Sunday, April 19, 2009

Weeknight Meals - Wienerschnitzel

Wienerschnitzel is a traditional Austrian dish and is a popular part of Viennese and Austrian cuisine. It consists of a thin slice of veal coated in breadcrumbs and fried. Growing up my grandmother, who grew up in Vienna, would make this for us all the time. Over the years it was made with everything from the traditional veal to pork or chicken. Technically, wienerschnitzel only covers the traditional veal cutlet but growing up we always called it wienerschnitzel no matter what meat we used. This is a simple and easy weeknight dish that delivers a lot of flavor.

This time there was no good veal at the store so I went with chicken. Here's the recipe:

1 lbs chicken, veal or pork cutlets
2 eggs
bread crumbs
oil (a neutral oil like canola or grapeseed)
3-4 large red potatoes

To make the wienerschnitzel you need thin cutlets like those you would use for scallopini. If you are not able to get thin cutlets from the store, butterfly the thicker pieces and pound them to about 1/4 inch thick. You want nice and thin cutlets so that the breading does not burn by the time the middle is cooked.

On to the cooking. First set up a breading station. You are going to need three bowls. One with the flour, which I seasoned with salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, and garlic powder. The second with the two eggs scrambled. And the third with the breadcrumbs.

Take one cutlet and dredge it in the flour. Knock off the excess and put it into the eggs. Then finally into the breadcrumbs. Repeat this until you are done with all the cutlets.

Unfortunately, even with trying hard to use one hand for the dry ingredients and one for the wet, I ended up with a club of breading on the end of my hand. Therefore, I have no pictures of this process. But here are the cutlets all breaded and ready for cooking.

Heat a large skillet with about a 1/4 inch of a neutral oil. I used grapeseed oil because of the neutral flavor and high smoke point but canola oil would work just as well. Once the oil is hot (you can test by sprinkling a couple breadcrumbs in and if they sizzle then its hot enough) add one or two cutlets in and let cook until golden brown then flip. Here they are all done. Just serve with a side of lemon to squeeze on and you're good to go.With this I served skillet roasted potatoes. I cut the potatoes into chunks and boiled them until just tender. I strained them and tossed them with salt, pepper, and rosemary. I heated another pan up with butter and a little oil and sauteed the potatoes until golden.

This is a perfect comfort food meal and great for any day of the week. This is also a great base for veal or chicken parmesan. If you make this once, I guarantee you will love it and it will become a go to dish.