Is it wrong that I want to refer to this recipe from here on out as The Schnitz? Cuz…it sure sounds wrong…but it makes me giggle…and heck, yup. The Schnitz it is.
Sis Blogging Partner and I looooove German food. Unfortunately, there’s no longer any German restaurants in our area, because, frankly, our area sucks like that. Please don’t go enjoying a restaurant with any unique qualities to it, one that’s not a commercialized chain. Oh noes! None of that allowed, nope. This is why, when I came across this recipe, the little German food lover in me (my stomach, of course) stood up and demanded The Schnitz. And the Schnitz was good.
Before you say it, yes, we know. There’s Japanese bread crumbs in our pseudo German food. It’s going to be OK. It’s going to be so OK, actually, our own German ancestors are going to stir jealously in their graves and cry cuz they didn’t have panko back in the day. Or…I imagine they would.
Let us introduce you to the most fun part of this kind of recipe – beating the crap out of whatever meat you’re using. For this case, it’s a chicken cutlet. As an aside, I just love the word cutlet (I have zero explanations), but even if you buy pre-sliced thin cutlets as I did, they might still need a little thinning out.
This is when I highly recommend you buy one of those meat mallet tenderizer thingies. Cooking can be a good stress reliever, and this is one of those cases because you get to beat the ever loving crap out of the chicken. Now, don’t Hulk smash it, of course, just flatten the meat till about one-quarter inch or so in thickness. This will take at least a few good smacks of the mallet per piece, so just imagine whoever pissed you off so badly at work that day and have a really great time.
As you can see, two pieces of wax paper, the cutlet between them, make a great container for thinning out the chicken.
Like a lot of recipes that bread meat, you’ll need some counter space and a few dishes and utensils to dirty up. We recommend a 10-12-inch dinner plate for the seasoned flour, then two shallow bowls (pasta bowls work well) for the egg mixture and bread crumbs.
First dredge the cutlet, both sides, in the seasoned flour, gently shaking off any excess.
Then you’ll dredge the floured cutlet in a mixture of egg and Dijon mustard. Surprisingly, the mustard was not overly strong in the final taste test. Maybe it’s just me, but I do tend to really taste Dijon when it’s used.
Finally, the cutlet is encrusted with the very fine and crunchy panko. You’ll want to gently press the crumbs into the cutlet. Not so much that the egg bleeds through, just enough to say, Hey, Panko! Get on there!
Personally, I’ve not fried much food with canola oil (well, I tend not to fry food, period), but the result this time was very good. Good in the sense that the cutlets were not greasy when done.
Since the chicken is so thin, these only need a few minutes per side. Your nose can help you determine when they’re done; you’ll be able to smell it and the smell will be good. Don’t mess with them constantly, just let ’em rest and cook, then flip after four to five minutes. A word to the wise – the other side may not need as long to cook, and my stove tends to heat pans hotter and hotter the longer the burner is on. Watch your cutlets carefully and lower the heat if necessary.
Just a handy picture to show you how thin we’re talking. So. thin! Incidentally, I like to thin out chicken or pork in other dishes sometimes too, simply to make it quicker and easier to cook.
If you’re already a lover of German style food, you’ll understand when I say this was off the chain delish. Yes, it’s not the traditional way, and yup, it’s a little odd with the use of Japanese bread crumbs – but it’s a solid recipe, folks. This is one of those awesome comfort foods that, while a little messy to clean up later, is really easy and otherwise pretty quick to make. The breading is perfectly crunchy, the meat is definitely tender thanks to being so thin, and we’ve included a quick pan sauce in the recipe below that really completes it all. So raise your Riesling wine or German beers high and enjoy!
Chicken Schnitzel with Lemon Pan Sauce
Prep Time: 15 minutes Cook Time: about 10 minutes per batch Level: Easy Serves: 4
For the schnitzel:
- 4 4-ounce skinless, boneless chicken breasts, pounded to 1/4-inch thickness
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup all-purpose flour (for dredging)
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 2 cups (or more) whole wheat (or regular) panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
- paprika, to taste
- 2 tablespoons canola oil, divided
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
- Chopped flat-leaf parsley
- Lemon wedges
For the pan sauce:
- 1 to 1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- juice of half a lemon
- 3-4 tablespoons half and half
- 1-2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
For the schnitzel: Line a baking sheet with waxed paper. Season chicken breasts with salt and pepper. Place flour on a plate and combine with a little salt and pepper. Beat eggs and Dijon mustard to blend in a shallow baking dish. Place 1 cup panko in another shallow baking dish and season with salt, pepper and paprika, adding remaining 1 cup panko, or more, to dish as needed throughout process, re-seasoning as needed. Working with 1 chicken breast at a time, dredge in flour, shaking off excess, then dip into egg mixture, turning to coat evenly; carefully coat with panko, pressing panko gently to adhere to chicken. Transfer chicken to prepared baking sheet.
Heat 1 tablespoon oil and 1 tablespoon butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat (pan should be large enough to hold 2 breasts). Add 2 chicken breasts to skillet and cook until golden brown on both sides, 4-5 minutes per side. Transfer chicken breasts to a paper towel-lined plate and season with salt. Add remaining 1 Tbsp. oil and 1 Tbsp. butter to skillet and repeat with remaining chicken breasts. Transfer chicken breasts to plates and garnish each with parsley and a lemon wedge.
For the pan sauce: Leaving any drippings and browned bits in the pan, add the chicken stock and lemon juice. Scrape the browned bits from the bottom of the pan and bring the mixture to a boil, reducing the heat to keep at a simmer for about 3-4 minutes, allowing the liquid to reduce slightly. Add in the flour, sprinkling it sparingly while whisking it in the entire time. Raise the heat again slightly and whisk constantly until the sauce is slightly thickened. When sauce is thickened, spoon over the schnitzel.
Do keep the panko package handy. We needed closer to the two cup mark and added to the panko dish often.
The pan sauce is only really meant to give the whole dish a little juiciness and added flavor. It won’t be a boatload of gravy or anything, but you can certainly double the above ingredients if you think you’d like more. It may need slightly longer to thicken.
We served our schnitzel with yummy mashed potatoes.