Saying “Rahmschnitzel for dinner” to my husband is like mentioning W A L K to a dog- it garners a surprisingly similar reaction! If he had a tail, it would be wagging. This still surpises me- I love German cuisine, but my husband usually isn’t that interested. Unlike some other classic German dishes (I’m looking at you, sauerbraten), which require a huge time investment to produce something that many people find off-putting, rahmschnitzel is relatively simple and accessible to most American palates. It’s incredibly balanced- its sweet, sour, savory, creamy and earthy flavors sing in harmony.
Now that you’re suitably impressed, and ready to overlook my lackluster photograph, let’s get to the meat (pun intended) of this post. ‘Rahm’ means cream in German. Therefore, rahmschnitzel means cream schnitzel (a thinly-pounded breaded cutlet). The meat is cut thin, pounded thinner, and lightly fried to crispy perfection. The cream sauce is laden with mushrooms, balanced with white wine, with onions and garlic added for good measure.
You’ve guessed it- here’s the recipe!
1 1/2 lbs thinly cut pork or veal
2 eggs, beaten
3/4 C all-purpose flour
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 tsp paprika (smoked is best)
1/2- 3/4 C white wine (I used Rhine)
8 button or cremini mushrooms
1 large onion
4 cloves of garlic
2 Tbls cream
Start by pounding the meat. Just about any boneless cut of pork or veal will work for this; pork loin is one of my favorites. Single muscle cuts (like loin) will keep together better than cuts that contain multiple muscles (like the pork sirloin chops I used for this particular batch). I use the bottom of my mortar as a meat hammer because it is smooth and heavy. Most commercial meat hammers are too light; surface textures meant to tenderize meat can tear a thin cut such as what we’re using here.
You’ll want to mix the flour, salt, pepper and paprika together for the dredge. Slice the mushrooms, dice the onion and garlic and fiddle with the cork on the wine bottle if you need to. I prefer wine with a screw top. It’s cheap, easy, and I don’t drink enough wine to tell the difference anyway. Now is a good time to start heating a heavy (cast iron would be ideal) skillet on medium high heat with just enough oil to coat the bottom in a thin film. The pan will be ready when a drop of water dances for a second before boiling off. Dip the meat into the egg, dredge it in the flour, and add to the pan. Continue this with as many pieces as will fit in your pan without crowding. Brown, then carefully flip each piece of meat. The less you handle them, the better. When both sides are nicely browned, transfer the meat to a rack or platter placed in a warm oven. Repeat this process with the remaining meat. It’s the vegetables’ turn now- add the onions, mushrooms and garlic to the pan. It will likely be quite hot; stir quickly to prevent burning. You may have to add a touch more oil to the pan at this point. When the onions are starting to get a little color, add the wine and stir rapidly with a wooden spoon. Scrape up the delicious crusty bits found on the bottom; they will add flavor to your sauce. Turn the heat down to medium low and reduce until the liquid starts to visibly thicken. Stir in the cream at the very end. To finish, simply pour the sauce over the schnitzel; you could puree the sauce, but I like it chunky (even if it doesn’t make a pretty picture). Serve with potatoes, spaetzle (recipe coming soon!) or fresh bread. I recommend a simple side salad to freshen and lighten the overall richness of the meal.
I can’t guarantee that your significant other will give you puppy-dog enthusiasm for this dish- but I do think that it’s the perfect tool to convert anyone who dislikes German cuisine. Happy eating, and thanks for reading