chicken schnitzel is probably one of the most popular main dishes in many [jewish] homes, both in israel and abroad. besides tasting great, its popularity is no doubt due to the fact that it is quickly made and can be prepared ahead of time. when reheated, it still tastes great and can be served on its own or even in a sandwich made with crusty bread, filled with boston lettuce and dressed with either mayo or something like a honey mustard sauce.
a knock off of the original wienerschnitzel, made with tender veal pounded to perfection with a mallet, chicken breast meat is the next best substitute. in israel, using gargantuan breasts of turkey is quite common and more or less the standard for this dish. finding affordable fresh turkey breasts here isn't always that feasible, and really, the difference between turkey breast and chicken is negligible.
i usually make schnitzel using the excess matzo cake meal and matzo meal i have left over after the passover holiday but for those who don't have these ingredients, using all purpose flour and dried bread crumbs is perfect and gives fantastic results. one difference from other standard recipes is that i soak the pounded meat in lemon juice. this adds a lot of extra flavour to the finalized dish. additionally, i always season the matzo meal or bread crumbs. note that you need a meat mallet for this or some other implement that will flatten and tenderize the chicken breasts.
making schnitzel requires quite a few dishes as there are a few steps involved. it goes very quickly, however. read through the recipe and instructions first to avoid wasting time. the schnitzel can be baked at 375 F instead of pan frying them if you're worried about calories.
makes enough for 2 to 4 people
2 zaftig chicken breasts, no bones
2 to 3 eggs
1/2 c all purpose flour or matzo cake meal
1 1/2 to 2 c dry unseasoned bread crumbs or matzo meal
1/3 c lemon juice, fresh only
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp onion/garlic powder, optional
1/4 c oil for frying
before starting this, you need to set yourself up. you need a few dishes/plates and to have everything in place and measured out. i suggest reading through the whole recipe and instructions before starting.
- 1 large plate for the flour or cake meal
- 1 large plate for lemon juice
- 1 large plate for the eggs
- 1 large plate for the bread crumbs or matzo meal
- 1 large plate to hold the coated meat
in this order:
- squeeze the lemons and measure out the juice; place it in the dish.
- place the all purpose flour in the dish or ziploc.
- season the breadcrumbs with salt, pepper, paprika, etc to taste and put them on a plate.
- beat the eggs and place them in pyrex or very large plate.
take plastic wrap or parchment paper and place a piece on your work surface. place a chicken breast on it.
place more plastic wrap over the chicken breast and start pounding it with the meat mallet.
work the piece of meat until it is quite thin, about a 1/4 to a 1/2 inch thick. my preference is for 1/4 inch thick.
place the chicken breast in either a ziploc filled with the lemon juice or in a pyrex and let the chicken marinate with the lemon juice for a good 10 to 15 minutes, turning if necessary.
remove the chicken from the lemon juice and put it on paper towel to absorb the excess moisture. turn the breast. you don't want it wet for the next step.
on another plate or in another ziploc, place the all purpose flour. coat the chicken breast on both sides and shake to remove the excess flour.
why am i doing this (twice), you ask? because the egg will not adhere properly to the meat if it does not have a surface to which it should stick. the meat alone is too "slippery" and the flour or cake meal provides that. so....don't skip this part!
place the breast in the beaten eggs and coat boat sides.
with a fork lift out the meat and put it in the seasoned breadcrumbs or matzo meal.
coat both sides and set aside (or fry/bake right away).
heat 2 tbsp of oil in a large frypan and cook about 8 to 10 minutes per side depending on how thick your schnitzel are. they should be nice a golden brown.