My mom and dad first traveled to Germany in 1972 to see the University of Rhode Island football team play in an exhibition game in Munich. My father came home smitten with the country and everything German. The one thing he was able to copy and share was schnitzel. My father turned 86 this week so for his family birthday dinner I took a stab at a German themed meal complete with pork schnitzel, homemade spaetzle (a noodle pasta), and a sweet and sour red cabbage. The meal would probably not pass muster with my German born and raised uncle but we all enjoyed it. I enjoyed so much that I decided to make it again a few days later for my husband.
I started with a pound and a half of boneless pork loin that I cut into about 8 slices, trimming off the fat. We enjoyed 3 slices for dinner and my husband was thrilled to take pork schnitzel sandwiches to work this week.
I placed each slice between waxed paper and pounded to about 1/4 inch in thickness.
After all pounded out, it was time for the holy trinity. Flour that I’d added kosher salt and black pepper to, a couple of beaten eggs with a little water (that’s the way my mom always did it) and seasoned breadcrumbs (because that’s what I had). Not sure why I went left to right, just happened that way.
I covered them with wrap and put in the frig for later. I had about 3 cups of sliced/shredded red cabbage that had been cooked for about 10 minutes in boiling water with a tablespoon of kosher salt left over from the birthday dinner so I downsized my red cabbage recipe that calls for a medium head of cabbage. I cooked 3 peices of bacon till crispy in my Dutch oven.
I removed the bacon to a paper towel and poured off about half of the drippings. Then added 1 Tablespoon of flour and 1/8 cup of dark brown sugar and stirred to combine then added 1/2 of a small chopped onion, 1/8 cup of apple cider vinegar (you can use white) and 1/4 cup of water. I stirred those around for about 2-4 minutes, letting the onions begin to cook.
Then added the cooked cabbage and bacon (I ended up eating a piece so I only added 2) broken into pieces.
And then the part I love, you’ll see the cabbage transform from a lovely indigo to fushia before your eyes.
Cover and cook for about 20 minutes on medium/low, stirring often. I was too lazy on a weeknight to make spaetzle (it is easy though) so opted for egg noodles and green beans.
Dad had bought me the monster of all electric fry pans so I was able to cook the schnitzel in 2 batches in under 20 minutes. I heated the skillet to 300 and added a Tablespoon of Crisco and a Tablespoon of olive oil. When all was melted and shimmering I added the pork.
It look about 4 to 5 minutes for the bottoms to be crispy and brown. I added a tad bit more olive oil as I turned them over to make sure they would not stick. I love my OXO tongs for this purpose.
When nice and crispy on bottom I would typically remove to a cookie sheet, covered with tin foil and placed in warm – but because 5 of these were for lunch I didn’t bother – we just ate the last 3 out of the skillet. I should have served this with lemon, but I forgot!
This meal like so many bring me back to a place and time. Memories of family dinners. Memories of my mom. Laughter and a smoke filled kitchen. Although I can’t really go back to the 70s, every once in a while I can go back there in my mind.