Pork loin schnitzel with creamy mushroom sauce

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So, I went to Vienna a couple of weeks ago! I’ve been meaning to post a few photos, because it’s been forever since I’ve added anything to the travel section of this blog, but I just can’t seem to focus enough to actually get it done. Maybe I should just throw a few photos up at random? Anyway, one of my favorite parts of the trip was all the amazing food we ate. The escalope viennoise, or wienerschnitzel gets its name from Vienna (Wien in German), and we ate plenty of it, along with spicy pork ribs, spaetzle-like pasta, lots of stewed meats and sausages (and maybe some amazing Indian food… Oops!). I let Jé do the grocery shopping for the week, and he came home with over 1 kilo of pork tenderloin. He does love his pork! Uninspired on Saturday and alone in the kitchen, I spontaneously decided to make schnitzel as a gustative souvenir of our recent trip. I had previously made schnitzel with chicken and flour, and this time used pork loin and a combo of panko bread crumbs and flour… It was so crispy and delicious, even heated up in the broiler later that night!!

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The sauce I made to go along with the schnitzel was born of what I needed to use up in my fridge, button mushrooms. I’m a bit of a schnitzel purist and would have prefered to eat it with a squeeze of lemon juice, but since I had no lemons, creamy mushroom sauce it was! I’ll have to admit the sauce was a nice addition to the pasta that we served with the pork, but I mostly ate my schnitzel plain, or (in its second incarnation) with a bit of raw shallot to spice things up! The secret to a great schnitzel is to use meat that has been tenderized and made as thin as possible, and also to cook it very quickly in super-hot oil so that the meat doesn’t dry out (especially with pork loin since it’s so lean to begin with!). I also recommend generously seasoning the meat before you coat it in your anglaise (flour, eggs, more flour/panko), because salting the end product just doesn’t have the same effect!

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Pork loin schnitzel with creamy mushroom sauce

Ingredients (serves 4):
1 1 lb pork loin, fat trimmed off and cut into four equal-sized medallions (mine were about 2 inches thick)
Salt and pepper
1/3 cup flour + 1/2 cup
1/3 cup panko breadcrumbs
1/2 teaspoon paprika
2 eggs, beaten in a shallow bowl

Sauce:
1 cup button mushrooms, quartered
2 shallots, finely diced
1/2 bottle of your favorite beer
1 tablespoon of strong mustard
1/4 cup stock (I used chicken)
1/4 cup half and half
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat your oven to 250° (this is just to keep the schnitzel warm while you make the sauce and side dish). Prepare three large, shallow bowls (or baking dishes). Fill the first with the 1/3 cup of flour, the second with the beaten eggs, and the third with a mixture of the remaining flour, the panko, salt, Pepper and paprika. Place a medallion of pork loin inside of a large ziploc bag (cut end facing up). Using a rolling pin, gently pound out the medallions until the meat reaches a thickness of about 1/8-1/4 inch (your medallion will probably triple in size). Season with salt and pepper and set aside. Repeat with each of the remaining medallions.

Heat some neutral vegetable oil in a deep frying pan (you want enough to lightly coat the entire pan) over high heat. Once the oil is almost smoking, working quickly, dip the pork into the flour, leaving a thin coating and knocking off any excess, then into the eggs, then lastly into the flour/panko mixture, coating well. Fry until golden brown on both sides, about 6-8 minutes total. Drain on paper towels, then place in the oven to keep warm while you finish.

Wipe out the pan and add a bit of butter. Cook the shallots for 2-3 minutes, then add the mushrooms. Season with salt and pepper. Sauté them until they begin to brown, about 5 minutes. Add the beer and stock and simmer until greatly reduced (10-15 minutes – now would be a good time to start boiling water for pasta, and to maybe switch on the broiler for the schnitzel in the oven!). Stir in the mustard, then the half and half and simmer 5 minutes longer, or until sauce has thickened slightly. Serve right away!

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