Schnitzel and mashed potatoes. Comfort food. It may not be the make-ahead meal or the fastest to clean up, but it’s the most-requested dish for family gatherings and birthday dinners (okay, maybe it’s rivaled by Sophia’s requests for our 60-Minute Dinner Rolls).
Ever since my German friend Birgit taught me at Fort Lee how she made it back home (before she married her Army officer sweetheart), this has been a go-to meal and a great meat stretcher, since I slice the chicken breasts horizontally to make thinner cuts which cook more quickly (and make more servings!).
The three dinner plates of food you see in the post are made from ONE chicken breast – and there is another piece of meat I set aside since I knew my daughter wouldn’t eat a whole piece. Those are full-size dinner plates, so you can see that each serving is at least as big as my whole hand. You could also pound the meat to make it even thinner; I’ve had schnitzel the size of the whole dinner plate when pounded out!
Preheat the oven to 400. Start the veggies first because they will take the longest. While your skillet heats with a bit of oil (I used cast iron), slice several “steaks” from a head of cauliflower, then trim and half a handful of Brussels sprouts (you can add a few inches of red bell pepper for color). The veggies go into the hot skillet to slightly brown one side; toss with some olive oil and sea salt (don’t over-brown — you’re going for slightly caramelized). Turn veggies, then saute slightly on that side, and put the whole skillet into the preheated oven for about 15 minutes.
Make your mashed potatoes. (Everyone does this differently — here’s how I do mine…..) Peel and rough-dice as many as you want (I used 3 large for us and have leftovers) and put into a steamer basket over a cup of water in a pressure cooker.
Cook on high pressure for 8 minutes, then Quick Release. Dump the water down the drain (or save for making bread), dump the potatoes into the pot with several Tablespoons of butter; add salt to taste. Mash with a masher/ricer till all the potatoes are smooshed, then stir in cream with a heavy spoon; start light–you can add more cream or milk, but if you put in too much too soon, you’ll have potato soup!
While the potatoes are cooking, heat a large skillet over medium-high heat for the chicken and once it’s hot, add about 1/16 inch of oil such as avocado or grapeseed or even coconut (olive oil has too low a smoking point). When I feed “the family,” I use my 13x9ish electric skillet. For tonight for the three of us, I started in cast iron and moved to my 14-inch stainless steel skillet (notice how “lost” the chicken now looks!). NOTE: In the large skillet with the three chicken pieces, the darker ones were started in my cast iron, and the other was done in the stainless steel— the SS actually cooks more evenly!
In three bowls, put (1) seasoned flour, (2) egg/water mixture, and (3) seasoned bread crumbs. My flour is seasoned with just sea salt and pepper. My bread crumbs are seasoned with McCormick’s seasoning and a bit of sea salt. The egg is, well, an egg…and about half a cup of water. (That’s my sourdough starter, day one, in the back–sorry–should have moved it!)
When the oil is hot, dredge a chicken piece in flour, then egg mixture, then bread crumbs, and place in hot oil in skillet. Repeat with all the pieces. Cook long enough to heat chicken pieces to a golden brown, then flip them all.
Turn the skillet temp down to medium and cover the pan so the chicken can cook inside (length of time depends on thickness—not very long—mine took about 3 minutes). Remove the lid, turn the temp back up to medium-high to crisp the coating, then remove chicken to a platter or to plates. (I told you that chicken would look lost in this huge skillet!)
To make gravy, add about a cup of chicken broth (or more, depending on how many you are feeding) to the pan drippings. While it heats, stir 2 Tbsp flour (you can use the seasoned stuff you dredged in–you are going to cook it) into 1/2 cup of milk or cream till smooth. Add this flour/milk mixture to the pan of broth/drippings and stir for about 2 minutes, to cook out the flour taste.
The veggies should have been tender after about 15 minutes in the oven at 400, so you can turn the oven off at that point and leave the pan in to keep it all warm till serving.
Delicious, nutritious, soul-soothing comfort food. (And we even have leftovers!)
(Chicken Schnitzel recipe is found in Vicki’s cookbook, Everyday Cooking)
A few of my favorite products to help with this meal…..
(Affiliate links — products cost you the same as usual, but I make a teeny bit so I can continue to bring you fun content!)
Everyday Cooking – cookbook by Vicki BentleyBosch Universal Plus Stand Mixer Baker’s Package with Additional Baking AttachmentsThe Miracle TimeCube Timer, 5, 15, 30 and 60 Minutes, for Time Management, Kitchen Timer, Kids Timer, Workout Timer, WhiteBosch MUM6N10UC Universal Plus Stand Mixer, 800 watt, 6.5-QuartsWinware Stainless Steel Dough Scraper with Wood HandleBosch MUM4405 Compact Tilt-Head Stand Mixer with Pouring Shield, 400 watt, 4 QuartDough Scraper Bench Knife: Professional Quality Heavy Duty Multi-Purpose Stainless Steel Bench Scraper, Chopper, Cutter – Perfect for Pastry, Nuts, Herbs, Chocolate, Pizza Dough, Soap, Bread BakingNutriMill Artiste Kitchen Stand Mixer (Black Trim)The Original Danish Dough Whisk – LARGE 13.5Instant Pot DUO60 6 Qt 7-in-1 Multi-Use Programmable Pressure CookerInstant Pot Duo Evo Plus 9-in-1 Electric Pressure Cooker, Slow Cooker, Rice Cooker, Grain Maker, Steamer, Saute, Yogurt Maker, Sous Vide, Bake, and Warmer|6 Quart|Easy-Seal Lid|14 ProgramsKuhn Rikon Duromatic Stainless-Steel Saucepan Pressure Cooker – 7.4-Qt38C Precise Heat Surgical SS Oversized Skillet, Steamer and CoverOXO Good Grips Smooth Potato MasherAteco 14578 Bowl Scraper, Pack of 4, WhiteOXO Good Grips 4 Cup Fat SeparatorReusable Produce Bags The Original Eco – Friendly See Through and Washable Soft Premium Lightweight Nylon Mesh Large 12Norwex Dish Cloths, gray (also available in blue)Dish Soap (Citrus & Aloe) – Also available in Free & Clear