Chef Andy: Pork Schnitzel is a transitional pop
By Andy Mueller
German cuisine often gets a bad rap because of its heavy, full-on-comfort style of cooking.
It’s been said that all German dishes start with bacon, end with butter and there’s vinegar in between, and I fail to see what the problem is.
Though this can be true with some German dishes, not all fall into this category.
When someone says they don’t like German cuisine, it motivates me to convince them to take baby steps before diving into Schweinshaxe with Sauerkraut and Kartoffelpuffer (pork knuckle with sauerkraut and potato pancakes).
Being of German heritage, I love almost every type of German cuisine, but one that makes its way onto my menus and into my diet on a regular basis is one of the brighter dishes from the region – schnitzel.
A very simple, yet delicious preparation, schnitzel can be made with the traditional veal cutlets, but you can substitute other proteins like chicken, or, as in this case, pork.
Thinly sliced cutlets are dredged in flour, egg wash and bread crumbs, then pan fried golden and served with lots of fresh lemon slices.
It’s crunchy, tender and the squeeze of fresh lemon gives this dish the pop and brightness fried foods love.
As we get closer to warmer weather, we are in the transitional food phase that tells us to ease back on the heavy comfort foods, yet Mother Nature hasn’t given us her fruits of the garden quite yet.
It’s a perfect way to have what I call a brighter comfort dish that’s satisfying without being heavy.
The Braised Red Cabbage I serve in this recipe is a traditional German side dish and pairs beautifully with Pork Schnitzel.
Braised Red Cabbage
In a large kettle or stock pot over medium high heat add:
• 6 slices bacon, diced.
As the bacon pieces start to sweat and turn light brown add:
• 1 large yellow onion, diced.
Cook the onions and bacon until bacon is nicely browned and just getting crisp, turn heat to medium low, then add:
• 4 tablespoons brown sugar.
Stir quickly so the sugar doesn’t burn for about 15 seconds, then add:
• 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar.
• 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar.
• 2 cups peeled, cored and diced apples (firm apples work best like Honeycrisp, Braeburn or Granny Smith – don’t use soft apples like Macs or Red Delicious).
Stir to combine, then add:
• 1 medium size head of red cabbage, cored and cut into pieces about 1/2 inch by 1/2 inch.
• 1 teaspoon salt.
• A generous amount of fresh cracked black pepper.
• 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg.
• 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder.
• Juice of 1/2 fresh lemon.
Stir to combine, cover and cook over medium to medium low heat for about 25 minutes or until the cabbage is tender but not mushy.
Pound 4 to 8 boneless pork loin chops, trimmed, into 1/8 inch thickness.
Season both sides of each cutlet with salt and pepper.
Dredge each cutlet into flour, shake off excess, then dredge in an egg wash made of 2 eggs and 1/2 cup milk whisked together, then into Panko crumbs (Japanese bread crumbs).
In a large skillet over medium heat add 2 tablespoons butter and 2 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil.
When butter melts and starts to bubble, add pork cutlets.
Make sure there is space between each cutlet in the pan or the cutlets will create steam and the breading will separate from the meat and get soggy.
Fry to golden on each side.
Serve over braised red cabbage with lots of lemon wedges.
Chef Andy Mueller is owner/chef of Galley 57 Supper Club in Bellevue – galley57.com.