in the kitchen with: matkonation’s perfect schnitzel


Despite plenty of traveling to Germany and Austria, I never really appreciated schnitzel until I read The Accidental Foodie by Neale Whitaker and came across Bill Granger’s recipe for chicken schnitzel. The first time I went to Sydney, I of course went to Bill’s and ordered it right off the menu, so I could see how his recipe really should be done. Instant love. And then I thought, “Hey, I live in Italy. Cotoletta alla Milanese is (veal) schnitzel!” But upon reflection, I realized that it’s quite straight-laced — no herbs or anything mixed in. I was a fan nonetheless. Fast-forward to a couple weeks ago when Deanna, the stylist half of the team from the Israeli food blog Matkonation, said she had the quintessential Israeli dish for our readers, the Perfect Schnitzel. “Israeli? Sounds more like Mitteleuropa, but I’m curious.” She promised I would not be disappointed, and she was so right. Let us know where you stand on the schnitzel topic: Are you a purist, referring only to veal as schnitzel? Or does any meat prepared this way count as schnitzel to you? You know where I stand! — Kristina

About Deanna and Danya: Danya Weiner, who was born in Los Angeles and moved to Israel at the age of two, has been working in the field of photography for over a decade. Specializing in food, Danya’s work has been featured in Israel’s top culinary magazines, advertisements and cookbooks. A mother of two young boys, she somehow finds the time to also teach photography at a local college. Deanna Linder moved to Israel from Los Angeles to pursue a love interest and a budding career in the field of terrorism research. Eight years later, she lives on a farm with that love interest of hers (and a little one) and works as food stylist and cookbook editor and couldn’t be happier. Together, they are Matkonation, a bilingual (Hebrew and English) food blog, which is fueled by their love for aesthetics and passion for food.

The full recipe continues after the jump . . .

 

The Perfect Schnitzel

You can read the entire story of how Deanna and Danya stumbled across this recipe at their blog.

Some tips before getting started:

  • I find that the best schnitzel is made from very thinly pounded meat. You can ask your butcher to do this for you, or you can easily do it at home.
  • We used chicken in this recipe, but you can replace the chicken with veal or pork cutlets.
  • The reason the garlic cloves are smashed and not chopped is that you don’t want any garlic to get on the chicken while frying; it will burn and become bitter. The garlic is just there to give flavor during the marinade stage, therefore making it important to let it marinate for as long as possible (but not longer than 24 hours).
  • If the frying oil becomes dirty from burnt bread crumbs, throw it out, clean the pan and add more oil. Your schnitzels will thank me later.
  • You may need more/less bread crumbs according to the surface area of your schnitzel.

Ingredients for 6–8 servings

For the marinade:

  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 heaping tablespoons of good quality mustard
  • 3–4 garlic cloves, smashed
  • fresh ground pepper
  • 2 pounds boneless chicken breast, very thinly pounded

For frying:

  • 1 1/2 cups unseasoned bread crumbs
  • 1 1/2 cups panko bread crumbs
  • fresh ground pepper and sea salt
  • canola oil

For serving:

  • 3–4 lemons, halved
  • Good quality mustard (optional)

Preparation

1. Combine eggs, mustard, garlic and pepper in a large bowl. Add the chicken and mix until the chicken is completely coated. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight.

2. Remove the chicken from the refrigerator and let sit at room temperature for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, in a shallow bowl, mix together the unseasoned bread crumbs and panko bread crumbs. Season with fresh ground pepper and sea salt.

3. Dredge chicken breasts in bread crumbs, patting slightly to help them stick.

4. Pour oil into a medium skillet to about 1 1/2 inches high. Heat oil on high heat until very hot and add chicken breasts, adding just two to three at a time (depending on their size). Do not overcrowd them in the pan. Reduce heat to medium and fry until golden brown on each side and chicken is completely cooked through. Repeat with remaining chicken.

5. Remove chicken from pan with a slotted spoon and place on a serving plate lined with paper towels, until all chicken is fried.

6. Serve immediately with a lemon half and mustard.

Why Danya and Deanna Love This Recipe

Although its roots are in Austria, the schnitzel can officially be considered one of the national foods of Israel, right up there with hummus and falafel. On any given moment on a Friday night, I would guesstimate that at least 75% of Israeli mothers are serving their families with freshly fried schnitzel. (The other 25% serve schnitzel on weekdays, keeping the Friday night dinner clear of the fried delight). This recipe represents the best possible combination of techniques that the two of us accidentally discovered together: marinated and breaded with a mix of panko and bread crumbs. It is the best schnitzel that both of us have ever had. Just more proof that two is better than one.


layne

Am I crazy or does schnitzel sound a lot like fried chicken and/or chicken fried steak and/or country fried steak/chicken (my mom also calls is “cubed steak”).

Margaret

I’m a veal purist, but then again, I’m German, haha. I also don’t buy veal at home. We do this with chicken a lot, but don’t call it Schnitzel. Great recipe, though!

la domestique

Beautiful post, and what a fun team these ladies are! I’m so glad you’ve shared Matkonation with us! I love schnitzel and am all for adapting it in a myriad of ways- that’s what makes life interesting.

Einat

Growing up in Israel Schnitzel is part of your diet. My family originally from India made it using Indian spices. I love Schnitzel.

Dani

for me, born, raised and still living in vienna, this recipe looks strange … sorry.
when you are finished, it needs to be goldish brown… and no garlic…or mustard!!! haha!!
but maybe it tastes good! but not like an original “wiener schnitzel” (viennese schnitzel)
greetings from austria =)

Tricia Rose

Ooooh, schnitzel! I love it, but never cook it, thank you for reminding me (I’m off to lose a kilo first).

Kristina

hi dani!

The top pic doesn’t look golden brown? I love trying the same dishes in diff countries to experience variety. The Wienerschnitzel I ate in Austria remains a fave.

K

Sarah

A much discussed subject in my household. My husband’s german grandmother taught him to eat schintzel with mustard. And, while she always touted veal as the only way to go, used pork because it was cheaper. After honeymooning in Switzerland, Austria, and the Czech Republic though, I prefer mine with just some lemon squeezed on top.

I have never heard of the garlic thing but I’d be willing to try it. We also use a dutch oven with a large amount of oil so the schnitzel never touches the pan and shake the pot gently the whole time. It makes them so fluffy and amazing. Also (according to german grandma) if the schnitzel isn’t pounded to about 1/8 inch thick and isn’t the size of a dinner plate you are doing it wrong. Again, all opinion. I have yet to meet a schnitzel I didn’t like.

Helene

Great the Schnitzel gets a well earned mention here! Thats a nice recipe for Fried chicken Schnitzel!
Straight from my viennese heart (and viennese stomach-approved ;), here comes the all-time-favorite everlasting original Vienna Schnitzel how-to:
Take butterfly-cut leg of veal cutlets (good butcher knows!) about 7 inch size and max. 0.2 inch thick (very important). Prepare 3 dishes, wheat flour, whisked egg with pinch of salt, third with fine grounded bun (or u call it roll?). Turn cutlets in wheat, carefully tap excess off. Skewer cutlets with a fork, dip/pull trough the egg, quickly move pieces ( still on fork, no touching!) to the breadcrumbs, turn around carefully, no pressing! Heat pan with lots of butteroil, about 1.5 inch (Test: throw in some breadcrumbs, should sizzle really strong). Put cutlets into pan, with 0.2 inch thickness 2 min frying each side should be fine – for the multidiscussed golden coating. Constantly and carefully shake pan while frying, or take a spoon and pour the hot oil over the upper side of the Schnitzels. Thats what makes the famous soft “Soufflé” to the coating. Remove from pan, put on kitchen tissue to get rid of excess oil, then serve immediatly for the biggest indulgence!
Btw – put the garlic and the mustard into the marinade for a Green salad, serve cooked potatoes rolled in butter and parsley as side dish; a slice of lemon to drip on the Schnitzel right bevor eating – here we go! Viennese soulfood! :)

Lali Quin

OHNONONOOO… Antes de pasarlas por el huevo batido, se pasan por harina, quedan mas jugosas.

Before you roll in the beaten egg, passed through flour , they are more juicy.

Svietka

as an israili i can tell u-u cant do shnitzel wrong! i prefer my NOT pounded thinly-but lightly- but i will try mixing the bread crumbs:)
good photos btw.

Valerie Adams

Peanut oil is a much healthier and tastier oil to use. I made the switch a couple years ago and will never go back to canola.

Maria criger

To valerie: what do you know about canola oil? I heard it wasn’t good for you and made of synthetic materials, why is everyone using it so much???
Please share

gugs

We also make shnitzel for Friday night dinner. But I dip it in flour first, then egg, then breadcrumbs or cornflake crumbs. I havent met many people outside of Australia who do it in cornflake crumbs which comes in a packet (or crushed from actual cornflakes in a pinch). We also sprinkle some garlic powder over it. I also sometimes add garlic powder, onion powder and dried parsley flakes to the crumb layer for more flavour.

I was also taught to fry it in olive oil (and not canola/vegetable oil) if you plan on reheating it the next day – it tastes much fresher after the reheating.

vrensen

i recommend some thyme for the bread crust :)
actually i wouldn’t eat schnitzel with mustard, but maybe i’ll try next time ;)
bon appetit!

Amy Moffat

I have never had a proper Schnitzel before, but I made this recipe last night and it was DELICIOUS!!! and so quick and easy, will definitely be making it again when friends come over. Thank you for the recipe….more of this please ;)

Greetings from Ireland xoxo

Linda

Tried this recipe with hubby the other night. I did the dredging and he did the frying-in peanut oil. SO TASTY!!! A definate hit and will make it again. Couldn’t even really taste the mustard but really moist and flavorful.

Kirsten

I made this tonight for dinner after finding chicken in the fridge and remembering reading this recipe the other week. What a simple yet AMAZING recipe! My family loved it including my 6 year old who is extremely picky (he practically only believes in two food groups: bread and cheddar cheese). They all voted that it’s a keeper! Thanks!

Alef Bet Jewelry

I make schnitzel too! Never marinated it before, but totally going to give it a try. It also freezes well, that is, if any is left over! I use thicker pieces and a little dried mint to the flour and some cumin. But, anything is worth changing up a bit!

Marie

Schnitzel is made of porc, not chicken. You eat it with cranberries, not mustard. Im from Austria, I should know. But the fotos are really nice and I like the idea! I didnt know, that SChnitzel is eaten in Israel!!!

MelD

Wow, that is interesting – an Austrian who eats Schnitzel with cranberries?! Never heard of that! Here in Switzerland, as well as Germany and Austria when I was growing up, it’s the typical option for kid food in a restaurant, as all kids seem to love it with chips/French fries!! We even have a nickname for it – “Schnipo” (SCHNItzel / POmmes frites…) and you get it everywhere. Most often, it’s pork, unless specified as being veal, also popular. Sometimes chicken if served with salad rather than a fried side, or to make at home, which is cheaper. If it says Wiener Schnitzel, you know it will fill the plate because it’s been bashed thin – yummy, too. In all three countries, I have never been offered mustard with Schnitzel (or cranberries!), only ever wedges of lemon, and doubt that garlic or anything else other than simple seasoning goes into the panade… but it’s always interesting to try something different!

Carlos

I’m from Argentina, and milanesas (Spanish for schnitzels) are an everyday dish, found in almost every household, even in sandwiches, or different styles. Our version at home consists of thinly pounded tender beef (not necessarily veal, which is way more expensive here), chicken, or even fish, soybean or tripe (yes, the cow’s stomach), but beef is the most common one. Once the meat is ready, we salt it, rub it with a mixture of crushed garlic and parsley, and then marinate in the beaten eggs for a few hours. After that, we do the bread crumbs thing and deep-fry them or cook them in the oven for a healthier option. We eat with salad, fries, mashed potatoes or rice as a side dish.

Rux

Made this tonight and it was beyond good. I am Romania and Schnitzel was a weekly meal since I was a child. Now that I am “all grown up” I wanted to make it on my own. You gals did good.

Brenda

Traditionally, any of the three meats mentioned, chicken, pork or veal can be called schnitzel. The only one called weinerschnitzel is made with veal. But this recipe is nothing like a traditional German schnitzel. The first offense was adding garlic. Big no-no. I’m sure it tastes really good, but it’s not schnitzel. :)

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