Thursday, November 17, 2011

Becsiszelet, aka Wiener Schnitzel, aka Breaded Cutlets

Rinse a chicken breast and decide if it can be sliced lengthwise two or three times.  Most often you can cut it once for two slices.  Often there is a small bit that will end up being a third slice.

Then pound each slice into a thinner slice with a wooden mallet with a metal tip.  (There must be an official name for this tool.)

Pile the pounded poultry onto a plate. 

Repeat for each breast.  We are doing five today.

Then salt each breast slice, both sides.

Then pepper each breast slice, on one side only.

Dump some flour onto a plate.

Mix three eggs on a separate plate.

Turn over a breast several times in the flour, really push it in.

Then you will turn it over several times in the egg as well.

In the meantime, in other words before you douse the meat in the eggs but perhaps after you flour as  many pieces as will fit into your pan, heat oil in a frying pan.  The oil should be deep enough that your meat semi-floats on top.  

Let a bit of the egg mixture drip off and then place the meat into the pan.  The first batch cooked for about a total of 6 - 7 minutes.  The MIL turned them a few times, checking for golden brown color.  She says you should turn the meat two times.  Or perhaps three times.  You also have to adjust the heat as necessary.  So, for example, turn to high heat when you add the meat to the pan.  After two minutes--about the time you turn it for the first time, lower the heat to medium low. 

Her habit is to change the oil after using it twice. If the oil gets too bubbly, it is time to go.  You have to get rid of the oil and then be sure to dry the pan as water will cause popping and problems.

As one batch fries, prepare the next batch by turning each piece in the flour mixture.

Add more eggs to plate as needed.  Same with the flour plate.

We finished this batch at about 3:45.  Of course you can eat it fresh--the meat is warm and soft.  But the habit is that you make this meat ahead of time.  It can be served cold or at room temperature.  It is often prepared for holidays or parties because it can be made before the event.  I can almost guarantee that our freshly prepared becsiszelet will now rest on the counter until we are ready to eat around six-thirty this evening.

By they way, just for the record:  If I were narrating my own cooking, I would have included careful instructions about sanitizing the counter tops and utensils after handling the raw meat.  Not in this Budapest kitchen.  We roll with it.  Good old soap and water at the end.

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