Do you crave German food? Do the smells of sauerkraut and red cabbage excite your palate? Do you dream of the Rhine? Is Arminius one of your heroes? Well, Wiener schnitzel may be for you!
Growing up, my family’s tradition was that you got to pick what meal you wanted for your birthday. Owing perhaps to my German ancestry, I always chose Wiener schnitzel and potato pancakes (at some point, I’ll post a recipe for the pancakes as well as for spaetzle). A few years ago I happened to be in Germany on my birthday and was able to go to dinner in Frankfurt and get it locally. Later in life, I began making it myself. So, here is my interpretation of my family’s recipe, both in regular and gluten free forms (I make the gluten free version myself).
I’m not much into measuring things in recipes. For this recipe, the main item is the cutlets, and then you base everything else around how many cutlets you’re making. After you read through the recipe, you’ll see what I mean, I think.
- Veal or beef cutlets (you’ll want them to be very thin, like top or bottom round – traditionally, veal is used, but beef will suffice)
- Flour, regular or “measure for measure” gluten free
- Water, just a couple tablespoons
- Margarine or shortening
- Two large bowls
- Enough skillets to fit the cutlets in
- Cutting board
Bowl 1 – In one large bowl, mix the four, salt, pepper, and paprika. You’ll be coating the cutlets with this mixture, so the bowl should be large enough for you to work with. There’s no need to exactly measure the spices, you’re going for just a light mix of them in with the flour; I normally put enough in so that the flour is “sparkling” with it (that is, the spices are not overwhelming, but you can see that they’re there).
Bowl 2 – In a separate large bowl, beat the eggs and some water. You’ll be putting the flour-coated cutlets in here to get a coating of egg, so the mixture should be beaten enough for this purpose and the bowl large enough.
Cutting Board – Separate or cut the veal/beef cutlets into a number of pieces. If you purchased top or bottom round cutlets, they’ll likely be about the size of your hand, which is what you want. Tenderize the beef with a meat tenderizer mallet.
Skillets – Melt the margarine or shortening in the skillets on medium-high heat. You’ll want enough in there so that when you put in the cutlets, they’ll have something to cook against.
Step 1 – Coat each cutlet with the flour mixture in Bowl 1
Step 2 – Coat each cutlet with the egg mixture in Bowl 2
Step 3 – Place the coated cutlets in the skillets and brown both sides on medium-high to high heat.
Step 4 – Once all the cutlets are browned, reduce heat to a low simmer, cover the skillets, and cook for around 40 to 45 minutes until the meat is tender. Flip the cutlets periodically.
Serve the cutlets with lemon wedges, to allow lemon juice to be squeezed over the cutlets.
- Riesling wine
- Red Cabbage
- Potato Pancakes or spaetzle
- A haunting version of “Edelweiss” playing in the background
(Photo: Wiener schnitzel with red cabbage, sauerkraut, and homemade spaetzle with homemade brown gravy. By Aaron Simms.)