Sunday, March 26, 2017

Polish Chicken Schnitzel

Schnitzel, thin slices of tender, juicy meat, breaded and fried to crispy perfection is comfort food at its best. Some consider it a children's food but I've never met an adult who could resist it.

What makes the Polish version a little different from the traditional is the breading. Instead of the standard 3-step method of dipping the meat into flour, egg and then breadcrumbs, the meat goes directly into the eggs and is then dredged in a seasoned breadcrumb-flour mixture.

The coating is versatile and can be used with pork leg or loin chops, or escalopes of veal, but my family likes it best with chicken breasts.
 
Polish Chicken Schnitzel
serves 4

Ingredients:
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1 large egg
1 tbsp water
55g/1/2 cup dried breadcrumbs
35g/1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp sweet paprika
3/4 tsp fine sea salt or table salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley or 1 tsp dried (optional)

vegetable oil for frying

Method:
Remove the tenders from the breasts and set them aside. Place the chicken breasts between 2 pieces of plastic wrap. With the flat side of a meat mallet, pound them to a uniform thickness of about 5mm/1/4".

In a medium bowl, whisk the egg with the water until blended. Add the chicken breasts and tenders to the bowl and toss until they're well coated. You can dip them in the egg mixture one piece at a time if you prefer but I find mixing them all at once ensures an even coat (and it's the way my mum made them).

To make the breading, combine the breadcrumbs, flour, salt, pepper, paprika, garlic powder and parsley in a shallow dish that's large enough to hold a piece of chicken. Dredge each piece of chicken in the breadcrumb mixture, pressing lightly to make sure it adheres and transfer the breaded chicken pieces to a rack. If you have time, refrigerate them uncovered for 30 minutes to 2 hours. Air-drying helps the coating stick to the meat.

To fry, heat 5mm/1/4" oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the breaded chicken pieces to the pan without crowding. You may need to cook them in a few batches, adding more oil as needed. Fry them for 3-5 minutes or until golden brown and crisp and turn them over. Cook another 3-5 minutes until they're nicely browned and cooked through. Transfer them to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. To keep them warm - and crisp - put them on a rack on top of a baking sheet, cover them loosely with foil (so they don't dry out) and put them in an oven preheated to 100C/200F while you fry the remaining schnitzels.

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