you. I most often use pork or chicken, sometimes venison. You can use cubed steaks, or any fillet or breast that is boneless. I like to use a whole pork tenderloin and cut out medallions to pound thin.
- 4-6 medium/large sized cutlets
- 1/2- 3/4 cup flour
- 4 eggs
- 2-3 cups bread crumbs
- Butter and Coconut Oil or Lard for pan frying.
To pound out the cutlets- Place a piece or boneless pork in between two pieces of plastic wrap and using a meat mallet or even a frying pan pound the cutlet until its approximately 1/4″ or thinner. I like to lightly flour the cutlets before they are pounded out it prevents them from sticking or “spreading”. If it does not stick to the plastic you are less likely to get extra thin spots.
In three separate dishes prepare your breading station. I typically use very large bowls or pie plates. In the first bowl season about a half of cup of flour with salt and pepper. You can add more as you go if you need to. In the second bowl beat the eggs, I do two eggs at a time or sometimes I will use 1/2 cup of milk per 2 eggs. In the third bowl place the bread crumbs.
To bread the cutlets- One by one place each cutlet into the flour, evenly coat on both sides. Set each one aside and begin with the first one you floured. Place into egg wash mixture and coat evenly on both sides. Allow excess to drip off and coat in bread crumbs. Pat the bread crumbs onto the egg mixture making sure that its evenly distributed. I like to “double dip” mine by repeating the egg and bread crumbs again. Repeat this process with all of the cutlets. Allow to rest 10-15 minutes in the fridge. This will allow the coating to adhere to the meat so you don’t end up with bald spots during cooking.
To fry- In a medium sized skillet place 1 tablespoon each of butter and oil. I pick my pan by checking to see if the biggest cutlet I have will fit comfortably. You HAVE to use butter it gives the dish a lot of its traditional flavor. The oil helps prevent burning. Heat over medium heat and fry schnitzel on both sides until golden. (2-4 minutes depending on size) I use one pan per one schnitzel, it insures even cooking. After each piece is finished I place it in the oven on a “cooling rack” with my oven set to 100 degrees. This keeps everything warm while your finishing all of the cutlets…or making gravy. Serve warm.
I like to freeze a few they can easily be reheated as needed, however they are most delicious fresh. Its the home made go to substitute for “chicken fingers” in my home.
A New Look at an Old Recipe: Although for years I prepared this with bread crumbs and flour, I have transitioned to using primarily almond flour or sprouted flours when they are on hand. Use this GRAIN FREE DREDGE to make it gluten free and grain free. These cutlets will fry up almost identical to the floured counterparts.