Monday, July 2, 2012

"Honor Choir" Schnitzel

German Kuche
We are now heading north to cooler, pork friendly climes!  Whenever traveling
to Germanic countries after living in the porkly austere Middle East, we ordered
anything with pork....with pork on the side.....and pork for garnish!  Lured into
their dark, smoky interiors by heady, hypnotic aromas of schnitzel, wurst (sausages)
and potatoes, German gasthauses (guest houses) in the villages around Wurzburg,
became our family restaurants during our first U.S. Army assignment overseas.
Every cobble-stoned village hosted at least 2 or 3 gasthauses among the exposed
beam buildings and we quickly learned which ones served the crispest, tenderest,
most succulent Schnitzel Cordon Bleu (pork pounded thin, filled with hearty ham
and pungent Swiss cheese, breaded and pan fried).  One of our favorites, in the
village of Geibelstadt, always assured us that our meal was receiving devoted care
from the sound of pounding heard from the kitchen.  No fast food here but worth the
wait, the rhythmic tenderizing seasoned the beer-drinking music to perfection!
Our 1-year-old daughter provided entertainment to the baby-adoring locals who
danced about the room with her to German beer drinking music. To this day,
she can't help but tap her toe to a robust "Oom-Pah-Pah"!

Honor Choir Schnitzel
The following schnitzel is a version I created inspired by one sampled in Austria,
while there on a choir trip with high school students.  There are schnitzels
und schnitzels - Jager (with mushrooms), Kase (with cheese), Weiner (Vienese style),
Rahm (with cream) - and then in Israel, frozen schnitzels of broccoli, corn and
cauliflower varieties.  But this one is from Vienna where we stopped someone on the
street to ask where locals eat - no dummies we - and that suggested restaurant, on a
back street near the town center, is one to which we returned on subsequent visits.
Smoothered with bacon, onion and mushrooms in a rich, lip-smacking gravy played
duet with a baseball sized dumpling.  I prepared spaetzle to serve as the accompanying
starch.  These light, nutty, miniature dumplings have always been a family favorite
requested on birthdays by our German-born daughter -something in the water?

Honor Choir Schnitzel:
4 pork chops or steaks, without the bone
1 onion, thinly slivered
1 cup button mushrooms, halved
1/2 pound bacon, large diced, fried till crisp and drained
flour for dredging
2 cups panko bread crumbs
salt and pepper to taste
2 eggs mixed with 1 cup milk
5 tab. butter
2 tab. flour
2 cups beef consomme or demi-glace, or rich beef stock
1/3 cup red wine
1/3 cup cream at room temperature

-Pat meat dry.  Place between 2 pieces of waxed paper and pound with meat pounder or the edge of a plate until meat is about 1/4 inch thick.  Season both sides with salt, pepper and paprika to taste.

-Place flour, egg/milk mixture and bread crumbs, separately into
3 open dishes. Dip meat in flour, then egg/milk mixture and finally in bread crumbs, coating well.  Chill in refrigerator until ready to fry (up to 4 hours).

-In large saute pan, melt 2 tab. butter.  Add onions and saute until soft, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add mushrooms and cook until mushrooms are soft.  Set aside.

-In medium saucepan, melt 3 tab. butter. Stir 2 tab. flour into melted butter with wire whip and cook over medium-high heat for about 2 minutes, until smooth and bubbly. Add consomme, and wine, mixing with whip and cook until thickened and bubbly. Remove from heat and pour cream onto the sauce. Let stand for 5 minutes and then mix until blended.
-Heat 1/2 inch vegetable oil in large saute pan, until a cube of bread dropped in the oil browns in 30 seconds.  Place breaded pork chops in oil and fry on each side for about 5 minutes, until golden.  Set to drain on paper towels.

-Stir onions, mushrooms and bacon into sauce.  Place schnitzels on serving platter and cover with sauce.  Garnish with chopped parsley.  Serve with spaetzle, potatoes, or rice. Serves 4 - 6

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