Sunday, January 22, 2012

Schnitzel, Spatzle, and Sweet and Sour Cabbage

I'm calling this the holy trinity of German food. To be honest, actually, I don't know all that much about German food although I live in a community with deep German roots. After this meal, I think I'll delve deeper.

So help my family, but when I cook schnitzel I like to say "schneetzel". And everything else that starts with an "s" becomes Germanified. A "schpreekle" of salt... a side of "schpatzle".

Speaking of schpatzle, I mean spatzle, what is it anyway? Just the easiest homemade pasta you will ever made. No kneading, no rolling, cutting, etc. The batter is just mixed together and rests while the water comes to a boil. Then you schmear (I couldn't resist) through something with large holes. A colander works well. This time I used the steamer basket that came with my pasta pot, which worked ok too. Here I just tossed it with some Parmesan cheese and butter, but if you have some left over it is crazy good pan fried so it gets a bit browned and crispy- this only works after it has cooled after boiling though. Check out this post on Smitten Kitchen (whom I adapted the spatzle recipe from) for a recipe for pan fried spatzle and her trials and errors making spatzle.

The sleeper hit of the meal though? The cabbage. Crazy, right? Piled on the schnitzel and eaten all together it is the perfect bite- crispy, meaty, tangy, sweet, all at once. Tyler would disagree- he didn't eat any- but Parker (yes, my 17 month old) and I loved it. Parker ate two bowls full. My kid is weird and awesome.

Serves 4

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 6 eggs
  • 1/4 cup milk, or rice milk 
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp shredded Parmesan cheese

Sweet and Sour Cabbage

  • 1 small head cabbage, thinly shredded
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup red vinegar
  • big pinch salt

Pork Schnitzel

  • 4 small center cut pork chops (no bone), or 4 pork tenderloin medallions, pounded  to 1/2-inch thickness
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 cups panko breadcrumbs
  • 2 tbsp flat leaf parsley, finely chopped.
  • salt and pepper
  • olive oil

For spatzle dough: Place flour in a large bowl. Make a well in the center and add eggs and milk. With a fork stir together eggs and milk, bringing in a bit of flour at a time until all combined. Set aside. Set a large pot of water to boil.

For cabbage: Combine all cabbage ingredients in a pot. Cover and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat and simmer until cabbage softened.

Breading the schnitzel: Set up a breading station using three shallow bowls, pie plates, plates, whatever you have. Put flour in one, egg in another, breadcrumbs mixed with parsley in the last one.  Season pork with salt and pepper. Heat a large pan over medium heat with enough olive oil to coat bottom of pan. Dredge pork in flour, then egg, then breadcrumbs. Place in pan and fry until golden brown. Drizzle pork with a little olive oil, then flip.

To cook spatzle: Season boiling water with a small palmful of salt. Pour 1/3 of the dough into a colander or steamer basket. Working quickly, and wearing oven mitts, smear and press dough through holes using a spatula. Boil spatzle 2-3 minutes. Remove to a bowl using a slotted spoon. Repeat with remaining dough. Put all cooked noodles back into the water for 30 seconds to warm and unstick them from each other, then drain in a (clean) colander. Put spatzle back into the empty pot and add butter and cheese, stirring gently until melted. Serve immediately or cover to keep warm.

Schnitzel: Place breaded pork in pan and fry until golden brown. Drizzle pork with a little olive oil, then flip. Cook until golden brown on second side.

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