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Sunday, September 26, 2010

Project Food Blog Challenge #2: The Classics


I was talking to my boyfriend M about this challenge while flipping through my cookbook collection. He had suggested that I make something German, since it was something I’ve never tried making before… and because he’s German. But what to make?

“I don’t know… wiener schnitzel.”

So I looked through my cookbooks again. And guess what? Wiener Schnitzel isn’t German, but an Austrian dish. The recipe looked simple enough, so schnitzel it was. But before I would make the dish, I needed to try some.


M scored two tickets to the Vendy Awards (which was awesome, by the way). And just my luck, Schnitzel & Things was one of the trucks competing. This was their sampler: veal and chicken schnitzel, roasted beets with feta, Austrian potato salad, cucumber salad, braised sauerkraut, and chickpea salad. The schnitzel was golden, the outside crunchy, and the meat tender. The sides were great, especially the beets. I really liked those beets. Compared to the other plates I sampled, the one from Schnitzel & Things was completely cleaned… it was that good.

Now with inspiration, I woke up today to tackle the schnitzel. I decided to make the traditional veal schnitzel with braised sauerkraut, Austrian potato salad, and roasted beets with feta. Perhaps not the best thing to do at the last minute, but I was up for the challenge.


Wiener Schnitzel

According to the recipe (recipe below) you’re supposed to slice the veal to half-inch thickness and then pound with a mallet to a quarter-inch thickness. I opted instead on a package of veal strips, which according to the label would be good for scaloppini. It’s been a while since I did the dry-wet-dry set up for breading, and it isn’t bad at all. The only downside is that you end up with messy hands, and that’s so minor, compared to the beets.

Frying I will have to work on, as they didn’t turn out as I hoped. It could be due to my frying pan, which slopes down in the middle. Instead of having the oil-butter mixture throughout the pan, it just pools in the center, leaving me to swirling the pan so that each piece of meat was able to be fried with the oil.

Wiener Schnitzel
from "The Art of German Cooking" by Betty Wason, 1967

1 1/2 lbs veal cutlet, 1/2in thick
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 tbs flour
2 eggs, beaten
2 tbs water
1 cup bread crumbs
3 tbs butter
3 tbs vegetable oil
4 slices lemon
4 curled anchovies

Cut the meat into 4 serving portions. Sprinkle each with salt, pound each side with side of plate until 1/4in thick. Rub flour into one side only. Dip in beaten eggs blended with the water; then coat with crumbs. Chill at least 1/2 hour before cooking. Heat butter and oil together in skillet without allowing butter to burn. Cook breaded cutlet in the fat until crisp and brown on each side. Keep warm until all pieces are cooked. Serve with a slice of lemon over each Schnitzel and a curled anchovy in the center of each lemon slice. (Lemon should be squeezed over meat with the tines of a fork at table.) Makes 4 servings.


Austrian Potato Salad

I’m not a fan of potato salad, and the Schnitzel salad was okay, but it didn’t really win me over. But M said it reminded him of his grandmother’s cooking, so that was more than enough reason to try making it. Unlike typical potato salad, this salad is made with vinegar, oil, and chicken broth. Not a drop of mayonnaise in sight!

Austrian-Style Warm Potato Salad
from Wolfgang Puck’s Cooking Class, Potatoes Galore! episode

1 pound small fingerling potatoes, washed
2 sprigs fresh thyme
2 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup white wine vinegar
1/4 cup canola, safflower, or peanut oil
1/2 cup chicken broth or vegetable broth
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley leaves or chives

In a large saucepan, combine the potatoes, thyme sprigs, and 2 tablespoons of the salt. Add enough cold water to cover completely. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to maintain a simmer and cook until the potatoes are just tender enough to be pierced easily with a skewer or the tip of a sharp knife, about 10 minutes.

Drain the potatoes. While they are still hot, peel them with a small, sharp knife, protecting your hand from the heat with a folded kitchen towel. As each potato is peeled, cut it crosswise into 1/4-inch slices, letting the slices fall into a mixing bowl.

Add to the hot potato slices the onion, remaining salt, sugar, pepper, vinegar, and oil. Stir gently but thoroughly with a large spoon to combine the ingredients.

Before serving, heat the broth in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the potato salad and stir it gently just until the potatoes are thoroughly heated. Garnish with parsley or chives and serve immediately.


Braised Sauerkraut

My love for kraut beyond a hot dog topping is thanks to M’s grandmother. I kept asking M what was her secret, and finally he asked. She “burns” it. I really doubt she burns it, but I’m guessing she braises it.

I would put the recipe here, but I am close to that 1000 word limit, so I’ll just link you to it. Let me tell you though, you really want to make this recipe. It is really good… it just came out of the oven half an hour ago and it’s almost gone. My family really likes this stuff.


Roasted Beets & Feta Salad

There really is no recipe, other than wrapping up beets in foil, and roasting them in the oven (toaster oven for me) until tender. Peel the skin, and dice. Top with crumbled feta cheese before serving.



Jun Belen said...

Definitely classic German and Austrian!! Great post! I must admit though that I'm not a big fan of German food. Maybe it's the sauerkraut. But I love the sausages though. I thinl I have to try making it at home like you did and see if that'll change my mind! Best of luck in PFB!

Carolyn said...

Gave you a vote. Good luck on this round! I had an uncle (by marriage) from Austria who used to make weiner schnitzel with caribou. Seriously, he did! It was good stuff. Yours looks very good as well!

Lilimonster said...

Jun - braising sauerkraut really changed my views on the whole thing. I'm making another batch of it right now, and somehow it is tasting like french onion soup!

Carolyn - Caribou? Holy moly I would love to try that! Thanks for your vote and comments!

Mhel said...

You really did a very great job! Instead of making one dish, youve made a whole platter of Austrian/German (im confuse as well, lol) treats. I cant wait to try making one someday. Of course dear, you always have my vote!

Whitney said...

My dad would straight shoot someone to eat that meal! Oh Europeans! Congrats that looks awesome, voting now!

Food o' del Mundo said...

Sounds absolutely DELISH! Sending some Foodbuzz ♥ your way. Hope we both make it to the next round ;-)

Unknown said...

I can imagine how Austria and Germany would mix different aspects of cuisine, given proximity. This looks so hearty and comforting, perfect for when the weather cools off. You've got a vote of ours, looking forward to what's next.

Lick My Spoon

tinyskillet said...

Looks good! Good luck!

Unknown said...

I love wiener schnitzel and sauerkraut, thought it was German food too. You got my vote, good luck!

Unknown said...

I love wiener schnitzel and sauerkraut. I thought it's German food too. You got my vote and good luck!

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