~Edit~ I did make a video, but it is very long ha ha. In it I cook schnitzel, bechamel sauce, and succotash.
I love to cook. I have always thought I was a pretty good cook. Not just because I used to cook professionally – but more importantly as a hobby. And if you look at my pictures you will know I love to eat. I used to work for Williams-Sonoma, back in the early and mid 1980’s. Most of my kitchen (that I brought with me) is from the early 80’s. Quality products are an investment and should last most of your lifetime. Anyway…. Chuck Williams was coming to our store for dinner. Everyone at the store was going to cook one dish. Since I was just the stock boy I thought I was safe. Wrong! I told the manager I had no idea what to cook for a man that hangs out with chefs like James Beard. She said I should make my Scottish shortbread. I was not convinced it was a good idea but could think of nothing else to make. Well, long story short he loved my shortbread and asked for the recipe. I laughed and said it was on the recipe cards downstairs – it was his recipe! He said his never turned out so good and we discussed, at length, what my method was. So Chuck Williams said I was a good cook. My wife, is not so easily impressed.
Well, any of you over here in the Philippines has surely noticed the food is not quite what we are used to – no matter where you are from. Bread & spaghetti are sweet, cakes are not. All meats are tough, overcooked, and for spice everything is pretty much cooked in garlic then dipped in vinegar & soy sauce. (I generalize to make a point.) Don’t get me wrong, I like my wife’s cooking. Most Filipino food is good. But I still enjoy cooking. The problem is that overall, anything I cook my wife will not like. I know that going into and yet I keep trying. My spaghetti is too spicy, needs sugar and really should have hot dogs cut up in it… know what I mean? I do make a good pot of chili. She says so, but she still won’t eat it.
So imagine my surprise when I made wiener schnitzel for the first time. She dutifully, and hesitantly, tasted it. Then stole it and told me to make another for myself! I finally found something she likes. When you are trying to find ingredients here you will have to learn how to make substitutions. I never cooked wiener schnitzel in the US, so I did not have a recipe to change. I went online and read a few recipes, picked out parts that looked good, and made my own recipe. If it is different than what you make… that is ok. I kind of made it up as I went along. Which is good because it uses only ingredients that are readily available here.
I should have made a video but did not think of it in time. If there are requests, I will make one next time I make schnitzel and amend this page. My recipe is simple. And if you notice there are no measurements… well it is because there are no measurements. This is cooking, not a science experiment.
I use pork tapas (wish I could find some veal over here). I did use beef tapas one time and quite frankly it tasted exactly the same to me. The pork tapas is a big chunk of meat, I have no idea which part. Almost zero fat, which is important to make the right consistency. When you buy it they will slice it to your desired thickness. If I don’t specify they will cut it to about 1/4″, for this I prefer 1/2″. Put the meat on your cutting board. Cover the meat with plastic wrap to contain any splatter, and tenderize it with a meat mallet. It will start out about 3″x5″ and 1/2″ thick. After tenderizing it, it will probably double in length and width, and be less than 1/4″ thick. If tenderized properly you will be able to cut the final product with just a fork. If there is too much fat in the meat it will tear along the lines of fat, and the fat is tough to cut through as you eat it. So the tapas cut works out very well.
I use pasta bowls to dip the meat into. Something shallow and long works best. In one bowl crack an egg and pour in some Worcestershire sauce. Use a fork to mix well. If you are making 2 or 3 pieces 1 egg should suffice. In the second bowl pour in some bread crumbs and Italian seasoning (here we get McCormick Italian blend). Mix well. (did I mention there are no measurements?)
The meat is still on the cutting board. Throw the plastic wrap away. Sprinkle ground pepper and Parmesan cheese on the meat. Allow it to sit for 10-20 seconds until the meat juices start to wet the cheese, then massage the pepper & cheese into the meat. Only treat one side, if you turn it over to do the other side you lose half of what you put on the first side. Lay the meat into the egg mix and coat well. I lay it in the egg, cheese side up, and using my fingers pour egg onto the top – I do not turn it over in the egg. Then place it in the bread crumbs and thoroughly coat. Physics will only allow so much bread crumbs to stick. That is about how much I use. I don’t think you can have too much. At this point the egg and meat juices will have a good hold on the pepper & cheese. So feel free to turn over the meat to thoroughly coat it with bread crumbs.
In a large pan put in a couple tablespoons of butter and heat with a medium low flame. Gently place the schnitzel in the pan and cook each side until golden brown, 5 minutes each side? I really should have made a video ha ha. When you turn it be gentle, I generally use tongs. Also, as you turn it you may need to add more butter. If you use oil you will not have to add more halfway through, but it tends to come out a bit greasy. Cooking in just a dab of butter is essential. When done you should not have to blot any grease off. The butter cooks in, the coating is dry, and wonderful.
I like to serve it with green beans and either a German potato salad, or mashed potatoes. Sometimes I will make rosemary potatoes. Tonight we had rice – big surprise. Melane made a wonderful radish dish. It uses the Asian radish (large white radish). I do not know exactly what is in it but I know there is grated radish, coconut milk, chopped onions & tomatoes, and some vinegar. It is wonderful and goes very well with the schnitzel.
This is really a very simple dish. All the locals that have tried it really liked it. If there is any interest I can post more of our food. Especially noting any changes needed for available items here in the Philippines. My chili recipe needed some tweaking for sure from my Texas recipe.
Boneless pork or veal chops
1 cup bread crumbs
Ground black pepper
Pound the cutlets very thin with a meat mallet. I cover it with plastic wrap to avoid messy splatters. Sprinkle some black pepper and Parmesan cheese onto the cutlets. Massage lightly into the meat. Crack the eggs into a shallow bowl (a pasta bowl is perfect). Add some Worcestershire sauce to the egg and mix with a fork. In another bowl put bread crumbs and mix in some Italian seasoning (the store bought mix, like McCormick. is fine). Gently place the meat in the egg mix and push down into bowl to cover the meat – being careful not to knock off the cheese/pepper. After it is coated with egg dip both sides in the bread crumbs, the egg will hold the cheese to the meat.
Melt butter in a large bottom pan, on low heat. Fry the cutlets for a few minutes on each side until golden brown. If the pan dries up add more butter. Try to turn the meat only once because the breading is a bit delicate. You can use a light oil instead of butter but the butter is awesome – and we don’t eat this very often. Splurge a little.
I like to add a bechamel sauce over the schnitzel. I have no idea how authentic any of this is, but I have gotten good reviews from everyone who has tried it.