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Oktoberfest – Schnitzel Party

Ok, here’s my second German-inspired meal of the week; and it represented a personal triumph. You see, I love Schnitzel. Some write it off as a greasy mess made with poor quality meat but I love it. More’s the pity I’ve never tried it in Germany – but I’ve been trying to make a version I’ve been happy with at home. But the Pork has always come out too dry, or the breadcrumbs burned. Home-made breadcrumbs – I find-  just aren’t the same. They soak up too much oil.

Anyway, I hit the jackpot by simply scaling it down. Rather than using a battered-out Pork Steak, I bought a Pork Tenderloin, and sliced that into medallions. Give it a bash- just one, or you’ll destroy it  – then dredge in plain flour seasoned  with Salt, Pepper and a little Paprika. Then, dip your floured meat into a beaten egg, then roll in Breadcrumbs – those bright orange, mass-made ones – you know the kind.

Turn your oven on to about 100c – and then heat your oil. Shallow fry the Schnitzels for about a minute. They won’t take long at all, and you’ll know from the colour when they are burning. When done, drain on paper and then put in the oven for 2-3 minutes just to get rid of any more excess oil.

Wonderful – by exposing the Schnitzel to a quick, hot fry it cooks perfectly without burning. Serve with Lemon wedges (I love Lemon with Schnitzel) and, of course, beer. We had an array of Kolsch and Weizens at our elbows, but found the dry, sweet Kuppers Kolsch (4.8%abv)to be perfect with this porky morsels.

Another little side dish we knocked up was based on Himmel Und Erde, which translates as ‘Heaven and Earth. Essentially Potato mashed with Apple Puree, we switched the Apples for Pears and made it into more of a hash, with a little crunch.

All you need to do is make a batch of Mashed Potato (one large potato per person); and season it well with Salt, Pepper, Cream and Butter. Leave it to cool – this will make it a little firmer to handle. Take a small tin of Pears (which will be much sweeter and softer than fresh) and slice 3-4 Pears up as fine as you can, then add to the mash.

Heat some oil in a thick-bottomed pan, then with floured hands, scoop up some mash and shape into a loose patty. Dust with flour, then lay in the pan. Once the bottom has crisped, flip (quickly!) with a Spatula and do the other side. What you get is a crispy, creamy, sweet bed for a slice of crispy Black Pudding and Fried Onions. Sweet and intensely savoury, I can understand why this comfort food is popular in the colder months.

We found the  sweeetness and slightly sour, clovey finish of Erdinger’s Urweiss (4.9%abv)  to be a perfect counterfoil to the fruit and gentle spiciness of the Black Pudding.

All in all, a fun and hearty meal with a nod to our Germanic neighbours. Now, go and try it out! One resource that was invaluable when researching this set of posts was Culinaria Germany by Christine Metzger. I’ve had it a while now, and it’s fantastic – a region-by-region roundup of the Culture that the food comes from, plenty of notes on Beer and Beerhalls, and explanations of Traditions. It’s much more than a cookbook and, like I say, one not to miss if you’re interested in German culture. I was also greatly amused and inspired by Boak & Bailey’s quest for perfect Schnitzel earlier in the year. Wonderful reading, as always.

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