March 8, 2009

Pork Schnitzel

I finally got my game plan together for our meals this week. Due to my little shopping spree yesterday, I need to take it easy on the ol' food budget this week. I was able to craft a menu plan that allows me to stick with what I already have in my stores and skip a big grocery shop this week. My wallet thanks me, since it is still smokin' from being over-used at Le Creuset.

I saw this recipe on a blog I read called Simply Recipes. The author always features really accessible recipes and yummy looking food photos. She includes a lot of her personal favorites-usually passed along from family and friends-which I love about her posts. Almost every dish has a neat little story, and I drool over her recipes on a daily basis. This recipe for Pork Schnitzel caught my eye, as it looks to be a great variation on the veal classic. I think I will serve this with a side dish of Broccoli Cauliflower Casserole. I can't wait to eat!!!

Pork Schnitzel
adapted from Simply Recipes; serves 4

4 boneless pork chops (1 pound total), 1/2 inch thick
1/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon Lawry's seasoned salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 egg, beaten
2 Tbsp milk
3/4 cup fine dry bread crumbs or panko
1 teaspoon paprika
3 Tbsp canola oil /
3/4 cup chicken stock
1/2 teaspoon dried dill
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup of sour cream or plain yogurt
Lemon wedges or some lemon juice (optional)

1 Use a meat hammer to pound the pork cutlets to 1/4-1/8 inch thickness. Cut small slits around the edges of the cutlets to prevent curling.

2 Set out 3 shallow bowls. One with a mixture of the flour, seasoned salt, and pepper. The second with the egg and milk whisked together. The third with a mixture of the bread crumbs (or panko) and paprika.

3 Heat the oil in a large skillet on medium high heat. Dredge the cutlets first in the seasoned flour, then dip the cutlets in the egg mixture, and then into the mixture of bread crumbs and paprika.

4 Working in batches, sauté the cutlets for 3-4 minutes on each side. Remove the cutlets from the skillet and cover with foil or place in a warm oven to keep warm.

5 Add the chicken stock into the skillet to deglaze the pan, scraping the bottom of the pan to loosen the brown bits. In a small bowl mix the dill and salt into the sour cream. Stir the sour cream mixture into the chicken stock. Heat and stir until mixture thickens (do not let boil).

Serve the cutlets with the sauce, and a squeeze of lemon (or sprinkle of lemon juice) if needed.

Jen's Notes:
I don't have boneless pork chops, so I am going to cut up a whole pork loin, and use half for this recipe and half on another night. Really, boneless pork chops usually come from the loin no big deal. I need to substitute plain yogurt for sour cream, and lemon juice for the lemon wedges. I strained my plain yogurt earlier today, so the consistency would be more like sour cream. I just put it in a fine mesh colander, wrapped in cheese cloth, over a bowl. I let it sit in my fridge to drain all the excess water out to thicken it up. (Really this is closer to "Greek" style yogurt.) Hopefully, the sauce will still work okay with the yogurt. I will post the casserole recipe in a separate post.

The Result:
This was very good. The pork was tasty and crispy, and the sauce was a nice creamy contrast. I love dill, so I really appreciated the slightly pickled taste that the dried dill lent to the dish. Also, the squeeze of lemon did give all the flavors a bright little pick-me-up. We really liked this recipe!

I did have some issues while preparing the sauce. I could not get it to thicken appropriately. I ended up adding a small amount of butter/flour roux to fix it. Otherwise, it would have been way too watery. Also, I think the pork and the sauce could have both used a sprinkle of salt and pepper. I usually season as I go, but for some reason, I did not do it on this dish...and I missed it. The flour mixture indicates adding salt and pepper, but I don't think I added enough. Totally my fault! I don't like to season my food once it is served, but that is a personal preference. It was a super-easy fix to adjust the seasoning; I had to break down and bring salt and pepper to the table. Once it was seasoned properly, it was delicious!

Also, the pork did not cook all the way through on the stovetop. The browned bits were burning (I think my pan was too hot)(I think this was another reason I had sauce issues; I had to wipe out the charred bits in the pan before making the sauce), so I moved the cutlets to a baking sheet with a rack and threw them in the oven with the casserole. I like cooking breaded meats on a rack, so they stay nice and soggy-bottoms. I think the cook time ended up being about 10 minutes at 350 degrees. I am glad I finished the pork in the oven, because it turned out perfectly cooked.

This is a total keeper meal, I just need to tweak it a bit more to my liking.

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