Schnitzel, Spaetzel, and Beer, Oh My!
Fried food and beer: I really don’t need an excuse to have either, but it’s always nice to justify my unhealthy tendencies by having a reason to consume such items.
While Oktoberfest is actually held primarily in September (ending on the first Sunday of October), I figured since it was October and all I could have some German food and beer and consider it celebrating, not just indulging. And who doesn’t like an excuse to celebrate?
While I’ve had my fair share of consuming German food, I have virtually no experience making it. I knew I wanted to do a schnitzel and I quickly remembered an awesome jagerschnitzel I had a while back. Fried food is already delicious but smothered in gravy and mushrooms it’s just so much better. I knew I’d serve it with spaetzel and I figured I might need to round off the heaviness with a salad, so I chose a crazy simple cucumber salad. It was light and cool and was a great juxtaposition to the fried food and starches.
While I cannot attest to how authentic this dish is, I found it to be quite delicious. Oddly enough I found the basis of my recipe from Guy Fieri. I actually find him to be a rather overwhelming and over the top TV personality, but this recipe came highly rated from the Food Network and seeing as I planned on changing a few things (as I tend to do), I figured it would work as a nice basis.
I’d also like to mention that this was a decent dish on the second day. Fried food is always tricky when it’s not consumed immediately, but I found re-heating the pork in a 375 degree oven (for about 10-15 minutes) did an okay job of leaving it a bit crisp. I reheated the gravy in a small sauce pan, thinning it out with a bit of beer as it had thickened while being refrigerated. Definitely better the first day, but not too shabby the second.
Adapted from Guy Fieri
- 4 to 6 ounce portions of sliced pork loin, thinly pounded (approximately 1/4 of an inch thick)
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup milk
- 2 tablespoons mustard
- 2 cups plain bread crumbs (panko works well, but standard are just fine)
- 1/2 pound bacon, diced
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 8 crimini mushrooms, sliced (I used 8 because it’s my favorite number!)
- 1 cup beer
- 2 cups chicken broth
- Olive oil, for frying
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
In a shallow medium bowl, mix together 3/4 cup flour with 1 tablspoon of salt, 1 teaspoon of pepper, garlic, and paprika. In another shallow medium bowl, combine egg, milk, and mustard. Place bread crumbs in another medium shallow bowl. Lightly season pounded pork with salt and pepper.
Dredge pork slices first in flour, then in egg wash, and finally in crumbs. Let set on a baking sheet fitted with a cooling rack for at least 5 minutes.
In a medium sauce pan pan over medium heat cook the bacon until partially cooked. In same pan, add onions and sauté for 5-6 minutes.
Once onions have become translucent, add mushrooms and continue to cook for another 10 minutes, or until lightly browned. Stir in 1/4 cup flour and cook for a few minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the beer, raise heat to a boil, then turn down to a simmer and cook beer for a few minutes, until mostly reduced. Add stock and continue cooking for a few more minutes, until reduced by approximately 1/3. Keep warm. Add the two tablespoons of butter before serving.
Heat 1/4-inch oil in a cast iron skillet (or sauté pan) to 350 degrees F. Cook pork evenly on both sides, about 4 minutes for the first side, 3 to 4 minutes for the second. Cover with sauce, top with parsley if using, and serve immediately.
Cool as Cucumber Salad
The following is the incredibly simple cucumber salad I served. I used plain greek yogurt, but sour cream would also work very nicely. I will say I didn’t bother extracting the liquid from the cucumbers (that is done by slicing, then sprinkling with salt and letting water drip out). I found the consistency to be thick and creamy and since I served this shortly after preparing it, didn’t find that step necessary.
- 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
- 1 English cucumber
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 large shallot, chopped
- 2 tablespoons fresh dill, minced
- 2 tablespoons fresh Italian leaf parsley, minced
In a medium bowl, combine vinegar, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, a pinch of sugar, olive oil, and yogurt. Stir until combined.
Thinly slice cucumber (perfect occasion to use a mandolin, or just use a sharp knife and slice as thinly as possible). Add to bowl containing dressing. Mince and chop remaining ingredients and stir in to cucumber mixture. Taste for seasoning and add additional salt and pepper as needed. Serve slightly cooled.