Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Schweinelende Schnitzel and Preserved Lemon Caper Cognac Butter with Bavarian Style Cabbage en Sweet Tomato Sauce

     Bavarian Style Pork Schnitzel!
     Bavarian cuisine is unique because tradition is a hallmark, yet this cuisine adapts many influences of neighboring cultures.  The Czech Republic is located on the east border of Bavaria, so Czechoslovakian cooking influences are naturally part of the local cuisine.
     Mild paprika and sugar often flavor savory recipes in Bavaria.  Stuffed cabbage in a mild sweet tomato sauce with a little bit of paprika is popular in both Bavaria and the Czech Republic.  This style of stuffed cabbage is commonly made in regions of America that have large German populations, like Pennsylvania.
     While working with German chefs at a yacht club in Florida, Bavarian style Cabbage en Sweet Tomato Sauce was often served as a vegetable du jour.  This vegetable recipe was usually quite saucy.  Often the Cabbage en Sweet Tomato Sauce was served with Breaded Veal Cutlets and lemon as a special du jour.
     By European law, if pork is used to make schnitzel instead of veal, then the word pork is required to be in the recipe title.  This law was set in place because many dubious chefs sold cheap pork as veal schnitzel for a high price.
     Years ago I never heard of Preserved Lemons (Pickled Lemons).  I saw pickled lemon listed in the ingredients of a French recipe and I asked a German chef, whether he had ever heard of such a thing.  The German chef responded by saying "Sure!  Pickled lemons are used in many cuisines, including German cooking.  We Germans pickle anything!"
     Since that time I learned that Preserved Lemons are commonly used in Persian and Arabic cuisines.  A large jar of Preserved Lemons in light brine sells for a reasonable price at a Mediterranean food market.
     Persian Pickled Lemons have an interesting flavor can be used in place of fresh lemon.  They actually are considered to be a gourmet item in modern times.  In the old days before modern food distribution came to be, Pickled Lemons were the means for having lemons, when fresh lemons were no longer in season.  

     Bavarian Style Cabbage en Sweet Tomato Sauce:
     This recipe yields 2 portions.
     Make this recipe is saucy, because the excess sauce will accompany the pork schnitzel!
     Step 1:  Heat a sauce pot over medium low heat.
     Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of unsalted butter.
     Add 2 tablespoons of small diced carrot.
     Add 2 tablespoons of small diced onion.
     Gently sauté till the onions turn clear in color.
     Step 2:  Add 1 1/2 cups of cabbage that is cut into 3/8" wide ribbon strips.
     Stir till the cabbage just starts to become tender.
     Step 3:  Add 1/3 cup of chopped peeled seeded plum tomatoes.
     Add 1 1/3 cups of tomato puree.
     Add 1/2 cup of light chicken broth.
     Add 1/2 cup of water.
     Add 1 teaspoon of cider vinegar.
     Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of sugar.
     Step 4:  Add 1 pinch of mild Hungarian Paprika.
     Add 1 small pinch of nutmeg.
     Add 1 small pinch of allspice.
     Add 1 pinch of ground ginger powder.
     Add sea salt and white pepper to taste.
     Step 5:  Raise the temperature to medium high heat.
     Bring the liquid to a boil.
     Step 6:  Reduce the temperature to low heat.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of lemon juice.
     *Taste the sauce.  The flavor should be more sweet than sour or savory.  Adjust the flavor balance with sugar if necessary.
     Step 7:  Simmer and reduce till the cabbage is tender and the sauce is a thin consistency that can cling to the cabbage.
     Keep the sweet tomato cabbage warm over very low heat or reheat it to order.

     Butter Whipped Potato:
     This recipe yields 2 portions.
     Step 1:  Place a peeled 8 ounce russet potato in a sauce pot and cover the potato with cold water.
     Bring the water to a boil over medium high heat.
     Boil the potato till it is soft and tender.
     Step 2:  Drain the water off of the potato and leave it in the sauce pot.
     Add 2 tablespoons of Unsalted Plugra Butter while whisking.
     Whisk the potato till is smooth and creamy looking.
     Add sea salt and white pepper to taste.
     Step 3:  Place the butter whipped potato in a star tipped pastry bag.
     Keep it warm on a stove top.

     Schweinelende Schnitzel:
     This recipe yields 1 portion.
     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 with buttermilk and not egg wash.  The original schnitzel was pan fried in duck fat.  
     Not everybody has those items on hand, so egg wash is okay to use for breading schnitzel.  Pork lard is a good substitute for duck fat.  As you can see in the photos 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 bias slices of pork rib loin that are about 3/8" thick and weigh about 2 1/2 to 3 ounces apiece.
     Trim off any excess fat.
     Step 2:  Use a meat mallet to pound the cutlets thin.
     Step 3:  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 plain fine French bread crumbs.
     Step 4:  Heat a wide sauté pan or cast iron skillet over medium heat.
     Add enough pork lard or duck fat, so the melted lard is about 3/8" deep.
     Add 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter for flavor.
     Adjust the temperature so the lard is 360ºF.
     Step 5:  Place the breaded pork cutlets in the hot lard.
     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 golden brown.
     Step 6:  Use tongs to place the pork schnitzel on a wire screen roasting rack over a drip pan to drain off any excess lard.
     Keep the pork loin schnitzel warm on a stove top.

     Preserved Lemon and Capers en Cognac Butter Sauce:
     This recipe yields 1 garnishing portion. 
     This butter sauce requires very little time to make and it should be made shortly before serving. 
     Step 1:  Heat a small sauté pan over medium heat.
     Add 2 ounces of brandy or cognac.
     Add 1 tablespoon of rinsed capers.
     Add 1 Persian Pickled Lemon that is cut into thin slices.
     Step 2:  Rapidly simmer and reduce, till only 1 teaspoon of cognac remains.  (Flambé if necessary!)
     Step 3:  Remove the pan from the heat.
     Immediately 2 tablespoons of chopped chilled unsalted butter, while constantly shaking and swirling the ingredients in the pan.
     Swirl the ingredients in the pan till the butter melts and emulsifies with the liquid to make the Beurre Cognac Sauce. (Stirring with a whisk would damage the sliced Pickled Lemon, so swirling the ingredients is best!)
     Step 4:  Add 1 pinch of sea salt and white pepper.
     Keep the sauce warm on a stove top.

     Schweinelende Schnitzel and Preserved Lemon Caper Cognac Butter with Bavarian Style Cabbage en Sweet Tomato Sauce:
     This recipe describes 1 entrée presentation.
     Step 1:  Place a generous amount of the Bavarian style sweet tomato cabbage on the plate as a bed for the pork schnitzel.
     Overlap the 2 pork loin schnitzel on top of the sweet tomato cabbage.
     Step 2:  Use a spoon to overlap the Preserved Lemon slices on top of the pork schnitzel.
     Spoon the capers and cognac butter over the preserved lemon slices and and pork schnitzel.
     Step 3:  Use the pastry bag to pipe the butter whipped potato on the plate.
     No garnish is necessary!

     A tasty Bavarian style entrée for any season! 

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