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David Ross

eG Cook-Off 76: Consider the Schnitzel

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Dear @pep.,

 

2 hours ago, pep. said:

 

As a native Austrian, I've got some comments here.

 

 

You are excused - we are tolerant people here  :D

 

2 hours ago, pep. said:

These three are normally not breaded

 

Yes, they are - at least on "my menu" (as stated) and pretty much every German household and restaurant. I'd like to quote Ken Hom's book "Chinese Cuisine", in which he describes Chinese food outside of the Chinese nations with the words "Everything suffers from a sea change when removed from its native land ...". So, while you might be correct when it comes to Austrian renditions of classic German dishes (see what I did here :raz:), rest assured in Germany you'll mostly likely encounter them breaded ...

 

3 hours ago, pep. said:

... let's just say there's a reason we don't think much of German cuisine ;-)

 

As I said you are excused for your heritage and the strong opinions that come with it :wink: ...

 

Thank god you have realised that 

 

3 hours ago, pep. said:

culinary speaking, Germany is not a unified country at all.

 

So maybe you just have to find the part that agrees with you. As a native of Lower Saxony, may I propose to start with a breaded Schnitzel with "Jägersosse", freshly prepared in a pub in the countryside with a large "Pils" (pun intended) ? Then you'll see that your fear of 

 

3 hours ago, pep. said:

slopping a can of mushrooms over it

 

might be restricted to countries south of Germany ...

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On 10.2.2018 at 11:27 PM, David Ross said:

I was going through some of my cookbooks this morning as a reference point for my first offering of our cook-off when I came upon what I think is a bit of a different schnitzel recipe.  From the cookbook "My Alpine Cookbook, Hans Gerlach" is the "K.u.k Schnitzel."  The cookbook doesn't give a direct definition of "K.u.k" but talks about traditional Austrian dishes like saftbraten covered in a sauce. So I think this is one of the schnitzels covered in sauce.  In searching further I found that "K.u.k" is most likely a reference to the Austro-Hungarian Army, 1867-1918.

 

"k.u.k." means "kaiserlich und königlich" (imperial and royal), refering to the institutions of Austria-Hungary as a whole instead of either of the two parts (the Austrian lands being the Kaisertum Österreich (the Austrian Empire), whereas Hungarian parts where known as the Länder der Heiligen Ungarischen Stephanskrone (the Lands of the Sacred Hungarian Crown of St. Stephen). To confuse things "k.k.", i.e. "kaiserlich-königlich", was used as well, for institutions in the Austrian half (because the emperor was also King of Bohemia and a few lesser kingdoms). This is all post-1867, BTW. Before that, the empire was a unitary state.

 

As for the recipe itself, I'd assume the name is something invented by Gerlach, as I've never heard of that term before.

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9 minutes ago, Duvel said:

Yes, they are - at least on "my menu" (as stated) and pretty much every German household and restaurant.

 

While it may very well be the case for your menu, it's certainly not true for all of Germany. There is a lot of regional variation (much more than Austrians talking about German cuisine usually credit). Just look at the recipes/pictures on Chefkoch.de or at the East German Jägerschnitzel made of breaded sliced sausage.

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I am certainly not an expert on schnitzel, however, I am fairly conversant on the history of food. It does seem that each area has some particular dish that they can claim as their own. Then, each home cook, restaurant, and Chef has their own version. As people migrate to other regions and other countries, they take their recipes with them and adapt them to the ingredients that they can find in their new areas. Some of these migrations are just over the border into the next country where the food becomes so popular that that region now claims it as their own. Confusion reigns and food fights begin. I once worked in a Greek owned restaurant that had many Turkish customers. I have seen screaming fights over baklava and souvlaki, each culture fiercely claiming it as their own and no one ever winning.

I think that in order for a recipe to be completely authentic, every country has to do what Italy has done about marinara sauce. They have declared and published an authentic recipe. I thought I had the reference to it but I can't find it. It's the recipe that I use and follow to the letter. Except that, I can't use onions or garlic because of dietary restrictions in my home and instead of fresh herbs, I prefer to use my own homemade Italian seasoning mix to make up for the lack of garlic and onions. It's the best one hundred percent authentic marinara sauce that I have ever made. And so, recipes evolve.

Can you imagine what it would be like if we were all just using one approved recipe for something? How bored are palates would become.

BTY, I wonder how my marinara sauce would be with schnitzel? Could I still call it schnitzel?

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Boy. Schnitzel used to be such a simple thing. <sigh> 

But really, vive la difference! 

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19 minutes ago, Tropicalsenior said:

BTY, I wonder how my marinara sauce would be with schnitzel? Could I still call it schnitzel?

 

Sure. Schnitzel is just the particular cut of meat (lean meat, thinly cut, possibly butterflied).

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2 hours ago, Shelby said:

This declaration right here made my husband a very happy man last night.  This is one of his favorite things to eat.  It would have never crossed my mind that chicken fried venison steak would be considered a schnitzel.  But, it is pounded and breaded and fried so it fits right in :) .

 

Venison loin (backstrap)

 

IMG_4076.jpg.e7b2b87cbfa1bda578f31ecc99278b1e.jpg

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Soaked in a mixture of one beaten egg and buttermilk for about 30 mins or so

 

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I throw flour, Lawry's salt, garlic and a lot of black pepper in a large ziplock and use that to coat the steaks and make gravy.

IMG_4083.jpg.8192709697a2712b2bea014818353550.jpg

 

I got a little excited over the gravy and took too many pictures.

 

Chicken skin from a breast I used the night before for dinner

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All crisped up--I like my gravy to have some of this in there...

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Flour added

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Then a lot of milk

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Stir stir stir

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More salt, pepper and garlic

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The best dang cream gravy

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Mashed taters

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Dredge the steaks in the flour mixture and fry 'em up

 

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Ronnie's plate-he likes gravy on his steak

 

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I prefer it on the taters and then I dip a piece of steak in once in a while

 

IMG_4097.JPG.3c6a7ceeccfc8fa2787a80c9c83fe355.JPG

 

 

Primo. Just primo. Classic country fried steak.

 

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27 minutes ago, pep. said:

Sure. Schnitzel is just the particular cut of meat (lean meat, thinly cut, possibly butterflied).

My point exactly!

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3 hours ago, Shelby said:

I got a little excited over the gravy and took too many pictures.

 

...and that, right there, is the epitome of eGullet! xD (It all looks delicious, btw.)


Edited by Smithy Word correction (log)
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@JoNorvelleWalker

EverCrisp is made just from Wheat Dextrin which made from the hydrolysis of wheat producing smaller starch molecules.  It looks like 'instant' flour.  Apparently it can't be digested by our gut enzymes which I presume, amongst other reasons, why they call for using small amounts.  

 

Here is what the manufacturer says about their product:

 

"EverCrisp is a versatile breader and batter booster that enhances your recipes without changing the flavor. It's guaranteed to keep your fried foods crispy and crunchy for an extended period of time. This means it will survive its stay in takeout containers and hot holdings without getting soggy. EverCrisp can be used with any breading or batter recipe and will yield remarkable frying results.

Simply replace 20% of the flour in your batter or breader recipe with Evercrisp and fry as usual!"

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Oh Shelby, I was hoping you'd do a wild game schnitzel!  And thankfully, someone who puts a whole lotta black pepper in their cream gravy.  Delicious.

 

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3 hours ago, David Ross said:

Oh Shelby, I was hoping you'd do a wild game schnitzel!  And thankfully, someone who puts a whole lotta black pepper in their cream gravy.  Delicious.

 

 

Thanks David!

I think pheasant schnitzel will be on the docket next :)  And yeah, I agree.  Cream gravy has to have TONS of BP .

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My problem with schnitzel is thickness. I start with thin ( 1/4 inch ) pork chops. I then pound them down to about 1/8 inch. I flour, egg, bread crumb and fry. They quickly thicken back to their previous thickness as they cook. How do I prevent this?

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7 minutes ago, boudin noir said:

My problem with schnitzel is thickness. I start with thin ( 1/4 inch ) pork chops. I then pound them down to about 1/8 inch. I flour, egg, bread crumb and fry. They quickly thicken back to their previous thickness as they cook. How do I prevent this?

 

You could try butterflying the chops instead of pounding them.


Edited by pep. typo (log)
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I am not an expert about this...I just read about evercrisp and thought it would be fun to play with.

 

I looked in Modernist Cuisine, vol 3,  starting on page 314 ...worth a review.  They use Trisol, Texturas brand in both batters and breading. Texturas’ website says their product is mainly for batters whereas Evercrisp says theirs can be used in both breading and batters.  Both are wheat dextrins ...probably different size dextrins.

 

that’s the best I can do.

From Texturas website:
‘Is a soluble fibre derived from wheat, especially recommended for the preparation of frying batter and tempura, the result being a crunchy, not at all oily, texture. It is also perfect as a substitute for sugar in the preparation of doughs for biscuits.’

Edited by Okanagancook (log)
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12 hours ago, Tropicalsenior said:

BTY, I wonder how my marinara sauce would be with schnitzel? Could I still call it schnitzel?

 

I'd call it a parma

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16 hours ago, boudin noir said:

My problem with schnitzel is thickness. I start with thin ( 1/4 inch ) pork chops. I then pound them down to about 1/8 inch. I flour, egg, bread crumb and fry. They quickly thicken back to their previous thickness as they cook. How do I prevent this?

Although the meat is already thin at 1/4", I've been wondering if brining the meat would help keep it moist?

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27 minutes ago, David Ross said:

Although the meat is already thin at 1/4", I've been wondering if brining the meat would help keep it moist?

 

Never tried brining. I do like, in the case of using round steak, sous viding the steak first, cooling it, then pounding, breading, frying. Frying in medium hot to hot oil also seems to help hold moisture in.

 

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19 hours ago, pep. said:

 

You could try butterflying the chops instead of pounding them.

 

Most of the recipes I've seen for schnitzels of all sorts of meat have called for pounding to appropriate thickness. I've had restaurant schnitzels that are thinner than 1/4 inch. I guess they might have slicing machines that can slice that thin, but then why do the recipes call for pounding if it is ineffectual.

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1 hour ago, boudin noir said:

Most of the recipes I've seen for schnitzels of all sorts of meat have called for pounding to appropriate thickness. I've had restaurant schnitzels that are thinner than 1/4 inch. I guess they might have slicing machines that can slice that thin, but then why do the recipes call for pounding if it is ineffectual.

I made schnitzel sandwiches last night. Pounded probably 3/4" pork loin to 1/8" and it stayed 1/8" after cooking. I pounded it a ton though.

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I think meat composition might be an issue if they curl with heat???  Too much connective tissue would do it.  Maybe try with chicken breast to see if those curl on you...that will separate meat composition versus your technique.

Do not see why brining would not make the meat absorb some fluid and season them.  I would use equilibrium brining.  Try it with the chicken.

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2 hours ago, boudin noir said:

Most of the recipes I've seen for schnitzels of all sorts of meat have called for pounding to appropriate thickness. I've had restaurant schnitzels that are thinner than 1/4 inch. I guess they might have slicing machines that can slice that thin, but then why do the recipes call for pounding if it is ineffectual.

 

Traditional recipes here include both steps, butterflying and pounding. However, nowadays there is (mostly) a consensus that anything but a relatively light pounding is detrimental to meat texture and juiciness.

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On 2/12/2018 at 5:46 PM, boudin noir said:

My problem with schnitzel is thickness. I start with thin ( 1/4 inch ) pork chops. I then pound them down to about 1/8 inch. I flour, egg, bread crumb and fry. They quickly thicken back to their previous thickness as they cook. How do I prevent this?

 

One thought: the connective tissue that sheathes a pork loin is almost never trimmed off when chops are fabricated. If this is the case with your chops, the connective tissue will almost certainly shrink faster than the meat it surrounds. Usually this results in what we call the "Fried Bologna Conundrum"* -- cupping and puckering of the meat as the connective tissue forces it out of shape. Maybe pounding the meat mostly ensures a more even shrinkage -- a version of the Ground Chuck Tennis Ball Effect**, where the connective tissues in a nice flat raw beef patty, when cooked, shrink and force the meat into a something resembling a gaming appurtenance.

 

""Fried Bologna Conundrum" would be a good name for a band (h/t Dave Barry)

** ditto

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