Wednesday, March 10, 2010

German Food, the begining

I was struggling this week for something to cook. I was hoping to have some awe-inspiring, miraculous recipe to post. But alas, I don’t. Instead I have an old standby that I have made and adapted numerous times from its original version. But first let me tell you a little about the progression of this recipe.

As you can guess from the title and description of this blog, I know a little about German food. I studied abroad in Freiburg for a semester while in college and fell in love with the food. I mean what’s not to like - chocolate? check, sausage? check. cheese? check. bread? check. beer? double check. (I could go on, but I’ll spare you on the list of foods I love) We did a lot of cooking in Germany, but we didn’t cook a lot of German food. My exposure came from farmer’s markets, fairs, Biergartens and other restaurants. Mostly, I did a lot of baking while I was there. Just wait until I make my Apfelkuchen recipe in the fall!

But when I came back to the states, my sister’s birthday was coming up. And she decided to have a “German Food” party, for which I offered to cook. My mom had always made us sauerbraten and red cabbage but that was the extent of our German food exposure. So I offered a complete list of foods for my sister and her friends to eat: Potato Leek Soup (it can kind of count as german), Jägerschnitzel, spätzle, red cabbage with apples, sauerbraten, potato pancakes, stuffed tomatoes (you’re surprised about that last one I know) etc. as well as chocolate desserts.

Some friends of mine came over to help me cook and keep me company, and we were having a blast in the kitchen. As my sisters friends came over, they congregated at the kitchen table, in plain view of the kitchen and my antics. If any of you know me - then you know I have a propensity to make a ton of food. Needless to say I managed to make a full 8 quart pot of gravy for the sauerbraten alone. So, with enough German food to feed my sister’s entire graduating high school class, I forgot about the possibility that these 15 year old girls might not want anything to do with German food.

I don’t know if they came out of respect for my sister. Or if they thought German food was like hamburgers and french fries. But only a few of the girls ate anything - and only when we forced them. My friends ate the food, and as we tried to make the night more entertaining for everyone, the only response we got was “Jess, your sister and her friends are so weird!”

That ‘weirdness’ I must say, has yet to disappear - but thankfully neither have the recipes I cooked that night. The Jägerschnitzel recipe is a great way to use cheap cutlets of any kind and an easy way to get dinner on the table quickly. Since Jäger means hunter in German, it was originally made with wild board or rabbit. So I look at this as a versatile recipe. You can use veal, pork, chicken, turkey - whatever. The recipe calls for mushrooms but since Joe doesn’t really like them, I leave them out. But you can add your favorite herbs to this, or leave it as is. I also tossed some spinach into the pasta water at the last moment to add something green into the mix.


As adapted from 2003

1 lb. pork cutlets
2 eggs
¾ cup bread crumbs
Salt and pepper
Canola Oil

5 strips of bacon, diced
1 large onion, chopped
8 oz. mushrooms, sliced
1 Tbsp tomato paste
½ cup chicken stock
½ dry white wine (or a 1 Tbsp lemon juice and ½ c, stock)
2 tsp dried thyme
½ tsp paprika
1 Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
2 Tbsp sour cream
Salt and pepper

Egg Noodles

1. Scramble the eggs in a shallow bowl. Combine breadcrumbs, salt and pepper in a separate shallow bowl. Place a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Dredge the pork in the egg followed by the breadcrumbs and place into skillet. You can also double dredge each cutlet for an extra thick coating. Repeat with remaining cutlets, being sure not to crowd the pan. Brown pork on either side for about 4 minutes (or until nicely browned). If the pork is still underdone (depending on thickness, place on baking sheet and keep warm in a 350°F oven until you’re ready to serve).

2. Remove pork from skillet and let rest on a plate (if it’s not in the oven). Drain the fat from the pan, but don’t worry too much about loose brown breadcrumbs. If those crumbs are black however, you should discard them.

3. Add bacon to skillet and sauté until some fat has rendered out, but they are not quite brown. Add onions and cook until onions and bacon are golden. About 5-7 minutes more. Stir in mushrooms (if using) and tomato paste, and sauté another 3 minutes. Add wine, stock, thyme, paprika, salt and pepper. Simmer for about 5 minutes until sauce is slightly thickened, then add sour cream and parsley.

4. Meanwhile boil egg noodles according to package directions. Drain and add a pat or two of butter to keep the noodles from sticking.

5. To serve, place noodles on a plate, lay a cutlet on top, and spoon sauce over.
Serves 4

1 comment:

  1. Great post, and the schnitzel looks fantastic.


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