Having grown up in Germany, schnitzel was always my go-to food whenever my family went out to dinner. Even at home, mom would make schnitzel quite frequently – although never quite to the degree of perfection that restaurants seemed to achieve.
Early on in my life, I started to experiment with various approaches to obtain a perfect schnitzel – golden brown, melt-in-your-mouth tender, nicely flavored. At the height of my experimentation phase, I would wedge the breaded schnitzel between two metal deep-frying baskets and submerge the whole thing in hot oil until the meat looked right. If memory serves me right, the schnitzel, at least, looked like those you'd get in restaurants – but I have a feeling that they didn't quite taste the same.
That was about 35 years ago...
These days, I leave the deep fryer in the cabinet, I no longer use oil, and I believe I have schnitzel-making down to a science. In fact, I have worked on schnitzels for such a long time that nobody in my family seems satisfied with the fare served in restaurants. No – nowadays, it's home-cooked schnitzel all the way.
As I am writing this, I am contemplating whether I should make it again for tonight's dinner...
The ingredients are simple and can be found even in the smallish town where I live. Go ahead, give it a try – it's quick and easy to make, kids and grown-ups love it, and it's a satisfying meal overall.
You will find that this recipe does not just stop at the actual schnitzel. I believe that a whole meal can be made out of it with just a few extra ingredients that essentially prepare themselves while you are making the schnitzel.
Now, as you know, recipes on this site are generally mostly beige. Below, you will find that this recipe includes a side dish of peas and carrots, neither of which is decidedly beige in appearance. Needless to say, my daughter would never eat them - they are, for all intends and purposes, yucky! I like them, though, and since I life to have dinner as a family, I have included the veggies to round out the meal or the rest of us. Obviously, you can simply ignore the veggie recipe and just focus on the rest of the meal - which is, surprise, mostly beige...
When push comes to shove, a schnitzel can be eaten with just a piece of hearty bread on the side. Or with french fries. Or potato croquettes. You can smother it with a lovely sauce – such as a home-made mushroom gravy – or you can eat it plain. To add even more utility, you can put any left-over schnitzel on a Chicago bread roll and eat it as a sandwich...
To me, there's nothing quite like getting down to the basics. I love to taste the individual ingredients whenever possible, rather than hide them. Thus, my recipe – for now - does not contain any special sauces.
This recipe calls for two pork loin chops – but you can make more or less since the process is the same. I find that two are enough for two adults and our five-year old – but friends tell us that none of us eat huge portions. If you want, you can cut the pork loins into desired sizes before proceeding with the recipe. For simplicity's sake, I have left them intact and simply slice them up once they are done. If I make these for guest, I portion them appropriately beforehand, though.
2 pork loin chops
1 cup of flour
2 cups plain breadcrumbs
3 Tsp Ghee (Clarified Butter or Butterschmalz)
1 Tsp butter
1 lb yellow potatoes
1 cup shelled peas (fresh or frozen)
1 tsp. butter
Squeeze the lemon and reserve the juice.
Fill a medium pot with cold water.
Add a tsp of salt.
Peel the potatoes, chop into 1-inch pieces, add to the pot, and bring to a boil.
Once the water boils, reduce heat to low and let simmer until potatoes are tender.
Periodically stick a fork into the potatoes to check whether they are done. You should feel little to no resistance when you poke the potatoes. Once they are done, drain, and keep warm
While the potatoes are boiling, add 1 tsp of butter to a small pot or sauce pan. Turn heat to medium and allow butter to melt.
Add 1 cup of peas and stir.
Peel the carrot and slice thinly.
Add carrots to the peas.
Add salt and pepper to taste.
Stir and let heat through until carrots are soft.
The veggies will essentially take care of themselves, allowing you plenty of time to attend to the schnitzel:
Trim ALL fat off the pork loins.
Place a towel on your work surface and top it with a butcher block or heavy wooden work board.
Pound the pork loins with a meat tenderizer (that little mallet-like implement I am certain you have seen). I use the side with the knobs on it – well, in reality, I let my daughter use it. She LOVES to flatten the pork. Of course, I supervise and make sure that the meat is as flat as it can be without completely disintegrating. This is a key element in the preparation. Heat from frying the meat will cause contraction which, in turn, leads to a thicker and chewier experience. Since we want the schnitzel to be very tender, it is pivotal to diligently pound the pork until you can almost see through it.
Add the flour to a flat bowl or plate.
Add the breadcrumbs to another flat bowl or plate.
Add the eggs to a third flat bowl or plate and scramble them.
Add salt and pepper to the eggs.
Take the tenderized pork loin and drag it through the flour so that both sides are covered.
Now drag it through the eggs so that both sides are covered.
Next, drag it through the breadcrumbs – again until fully covered.
Most people stop here – but we won't.
Instead, take the breaded schnitzel and drag it, once again, through the eggs.
Drag the schnitzel through the breadcrumbs for a second time.
Set aside and follow the process with your seconds schnitzel.
In a large frying pan, heat 2 Tbs of Ghee on medium-high until melted. Add your first schnitzel and let fry until golden brown on one side. Turn over to the other side and let it attain the same coloration. The whole process will take just a few minutes. Remove from pan and set aside for the moment.
Add the third Tbs of Ghee to the pan, let melt, and also fry the second schnitzel. When golden in color, remove from pan and quickly allow the first schnitzel to stay hot by adding it to the pan again for just a few seconds. Turn off heat and remove schnitzel – but do NOT yet get rid of the pan and/or the drippings.
Remove from pan, cut into desired portion sizes, and place on plates.
Add the potatoes and peas/carrots on the side.
Add the 1 Tsp of butter to the pan, let melt. Add freshly squeezed lemon juice to the hot pan – which will evaporate a bit of the juice but also produce an interesting and delicious glaze of ghee, butter, juice, and breading. Pour the glaze over the schnitzel and the potatoes.