Cabbage, Pork, Side Dishes, Simple Dinner Sunday, Techniques

Simple Dinner Sunday – Pork Cutlets with Mushroom Sauce

I’ve never been one of those shoppers with a rigid grocery list. Sticking to a list, ticking off every little thing so you stay within $.50 of your budgeted grocery allowance just doesn’t work for me. I like the thrill of the economical buy.
And, I do like a bargain.
Reference the…

  • 6 packs of ox tail for $1.95 a pack
  • 1/2 bushel of okra for eight bucks
  • family pack of 1.5 pound fryers (really, really tiny chickens) for 89 cents each
  • industrial-sized bag of frozen chopped spinach…

So, just imagine the joy of unearthing a 1 lb pack of
“Cubed Pork Cutlets” for $1.35. I was over the moon happy.

Really… Until, I got them home…

Here’s the thing with cubed meat. Cubing is a process intended to break up the relatively tough muscle in bad cuts of meat. The protein feeds into the whacka-chopper, and it smashes 1/4″ divots into the slab of toughness. Top Round, Eye of Round, Brisket, Vein Strips – all good candidates for the cubing mawl…
Pork? not so much.

Pork, in whatever cut you’re working with, is consistently pretty sticky. Running pork whatever through the stamping jaws of the cubing machine rewards you with mangled pork. I had four pieces of flacid, unrecognizable, mashed and mushed pig, (hence, the deep discount)… but that really was okay because in my mind I had already pictured pounding them further into oblivion for schnitzel for the upcoming week. And even if they were the ugliest pieces of protein ever – it was $1.35 for the pound… that’s a 34 cent portion cost! BargainBargainBargain!

Schnitzelene…
Alas, on the appointed schnitzel day, no bread crumbs.. no schmancy panko, not even a crumb of stale bread. I ended up dredging them in egg and flour and made a stunning mushroom sauce for them.
… I still pounded the bejeezus out of them just for fun.

Pork Cutlets with Mushroom Sauce
Serves 2 to 4
Ingredients
Pork:
4 – 4 Ounce Boneless Pork Cutlets
3/4 Cup Rice Flour
1 Egg – Beaten
1/4 Cup Oil
Sauce:
1 Pound Button Mushrooms – sliced
2 Cups Beef Stock (or Chicken or Vegetable… if you’re so inclined)
1/2 Cup White Wine
1 Tablespoon Parsley – Minced
1 Tablespoon Brined Black Peppercorns (I brine my own – check at the bottom for the How To)
1 Clove Garlic – Mashed into a Paste
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil mixed with 1 Tablespoon Flour
Kosher Salt and Pepper
Choose your instrument of destruction – Mallet / Rolling Pin / Wine Bottle
Large Zipper Bag
Large Skillet
Tongs
A Couple of Bowls
Medium Sauce Pan
For the Sauce:

  • With the sauce pan on high, add the sliced mushrooms, salt and pepper to taste and toast in the pan to remove most of the liquid. The Mushrooms will pop and squeal as the liquid evaporated on the hot surface.
  • When they begin to lightly brown on the edges, add the oil, peppercorns, and garlic and saute for a couple of minutes
  • Add the stock, wine and parsley and bring to a boil
  • Add the oil / flour slurry, reduce the heat to medium and stir, stir, stir until the sauce thickens.
  • Remove from the heat and set aside

Pounded Pork:

  • Heat the skillet and oil over medium heat
  • Place the cutlets in the zipper bag and beat until they are about 1/4″ thick
  • Remove and dredge in flour / egg / and again in the flour
  • Saute on medium until they are lightly browned on each side – about 4 minutes per side
  • Drain on paper towels and cut into 3″ planks
  • Place the planks in a deep flat serving dish and pour the sauce over the top
  • Serve with “Not” Kraut

I also realized while exploring for the elusive bread crumbs, there was no kraut…either. I did have some of my very own garden-grown cabbage languishing in the crisper, so I put it to work.


“Not” Kraut with Pears
Serves 4
Ingredients
2 Cups Shredded Cabbage
4 Strips Low Sodium Bacon – Chopped
2 Medium Pears – Diced
1/2 Cup Onion – Chopped
1/4 Cup Cider Vinegar
1 Cup White Wine
1 Teaspoon Caraway Seeds
1 Teaspoon Sugar (a tad more if your pears aren’t terribly sweet)
Salt and Pepper
Medium Sauce Pan w/ Lid

  • On medium heat, saute the bacon until its rendered and lightly crisp
  • Add the onions and cabbage and saute until the cabbage begins to wilt
  • Add the vinegar, wine, caraway seeds and sugar, cover and reduce the heat to medium low
  • Cook for 15 minutes
  • Add the pears, recover and cook another 10 minutes
Bringing peppercorns:
I’ve always liked adding whole peppercorns to soups and stews. And while I love black pepper,  that hard crack and overwhelming flood of pepperiness when you accidentally bite into one always ruins things for me.
This does not reduce the amount of flavor or heat… just adds another dimension to an already delightful ingredient
Brined Black Peppercorns
Makes 1 Pint
Ingredients
1 Cup Black Peppercorns
1 Cup Cider Vinegar
2 Cups Water
1/4 Cup Salt
2 Tablespoons Sugar
3 Bay Leaves
Pressure Cooker
Processing Jars w/Lids
  • Place all the ingredients in the pressure cooker, bring up to pressure and cook for 40 minutes
  • Carefully release the pressure and Strain out the peppercorns (RETAIN THE LIQUID)
  • Evenly divide the pepper between the containers and top off with the brining liquid
  • Seal and allow to cool.
  • The brined peppers will keep fairly well in the fridge for a month or so

3 Comments

  1. @HBGreat Question!Brining lightens and brightens the flavor of the peppercorns a bit, you get more of the peppery flavor without "so" much of the heat. I find it helpful when adding to soup or sauces where you want that hit, but you don't to add so much pepper as to make it inedible.It's typically done with green peppercorns – as they are the unripened fruit – but I've had success in using green, pink and white as well. The other bonus – you don't have to fish them out when your sauce is done.

  2. I have never heard of a brined peppercorn. What does a brined peppercorn bring to the table and how can it be used in future dishes?

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