Pork Cutlets aka Schwienerschnitzel

I follow the comings and goings at the Food Network (FN) thru a parady site called Food Network Humor (FNH). Way easier than sifting for nuggets of knowledge from Ten Dollar Meals or Semi-Homemade. One of the stalwarts for the FN is a chef named Anne Burrell. Never seen a single minute of show she's on but according to the folks at FNH this chef is the champion of brown food. She loves brown food and often says " brown food tastes good" with a Kermit the Frog accent. She's right. All kinds of brown food tastes good. Like fried food and beef food and chocolate food and beer food.

Let's focus on some good ol' fashioned fried food. The Aga can do fried. The Roasting Oven can preheat a pan, the Simmer Oven is perfect for batch cooking where you need to keep something warm and still retain its crispness. The Baking Oven will even preheat oil to a near perfect 350 degrees.

To the task at hand. Breaded pork cutlets, pork schnitzel or schwienerschnitzel; one and the same. A nice slice of pork pounded thin, breaded and shallow fried at a rapid pace. Simple and delicious.

Maybe you don't need a recipe for this but a little review never hurts.

What do I need?

  • 4 to 5 oz. boneless pork loin chop per person or if you've raised your own pork a nice slice from the bottom round works real well. I butterfly the chop by slicing almost all the way thru it so it opens up like a ...... a butterfly. Check out photo at the top.
  • A meat pounder, mallet or tenderizer. You can pick up a nice solid one at a restaurant supply house for cheap. Look for one with little teeth on it on one side. One side should be smooth.
  • A basic breading set-up. All purpose flour in one bowl, an eggwash (egg and a little water) in another and breadcrumbs in the third.  I use a even mix of panko and unseasoned breadcrumbs. About 1 cup per person. You won't use it all but you need extra and it's cheap. The bowls should be big enough to toss the pork around comfortably. 

Got it, now what?

  • Preheat your large sauté pan in the oven. Bigger the better.
  • Pound the pork nice and thin. Have the pork on a solid cutting board. Dip the mallet face in water before you start and it will prevent the meat from sticking. Start in the center and work your way to towards the outside. As you hit the meat pull towards the outside. After the meat begins to thin out lift it off the board and put it back down again. Similar to repositioning pie dough while you roll it out. 
  • Season the cutlet with salt and pepper then dredge in the flour dusting off any excess. Into the eggs for a thorough dunking and lift out letting any excess drip off. Into the breadcrumbs and cover completly patting the crumbs lightly into the pork. Flour makes the eggs stick, eggs make the breadcrumbs stick and the breadcrumbs make the nice tight seal around the pork.
  • Get your preheated pan from the oven, onto the Boil Plate and add a 1/4" vegetable oil. Not olive oil. When you see the oil shimmer and move it's hot enough. This will only take about 20 seconds. Add the pork carefully into the oil and immediately start to shake the pan a little, Splash the oil as you move the pan onto the top of the schnitzel, When you see color starting on the edge lift with a fork and check for color. When you see a nice golden brown, flip. Slide the pan to the Simmer Plate. Continue to shake and splash a little oil onto the  pork. Cook until brown serve. I like lemons and capers on mine.

What's the big deal that sounds easy?

  • The big deal is you need to be organized. Which is not easy, have you looked at your latest performance appraisal? Cooking with the amount of oil needed for pan frying can be dangerous. You can splash some on your hand, on the burner (this will smoke like mad and maybe flame up) or worse.
  • Have your fork ready to flip the swine, be sure both the Boil and Simmer Plates have nothing on them so you can work easily between the two. If you need to cook a few make sure the pan you are resting them on is ready. I like the sheet pan with a rack. Use clean oil for each new batch which means you need a place to keep the used hot oil. Try a steel bowl big enough to pour the oil into easily.

That's it. Plan your work, work your plan and always, cook like you mean it. Peace, G