Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Greatpoland's Staple - Schabowy

My uncle Heniu often says that he's favorite candy is schabowy.
Kotlet schabowy, more precisely, which is Polish name for a pork top loin schnitzel. 
It happens to be one of my husband's favorite candy... I mean dinner, too.
It's easy to prepare and delicious. Specially if served with braised sauerkraut and cooked potatoes.

To make Schabowy Dinner you will need:
  • pork top loin, cut into 1/2 inch slices
  • potatoes, cooked
  • 1 24 oz jar of sauerkraut
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • oil for frying
  • breadcrumbs
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • spices: juniper berries, salt, freshly ground pepper, paprika
First, cut meat into slices. Put one slice in a ziplock bag (helps with the mess) and using meat tenderizer beat the heck out of... I mean, flatten the meat. I mean, really, it needs to be almost see-through (no holes though!). Beat firmly but gently. Proceed with the rest of slices, depending how many you want to fry.
Then season tenderized slices with salt, pepper and paprika on both sides. Go easy on pepper. The meat is thin so just a little bit will be enough.
Put schabowe (plural) on a plate, cover with plastic wrap and put in the fridge for about and hour.

In that waiting time let's prepare fixings.
Sauerkraut. Oh, how I love sauerkraut!
I could eat it straight from the jar!
But this is how I like it best. Simmered or braised (not sure which term is more proper) with butter and onions and juniper berries (which are absolutely optional, if you hate them, leave them out).
Mmm!!! Yum!!!

Let's start with a rinse. I think most Americans don't like sauerkraut because they are only familiar with open-the-jar-and-dig-in version. But sauerkraut straight from the jar is very, very sour. 
Take a jar of sauerkraut and open it. I'm using Farman's. I like it best. 

But if you have your own homemade sauerkraut...mmm... then by all means use it. You also get extra points for that ;)
Now take a bowl and a strainer that goes in it. Place them in a sink. Dump sauerkraut into the strainer. Fill stainter-bowl construction with water. Stick your (clean) hand in there while you're filling it and move sauerkraut around few times.

Now remove strainer and discard water. 
Put it back on the bowl and set aside. It will still drain and there will be some water in the bowl. We will use it later.

Melt 2 Tbsp of butter in medium sauce pan.

Next, chop a medium onion.

 Add onion to sauce pan and saute until soft.

Now crack open your jar of juniper berries. Oh, you don't have one? 

Take a few berries

Ok, now comes the weird part ;) Not sure how it got into my head but I thought that berries will probably release more flavor into the dish when they will be squished. So I proceeded with the idea.

Now trow them into cooking onions. By that time onions should be getting nice and brown. And although it's not important for them to be brown it is important for them to be soft at that point. Why? Because we are about to add sauerkraut which is very... well... sour so acidic in other words. If onion is not cooked till soft the sauerkraut will keep it firm and slow down the cooking process.

Add sauerkraut and water from the bowl.

Stir around, cover, reduce heat to low and simmer for about 30 minutes. After that time check is it tender. If not keep simmering for another 10 to 15 minutes. It should be tender and delicious.

In the mean time peel and cook potatoes.

It's time to fry our schabowe.
First, prepare your station. You need dish with lightly beaten egg, big flat plate with bread crumbs and a frying pan.

Now grab a piece of meat and dip it in the egg. Make sure to cover both sides thoroughly. 
I do all of those things with my hands and that's mainly why there is no picture of this step. But if you are deadly afraid of touching raw meat I give you permission to use a fork ;)
Next put it in bread crumbs and cover both sides completely.
And fry. Make sure pan is hot but not too hot. I know very helpful remark ;P 
Well, it's just hard to describe. Meat needs to sizzle and fry but not burn immediately. 
Medium heat is usually perfect. 
Put enough oil in a pan to cover the bottom. Fry on one side till edges will start turning golden brown.

Then flip it over and fry till the other side gets golden brown. Add more oil if needed. Remember that the meat is very thin so it will cook fast 1 to 2 minutes on each side.

Ta da!
Now add some cooked potatoes with butter, braised sauerkraut and dig in! (Sorry, no picture)