Saturday, June 20, 2015

Pork Loin Schnitzel with Chestnuts and Black Currants en Pfifferling Brandy Crème

     Gourmet Pork Schnitzel!
     Classic German sauces often feature a combination of dried sweet fruit with mushrooms in a crème fraîche or cream sauce.  Prunes, dried apricots or raisons add a rich semi sweet complimentary flavor to a savory sauce.  
     Black Currants are champagne grape raisons and they have a very rich complex flavor that is not like regular everyday raisons.  In France, Black Currants are called Cassis.  Cassis soufflé is a classic French dessert.  
     Chanterelles are called Pfifferling in Germany.  Fresh chanterelles are easy to find at food markets during the autumn season, but dried chanterelles are the only choice after the first few hard frosts occur.  Many classic cuisine chefs use mushrooms like a spice.  Adding a little bit of powdered dried wild mushroom to a sauce can dramatically increase flavor.
     Fresh chestnuts can be roasted in their shell over an open fire, just like the song goes!  Cryovac packaged pre-roasted shelled chestnuts are a modern option.  When the vacuum sealed bag of roasted chestnuts is opened, the aroma smells like fresh roasted chestnuts!  
     Cryovac packaged roasted chestnuts are great for spur of the moment recipe ideas, especially during the times of year when fresh chestnuts are out of season.  It seems like somebody in the food marketing business took the lesson about the chipmunk that stashed autumn nuts for later in the winter very seriously! 

     Chestnuts and Black Currants en Pfifferling Brandy Crème:  
     This recipe yields about 1 cup of sauce.  
     Step 1:  Soak 1 tablespoon of black currants in a small amount of water, till they are tender.
     Drain the water off of the black currants and set them aside. 
     Step 2:  Heat a sauce pot over medium/medium low heat.
     Add 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter.
     Add an equal amount of flour, while constantly stirring, to make a roux.
     Stir till the roux cooks to a white color, with very little hazelnut aroma.
     Step 3:  Add 1 tablespoon of coarsely chopped shallot.
     Stir for 5 to 10 seconds, so the shallot cooks.
     Step 4:  Add 1 cup of milk while whisking.
     Add 1/4 cup of cream.
     Add 1/2 cup of brandy.  
     Stir as the sauce comes to a gentle boil and thickens to a very thin sauce consistency.
     Step 5:  Reduce the temperature to low heat.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of ground dried chanterelle mushroom.
     Add 8 shelled roasted chestnuts.
     Add the reserved black currants. 
     Add sea salt and white pepper.
     Add 1 pinch of nutmeg.
     Step 6:  Gently simmer and reduce the sauce, till it becomes a thin sauce consistency.
     Add 2 teaspoons of unsalted butter, while gently whisking.  (monte au beurre)
     Keep the sauce warm over very low heat.  Add milk if the sauce is too thick.

     Schweinelende Schnitzel:
     The original Austrian schnitzel meat was pork and not veal.  Veal became the top choice for schnitzel after a king mistook pork schnitzel for veal.  Nobody could argue with kings back in those days, so veal it was!  
     Schnitzel was originally breaded by using buttermilk and not egg wash.  The original schnitzel was pan fried in duck fat.  Not every home cook has those items on hand, so egg wash is okay to use for breading schnitzel.  Pork lard is also great for pan frying schnitzel.  As you can see in the photographs above, a perfect golden brown color can be achieved by pan frying with lard or a combination of lard and butter!
     Step 1:  Cut 2 thin slices of pork loin that are about 3/8" thick and weigh about 3 ounces apiece.
     Trim off any excess fat.
     Use a meat mallet or wine bottle to pound the cutlets thin.
     Step 2:  Lightly season the pork cutlets with sea salt and white pepper.
     Dredge the pork cutlets in flour.
     Dip the pork cutlets in egg wash or buttermilk.
     Dredge the pork cutlets in fine plain French bread crumbs.
     Step 3:  Heat a wide sauté pan over medium heat.
     Add 1/4 cup of pork lard or duck fat.
     Add 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter.
     Heat the lard and butter to a frying temperature (360ºF).
     Step 4:  Place the breaded pork cutlets in the hot fat.
     Pan fry the pork cutlets on both sides, but try to only flip the cutlets one or two times.  
     Pan fry, till the pork schnitzel is a golden brown color.
     Step 5:  Use tongs to place the pork schnitzel on a wire screen roasting rack over a drip pan to drain off any excess fat.
     Keep the pork schnitzel warm on a stove top.

     Pork Loin Schnitzel with Chestnuts and Black Currants en Pfifferling Brandy Crème:
     Overlap the two pork schnitzel on a plate.
     Place your choice of potato and vegetable on the plate.  
     *Sweet peas simmered in tomato sauce and crème potato are shown in the photo examples.
     Spoon a generous amount of the Chestnuts and Black Currants en Chanterelle Brandy Crème sauce over the pork schnitzel.  Try to leave some of the pan fried pork schnitzel exposed, so the golden brown color can be seen.
     No garnish is necessary!

     This is a nice autumn season entrée!     

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