Remember that one time that I had a baby and people brought lots of food to the house in the first couple weeks of parenthood? Yeah, that was amazing. And this recipe is a result of that time. Our sweet next door neighbors are an elderly couple and the wife (Krista) is from Germany. She's been in the states for decades, but she still has the accent and the fiery personality to boot! She cracks me up.
When it was their night to make us dinner, Krista made us Chicken Schnitzel. Now, I'd never had it before and had always wanted to try it. Oh. my. goodness.
It was the best thing I believe I've ever eaten. Moist chicken coated in homemade breadcrumbs and fried in a pan. Served with yummy mashed potatoes which most certainly had plenty of butter and pepper in them (a must). Definitely comfort food at its finest. Michael and I wanted to eat the entire pan, but stopped ourselves because we knew leftovers would taste even better. We wanted to continue the yummy-ness for one more day.
After our gracious introduction to the German staple, I decided I was going to learn how to make it, and make it so it tasted just as good (or even better) than our sweet neighbor's recipe. Besides, she didn't have a recipe to share anyway. When I asked her, she said, "Oh, I just put a little of this and a little of that". Typical "good cook" language. You never really measure anything, it's all by feel.
Luckily, schnitzel is a very basic breaded chicken, so as long as you have the ingredients to accomplish a breading and do things in the right order, you're set! It took me a couple tries to get this recipe where I wanted it, and Michael and I both agree...it rivals Krista's very own authentic recipe! Mission accomplished.
Now all we have to do is stop ourselves from wanting to make it every week. It's not the healthiest of meals (nothing fried is), and it does take a good hour once everything is said and done. So, I'd save this for a Sunday meal when you have more time to devote to it and you're not running around with the kids during the weekdays.
All that said, you won't regret it. I can promise you that.
(adapted from Serious Eats)
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, sliced in half, about 8 ounces each
6 slices sandwich bread
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 large egg
1 cup canola or vegetable oil
1 tablespoon parsley, for garnish
- In an oven pre-heated to 450 degrees Fahrenheit, place bread on sheet pan and toast until golden brown. Tear toasted bread into large pieces, transfer to a food processor, and pulse until bread is broken down into medium-fine crumbs. Transfer breadcrumbs to a large shallow dish.
- Pat chicken dry with paper towels and place one chicken breast half in a resealable plastic bag. Using a meat pounder or rolling pin, pound chicken breast into an even thickness about 1/4-inch in height. Repeat with remaining chicken pieces.
- Set wire rack on a sheet pan. Place flour in a large shallow dish. Place egg in another large shallow dish and beat until well mixed. Coat one chicken cutlet in flour, shaking off any excess. Transfer chicken cutlet to egg wash and coat evenly, letting any excess run off. Transfer to bread crumbs and coat evenly, pressing lightly to ensure bread crumbs stick.
- Heat oil in a 12-inch skillet on medium-high heat until it is hot, but not smoking. Place one chicken cutlet in oil and fry until golden brown on both sides, about 2 minutes per side, flipping as needed if bread crumbs begin to darken too much.
- Transfer schnitzel to wire rack and repeat with remaining chicken pieces. Garnish with parsley and serve immediately with mashed potatoes.
- You can use sandwich bread from the shelf for the breadcrumbs, or I like to get bread from the "day old" section at our grocery store, as sometimes you can find really good stuff there and it's already a bit dry.
- This recipe can easily be doubled or tripled, depending on how much you need to make. With 2 chicken breasts, we make enough for 4 full servings (or 2 servings and leftovers for the both of us the next day).