Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Schnitzel with Beer Braised Cabbage

Sprechen sie Deutsch?  Well, I actually don’t.  I was just wondering if you did or not.  One thing I do know, is that every early October, the good people of Germany, specifically Bavaria, celebrate Oktoberfest!  What is Oktoberfest, besides one heck of an excuse to drink beer and wear lederhosen, you might ask?  It started in Munich, Germany as a commemoration of the marriage of Crown Prince Ludwig and Princess Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen in 1810.  By 1818, it had morphed into an agricultural festival that celebrated Bavaria.  At some point, beer became a major component of the festival, and it now pulls in about 5 million people each year.  All right, history lesson over.

I look at Oktoberfest as the beginning of Fall.  When I see cities and communities around me celebrating, I know that we are officially in Fall.  I also look at it as a time to enjoy some really good German-esque food.  Win all around. 

Today I have a great recipe for you that makes a perfect Fall dinner.  I am going to show you how to make schnitzel!  Do you love schnitzel?  Especially with noodles, Maria Von Trapp?  I love it too, and I serve mine with cabbage braised in beer and mustard.  I also serve mine with pierogies, which I’m pretty sure aren’t German.  But they are Eastern European (Polish), so that’s cool, right?

My schnitzel starts with thin cut pork chops.  You could totally pound out your own chops, but my grocery store (Scolari’s) sells boneless “thin-cut” pork chops.  I love these because they are very quick cooking.

I dredge my chops in seasoned flour, then Gourmet Rooster Carolina Style BBQ sauce, and finally, panko bread crumbs.  Carolina Style BBQ sauce is the perfect substitute for eggs in this dish.  The purpose of the eggs is really just to help the bread crumbs stick, giving the pork a crunchy coating.  Plus, the BBQ sauce is a combination of mustard, beer, and many other spices.  It works beautifully with pork, and it is mild enough that my kids like it too.

The chops get fried, four minutes on the first side and three on the second, in a large skillet that has already fried up some bacon….leaving all of its precious fat in the pan.  I set aside the bacon, as that will get added to the cabbage later.

Once the chops come out of the pan, I add in one full head of shredded green cabbage.  You can really use any color here, I just prefer green.  I let the cabbage sauté in all of the remaining fat in the skillet.  Once the cabbage has sautéed, I add in more Carolina Style BBQ sauce, and then some beer!  I let the cabbage sizzle away until it is tender.  And don’t worry, the alcohol will cook out of the dish, leaving you with just the flavor of beer.

To serve, I top each schnitzel with the beer braised cabbage and a little sprinkle of bacon.  The pork stays tender and juicy under its crunchy exterior, and you really get a great flavor from the Carolina Style sauce.  If you can’t find Gourmet Rooster (go to www.gourmetrooster.com and hit “where to buy”), you can always sub in your favorite mustard.  Same goes for the cabbage recipe too.

Speaking of the cabbage…the cabbage is tender, yet still a bit crunchy, with tons of flavor from the BBQ sauce and beer.  The beer flavor is so good with cabbage, but you can always substitute chicken stock if you kids don’t like the beer flavor.

Served with pierogies, I think this is the perfect dinner!  Of course, I’ll have to follow it up with a Black Forest Cake or German Chocolate Cake….does anyone have one?

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Schnitzel with Cabbage

½ pound bacon

1 ½ half pounds boneless “thin cut” pork chops

1 ½ cups flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

1 ¼ cup Gourmet Rooster Carolina Style BBQ Sauce, divided

2 cups panko style bread crumbs

1 small head cabbage, shredded

8 ounces dark beer

Fry bacon over medium heat in a large skillet until brown and crispy on both sides, about 5-7 minutes.  Remove bacon from pan, leaving bacon fat in skillet.  Set bacon on paper towels to drain.

Place flour in a shallow dish and season with salt and pepper.  Pour 1 cup of Carolina Style BBQ sauce into another shallow dish.  Finally, place seasoned bread crumbs in a third shallow dish.  Dredge pork chops in flour seasoned with salt and pepper, then Carolina Style BBQ sauce, then bread crumbs.

Fry pork chops over medium heat, in batches so you don’t crowd them, in bacon fat.  Fry each chop for about 4 minutes on the first side and 3 minutes on the second, or until both sides are golden brown and pork is cooked through.  You may need to add additional vegetable oil for frying.

When all of the pork is cooked and out of the pan, place shredded cabbage into same skillet, adding additional oil if needed.  Sauté cabbage over medium high heat for about 2 minutes.  Add remaining Carolina Style BBQ sauce and beer.  Season with salt and pepper if desired.  Let cabbage simmer for an additional 5 minutes or until cabbage is crisp tender and liquid has reduced.  Crumble the cooked bacon over the cabbage.

Serve pork topped with cabbage and bacon with cooked pierogies on the side.

Serves 4.

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