Oktoberfest is in the air and it’s got to be my favorite time of year! Maybe it’s because I delivered an Oktoberfest baby 24 years ago while living on our Panda 38. Or maybe it’s because the winds pick up, the heat dissipates and you can get in some great Bay sailing. Or just maybe it’s the beer. Whatever the reason, I’m delivering now the quintessential Oktoberfest delight, Wiener Schnitzel and Jaeger Schnitzel.
8 slices bacon, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
1 yellow onion, chopped into 1/4-inch pieces
8 ounces cremini mushrooms, sliced 1/4-inch thick
1 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped
1 heaping tablespoon flour
2 cups beef stock
Fresh grated black pepper
Chop the bacon and fry in a large pot, until almost crispy.
While the bacon is frying, chop the mushrooms and onions.
Add the mushrooms, onions and thyme to the bacon. You’re not going to drain the bacon grease, this is what gives the sauce the wonderful rich flavor.
You’re going to let this cook on medium-low for a good 15 minutes for all the flavors to cook through and render.
Next add the flour. Sir in and cook for a minute.
Then add the beef broth and continue to stir as it thickens. Grate in some fresh black pepper. No need to add salt, there is plenty already in the bacon and beef broth. Now just taste the richness of this mushroom sauce. Yum! You’ll want to put this sauce on everything! Cover and set aside while you make your Wiener Schnitzel.
Four 5-ounce veal cutlets, pounded 1/8 inch thick
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons German hot mustard
1 tablespoon water
2 cups plain dried breadcrumbs
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped, for garnish
1 lemon, cut into wedges
You’ll need to pound the veal cutlets until they are about 1/8th inch thin. Don’t cheat by using veal scallopini (as I did above) The secret to Wiener Schnitzel is the tenderized cutlet so delicate it pulls apart with a fork. Pound each one using the spiky side of a meat mallet to tenderize it. Season with sea salt and pepper.
Now prepare your breading station. Place flour in a shallow bowl or baking dish. Whisk together the mustard, eggs and water in another dish. Combine the breadcrumbs with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a third baking dish.
Dredge each veal cutlet first in the flour, then through the egg mixture, and lastly through the breadcrumbs.
Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet. Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter into the oil until it starts to bubble, then add 1 of the breaded veal cutlets and cook until golden brown on both sides and cooked through, flipping once, 3-4 minutes total. They soak up a lot of oil, so you will need to add more. Wiping the pan and using fresh oil for each of the cutlets is German perfection! But if you’re in a hurry you can fry up as many as will comfortably fit in the pan.
For a Wiener Schnitzel entrée simply squirt on some fresh lemon and serve with a salad, spaetzle and Braised Red Cabbage.
For your Jaeger Schnitzel entrée, smother the cooked veal cutlets with that flavorful mushroom sauce. And of course, serve with a good German bier!
And let us know what you plan to do this Oktoberfest! Prost!