Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Cook: Chicken Schnitzel Or 'Around the World with Crumbed Chicken...'


For those of you that eat meat I am sure you are already familiar with the wonders of a delicious free range chicken breast crumbed and pan fried.  Any of you with children will know that great adage - 'crumb it and they will come (to the table and eat it.')   Some thing wonderful happens when a plain old bit of chicken is floured, egg dipped, crumbed and fried.  I am sure there are chemical equations that describe this particular process and all its glory.

I don't need to tell you how to crumb 2 chicken breasts but if I do, the fast and dirty version is as follows;

- Remove the tenderloins (these become the mini schnitzels for the children) and then slice the breast through into 2 thin breasts.  Bash then if you like to flatten them a little.
- Dust in seasoned flour (flour with salt and pepper).
- Shake off excess and the dip in egg (2-3 eggs whisked with a little milk).  Let the excess drip off.  - Then to the crumbs.  If you want to be fancy use Panko bread crumbs - the Japanese crumbs are delicious.  However the average 3 year old will not really care so you can happily use crumbs you make at home by whizzing the crusts and stale bread you find on top of the fridge...
- Dip the floured eggy chicken into the crumbs and make sure you cover it all.  For a super crumby outside, repeat the egg wash and crumbing again.  You don't have to.  2 breasts done this way will get you 4 thin breast sized schnitzels and the 2 mini tenderloin schnitzels.
- Cook - add oil  (I like rice bran as an all purpose cooking oil) to heavy based (non-stick if you have it) pan and cook over medium until brow and crunchy on the outside. 5 minutes or so on each side (depending on hob and pan so you will be much better at knowing when they are cooked).

These are out top 5 ways that we enjoy a chicken schnitzel.*

1. German Style - cook your schnitzel as above and serve with sauerkraut (the Edgell's can variety is very good and is in the canned good section at your local store), potatoes (either creamy mash or a German potato salad), a dill gherkin and some mustard perhaps?  Stella will not eat the sauerkraut but Louis will.  I serve Stella's with a corn cob- one of the only veggies that she will willingly eat. 

2. Tonkatsu Style -this is one of own favourites and super simple.  All you need to get hold of is Tonkatsu sauce from a Japanese supermarket/Asian grocer.  Its a spicy fruity BBQ sauce.  Once you have cooked the schnitzel, you simply serve will some rice, some very, very finely shredded raw cabbage (use normal old cabbage, shred and then place in iced water - keeps it really crispy).  Drain your cabbage and serve.  The sauce is the key.  If you can't get it, any spicy BBQ type sauce will be good.

3. Parmigiana - this is the simple no frills version.  Next time you make a thick tomato based pasta sauce, keep some and freeze it to use here.  Once you have cooked your schnitzels (as above) place them on a baking try.  Turn on your grill. Warm the defrosted pasta sauce a little and spoon same sauce on each schnitzel, sprinkle on some grated cheese and (tasty or mozzarella) place under the pre-heated grill.  Remember to watch it as this is the bit when I forget and go off to remove a small Lego part from a child's body...  When the cheese is melted, you are done!  Serve with chips and salad or just salad (but we all really want chips too so please, have the chips).

4. Curry Style - Japanese curry sauce served over a pork schnitzel becomes a Katsu Karre and becomes even more delicious.  I use chicken schnitzel here as well.  Bill Granger does a Japanese Pork Curry that is perfect - just don't use meat when you make the curry - just veggies.  There are lots of simple Keens Curry based vegetable curries that you could make to use (just Google it)! 

5. Kiev - Deconstructed Style - everyone loves a Kiev, no?  But everyone knows that the garlic butter melts out and ends up all over the oven try.  This is a solution you will love.  In a small pot add about 125g butter, 2 garlic gloves (finely chopped or grated), a small handful of parsley, finely chopped and a small handful of chives, finely chopped.  Warm over low heat until butter is melted.  The add a bit of lemon zest to zest things up!  Serve your schnitzel (which you cooked as above) with mash and some green beans and drizzle the garlicky herb butter 'sauce' over the schnitzel. You will love it.  Thanks to Gourmet Traveller for this amazing idea.

*Pork is more traditional for the Tonkatsu Style and veal would be more authentic for the German Style.  However, chicken is much easier to chew when you are 2 or 82 so I am happy to use chicken!  We buy Lilydale free-Range or RSPCA approved.  I know that they are more expensive but eating meat that had a happy life is important to us.  
**Image is a photo from  Australian Gourmet Traveller. June 2010

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