Oven Baked Chicken Schnitzel
with Sweet Potato Wedges and an Autumn Coleslaw
For anyone who reads these pages occasionally you will know that I recently indulged in a shopping weekend in Washington State. Shopping has its place in the world but there comes a time, usually after a mornings splurge, when my thoughts move over to my next foodie adventure! If the truth be told it is not simply about nourishing the body but about the experience. Kindred spirits will agree it is undeniably true that our travel experiences are usually centred around all things food related. This trip was no different.
On a Sunday drive through the Cascade Mountains I found myself in a fairy tale village perched on top of the misty Cascade Mountains with an elevation of about 1,100 feet! Leavenworth is fashioned after a Bavarian Village in one of the most beautiful settings you could imagine. The drive to the village alone is exhilarating, although on this day it was a misty, rainy morning! If you can look beyond the "kitsch," where there is a Bavarian motif around ever corner, you will find a very resourceful town that is worth a visit. There is always something happening!!!! Oktoberfest had just ended and I haven't attended a festival since growing up in the Kitchener/Waterloo area, but I was in the mood for some premium German ales and some classic schnitzel!!!
The visually stunning house facades in this stylized village capture fairy tale motifs from the Brothers Grimm like Hansel and Gretel and Little Red Riding Hood as well as points of interest I have visited in the Bavarian Alps many years ago. There are flowers cascading from window boxes and flowering pots on every corner. In the late 1960s, with a population of just over 2,000 people, Leavenworth managed to save its dwindling and relatively isolated forestry community from quiet oblivion by creating this self-styled Bavarian paradise. As you wander the streets you can imagine the Von Trapps, merrily singing their troubles away high amid the snow-capped Alps, only this is the Cascades in Washington State. In the summer there is music and costumed merry makers to compound the feeling of being in Europe. The result is a booming tourist industry and an odd juxtaposition of modern life and fabricated nostalgia. Even the golden arches of the Leavenworth McDonalds are carved into a small wooden sign; bucolic murals of alpine life have been painted on its stucco walls. At Christmas the town is transformed into a fairy tale village of twinkling lights which brings throngs of bus tours.
The real visual art, however, was the incredible mountain scenery surrounding the village. I wanted to recapture that feeling of being in the Bavarian Alps in my own kitchen. Luckily for me, I had recently downloaded Kathryn Elliott and Lucinda Dodds‘ Autumn edition of their recipe book, An Honest Kitchen. Schnitzel originated in Germany and refers to a piece of meat that is pounded out thinly, breaded with fresh breadcrumbs and fried to a crispy coating. A breaded veal cutlet is referred to as "weiner-schnitzel" in German cuisine. Another variation is "hanchen-schnitzel" which is made with chicken breast. This recipe is lightened up by baking the cutlets rather than frying and serving them with some healthy sides, although the hearty German ale served on the side was the balancing act. The autumn coleslaw may be a side dish but this salad stole the show!!!!!!!!"Prost"!!
**Oven Baked Chicken Schnitzel with Sweet Potato Wedges and Autumn Colelsaw**based on a recipe from An Honest Kitchen
- 1 large or 2 small chicken thigh fillets (I used breast as it was what I had) about 200g per person
- 1 tablespoon plain flour
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
- Zest of 1⁄2 lemon
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
Put the chicken fillets between tow pieces of plastic wrap. Gently bash (is that an oxymoron?) the chicken with a meat mallet or rolling pin, until it’s about 5mm thick. You may need to turn it over a couple of times while doing this, to ensure an even thickness.
Put the flour in one bowl, the beaten eggs in another and in a third bowl, mix together the breadcrumbs, lemon zest and oregano. Dip the chicken pieces into the flour first. Shake off any excess and then dip into the beaten egg. Finally dip each chicken piece into the breadcrumb mixture. Give it a quick shake and place on the baking tray.
Put the crumbed chicken in the oven. Cook for about 20 minutes, turning half way through. The chicken is ready when it’s browned on both sides and cooked through, but still tender. To check this, stick a sharp knife into the thickest part of the chicken. If the juices run clear, it’s done.
**Sweet Potato Wedges**
- 1 small-ish sweet potato peeled
- 1 red onion, peeled and cut into 6 wedges
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1⁄2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- Pinch of salt
Cut the sweet potato in half and then cut each half into 6 – 8 wedges. Place these in a large bowl with the onion, oregano, paprika, olive oil and salt. Toss to combine. Place the wedges in a single layer on a baking tray lined with baking paper.
Place the baking tray on the top shelf in the oven. Cook for about 15 minutes, take them out and turn each wedge over. Return to the oven and cook for a further 10 – 15 minutes, until crisp and golden.
- a wedge of red cabbage, shredded
- 1 large carrot, shredded
- 1/2 fennel bulb, shredded
- 1⁄2 red chili, seeds removed, finely chopped (optional)
- 2 large handfuls arugula, chopped
- 1/2 bunch fresh parsley, finely chopped
- 1 apple, cored and grated
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 2 teaspoons soy sauce
- 1 cm piece fresh ginger, grated
Add the vegetables, herbs and apple to the bowl with the dressing and toss to combine.
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