The days are getting cooler in Sydney and I’m really enjoying the chill in the air and the fresh nights. The main reason for my love of cooler weather is the food that goes along with it. Warming comfort food that makes you count down the minutes to dinner time. This meal does just that, golden crispy veal schnitzel that’s topped with a rich mushroom sauce – this is not something you want to necessarily be eating in the height of summer, especially when the perfect side dish is a mound of creamy mashed potatoes. The origins of this dish are German but there are similar versions of it throughout Europe, with most of them incorporating cream in the mushroom sauce but I prefer the richness of this wine and stock based German style mushroom gravy. This particular recipe is a real cracker with a nice twist in the additions to the crumbing mixture which make for a very tasty schnitzel. If you wish to replace the veal with another protein, thinly pounded chicken breast or pork loin work well. This is a little more labour intensive than the usual weekday meal but it can be done in stages with the meat sitting happily breaded in the fridge overnight and the mushroom gravy can also be made in advance and then heated just before serving.
Ingredients – Serves 4-6 Adapted from Guy Fieri of Foodnetwork
8 very thinly pounded pieces of veal scallopini, not too large as you are serving 2 pieces per person- you can replace the veal with thinly pounded pork or chicken
1 cup plain flour, divided
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon paprika
½ cup milk
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 cup breadcrumbs
1 cup panko bread crumbs
250g thinly sliced bacon or pancetta, diced
1 medium size onion, diced
2 cups sliced button mushrooms
¼ cup red wine
light olive oil, or vegetable oil for frying
2 cups beef stock
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
Pre-heat oven to 180C. In a shallow medium bowl, mix together ¾ cup flour with salt, pepper, garlic and paprika. In another shallow medium bowl, combine egg, milk and mustard. In another medium shallow bowl, combine bread and panko crumbs. Dredge veal slices first in flour, then in egg wash, and finally in crumbs, pressing the crumbs in firmly. Leave to sit for a good 5 minutes on a baking sheet to set. If you wish to make them ahead the veal can be crumbed and left covered in the fridge for a good few hours or overnight.
In a medium saute pan over medium heat add a little oil and cook the bacon until crispy. Remove from pan to drain on paper towels. In same pan with the remaining bacon fat, add onions and saute for 3 minutes or until soft, if the pan is too dry add a little more oil. Add mushrooms and continue sauteing for 3 minutes. Stir in ¼ cup flour. Cook flour to make roux until light brown, about 2 minutes. Add wine and cook for 3 minutes, reducing by a third, then add stock. Continue cooking to reduce by a third again. Season with salt and pepper. Keep warm. The sauce can also be made ahead of time and reheated before serving.
Heat a generous amount of oil in a thick skillet or fry pan, there should be enough oil to cover the whole base of the pan. When the oil is hot add the veal and cook until golden brown on each side. Don’t over crowd the pan, if you need to, cook the veal in batches. Keep an eye on your heat so as the veal doesn’t burn and add more oil as necessary. Remove to platter when done – you can keep the cooked schnitzel in a warm oven until you’re ready to serve. Just before serving add the butter to the warm sauce, stirring until it has melted. Stir through the chopped bacon and parsley. To serve place the veal on a platter or on individual plates and top with some of the mushroom gravy.