Schnitzel and Beer – For Beer Week and a Family Story

Pivo Prosim!! In other more English words – BEER ME! It’s Oktoberfest people – and it’s time to Oompa-pah! And with Oktoberfest is all about the Oompapa and well, obviously – the beer.

Hooray Beer!

And to celebrate this fine time of year – this Czech girl figured it was high time to put a little extra oomph into the proceedings with my favorite homemade dish of quite possibly all time – the schnitzel. Or as it is pronounced in the homeland – tzriskes.

Ts-zzrisk-ehhz.

No, it’s not “triscuits” – contrary to popular belief and Ben who can’t trill an “r” to save his life. But I married him for other reason than the ability (or inability as it were) to trill r’s. Tzriskes have been the go-to dish my grandmother serves when company comes over, usually along with her dumplings, sweet and sour red cabbage and if we’re luck zemelbaba or egg and potato salad.

One bite of a little tzriskes, a little red cabbage and a little dumpling is the stuff dreams and a 9-year old Megan’s dreams were made of. Back when I was 10, my mom and I went back to the Czech Republic to visit the remaining family that was there after my grandparents and my mom fled the country during the occupation of ’68.

During our three weeks there, lunch was often eaten at the pub down the road from the apartment where we stayed. Everyday, without fail, I ate tzriskes, dumplings and cabbage – to the point the server didn’t even ask for my order, it was just presented and promptly devoured.

The trip came full circle for my mom and I and my grandparents who we went with – to meet my great-grandmother and great-aunt who my mom hadn’t seen since her wedding to my dad and I had never met before.  At the tender age of 8, my mom with her mother and father were on a family camping trip when they received news to flee the country after the occupation, so they escaped with a suit case between them and into Hungary where they stayed in a camp for six months before coming to the States as refugees. With the choice of new home in Chicago or Seattle – they settled in Seattle, where my grandpa became a lead electrical engineer at Boeing – having never worked on planes before coming to America, and my grandma worked at the corporate bank offices of Seafirst until her retirement. If ever there were people to admire, it’d be the three of them.

When the time comes in life for me to devour the food of the home country, it always brings back memories and ties the past with the present. Good food isn’t just about the taste, but the memories too.

And beer. Cause ya know – we Czechs love our beer.

Nasdravie!

For More Beer Week Schnanigans  check out these lovely ladies!

Monday:
Kirsten at Comfortably Domestic – introduces us to a local Michigan home brewer turning passion into a business in her “Welcome to Beer Week” intro

Tuesday:
Madeline at Munching in the Mitten – shares Pumpkin Beer Bread – just in time for fall
and
Kat at Tenaciously Yours – shares an overview of Gasthof’s Oktoberfest

Wednesday:
Anne at From My Sweet Heart – turns beer into Pumpkin Ale Pretzel Caramels
and
Lauren at Climbing Grier Mountain –  with her Pale Ale Shrimp Po’Boy

Thursday:
Megan at Country Cleaver – celebrates her heritage and Octoberfest in style with one of my favorites – Schnitzel & Dumplings
and
Beka at Kvetchin’ Kitchen – joins in the fun with her review of the Outlander Brewery.

Friday:
Mads at La Petite Pancake – creates a fiesta in Beer Battered Shrimp Tacos
and
Allison at Decadent Philistines – takes Four Peaks Brewery Kilt Lifter Scottish Ale to new levels with a spicy German mustard, ale-soaked sweet potato oven fries and Maple-Ale Ice Cream; some people are just overachievers.

Saturday:
Katie at The Hill Country Cook – reviews the Double Horn Brewery in Marble Falls, Texas
and
Kirsten of Comfortably Domestic – is back with Black & Tan Brownies
and
Carrie at Bakeaholic Mama – thinks outside the box with hard cider and a fabulous Woodchuck Sweet Potato Bisque; this is why I love fall.

Ingredients:

2 pounds Pork Loin Chops
1-½ cup All-purpose Flour
3 whole Eggs, Well Beaten
1-½ cup Italian Style Bread Crumbs
½ cups Beer - Your choice
¼ teaspoons Ground Pepper
¼ teaspoons Salt
Vegetable Oil

Directions:

If pork chop loins are thick (1" or larger), fillet them so they are thinner (½" or so).

After filleting the pork chops, tenderize them with a meat tenderizer and set aside.
Place all-purpose flour, beaten eggs, and bread crumbs all in separate bowls.
Add 1/2 cup of beer to eggs and beat again. This adds a great flavor, but if you don’t want to use beer some apple juice would be a decent substitute.
To the flour add the salt and pepper. I find it easier than salting and peppering the individual tenderized chops themselves.
Heat oil in a deep frying pan. To test the heat, take a small sprinkle of bread crumbs and if, when dropped into the oil, they simmer and sizzle, the oil is ready.
Take one piece of pork at a time, dredge well in flour, transfer to egg bowl, and then directly into the bread crumb bowl. Immediately place in hot oil.
Beware- your hands will get gunky!!
When nicely browned on one side, gently flip and continue cooking. Continue this process with each piece of pork. When the breading is nicely brown, they are done! The first couple might not come out perfect, these are always the “testers”. Regulate the heat of the oil as needed.
Trust your instincts when cooking these. Don’t overcook, ’cause you don’t want them to be tough. Golden brown breading means they’re done!
These are best served with a wedge of lemon on the side to spritz with. (My personal favorite and very traditional). But ketchup, mustard or ranch dressing has been used by the people I cook them for.

by Megan Keno