Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Why do you keep busting my chops?

My husband LOVES pork! He loves bacon, (me, too), he loves pork shoulder, (me, too), he loves pork roasts, (me, too), but boneless center-cut loin chops, (not so much). However, when these lean as cardboard chops are on sale, he ALWAYS brings them home. Although I applaud his frugality, I can't help but sigh. This is perhaps one of the most difficult cuts of any meat to cook successfully, thanks to "advancements" in breeding to produce a super-lean meat. I've tried brining, stuffing, braising, and searing, but no matter what, I'm always left disappointed. 

There is only one way to keep my sanity: "schnitzel" to the rescue! By pounding the meat, (tenderizing it), breading it, (sealing in moisture), and a quick fry on the stove, (preventing overcooking), you come out with a delicious and versatile entree. Try my "Pork Schnitzel Sandwich with Hot Chili Mayo." It's easy and quite tasty, perfect for a casual meal with family and friends. So fine, keep busting my chops! I can handle it!

Pork Schnitzel Sandwich with Hot Chili Mayo

Makes 8, (great leftover for lunch the next day!)


For the hot chili mayo
2/3 cup mayonnaise
2 green onions, finely chopped
1 tablespoon hot chili garlic sauce or hot chili sauce (e.g., sriracha)

For the schnitzel
4 boneless, pork center-cut loin chops
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup all-purpose flour, or more if needed
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup Panko bread crumbs, or more if needed
Canola oil, for frying

For the sandwich
8 Kaiser sandwich buns, toasted
1 head Iceberg lettuce, shredded
2 ripe, juicy tomatoes, sliced
1 onion, sliced into rings (red onion would look nice, but I didn't have any)
Pickles, optional


For the hot chili mayo
Stir all the ingredients in a small bowl. Season with 1/8 teaspoon salt. Cover and chill.

For the schnitzel
Place one pork chop on a cutting board. Cut away any fat from around the edges. With a sharp knife, place one hand on top of the chop and carefully cut the chop in half, horizontally.

Set one of the cut chops aside. Cover the remaining chop with a piece of plastic wrap, and pound with a meat mallet or rolling pin, until a uniform thickness of about 1/4-1/2" thickness. 

Repeat with the remaining chops.

Prepare the Panko breading by setting up a breading station. Place flour on a plate or shallow bowl, beaten eggs in a shallow bowl, and then the Panko on another plate or shallow bowl.

Season the chops with salt and pepper. Now dredge each chop first in the flour, then the egg, and then the Panko, shaking off any excess after each step. Place the breaded chops on a cookie sheet and refrigerate, uncovered, for at least 10-20 minutes. (This ensures the breading will not fall off when cooking.)

In a large skillet, (I like non-stick), heat about 1/4 inch or so of the oil to about 350 degrees over medium to medium-high heat until the oil looks shimmery. I actually don't check the temperature. Instead, I drop a small piece of bread (usually taken from the end of a loaf) to see if it starts to bubble around the bread. Cook the chops about 3-5 minutes on each side, or until golden brown. Transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate, tray, or cookie sheet. Repeat with the remaining chops. You can keep them warm in a 200 degree oven until ready to serve.

To plate
Generously spread some hot chili mayo over the top and bottom of the bun. Top with a pork schnitzel, a handful of the lettuce, a nice slice of tomato, a few rings of onion, and a couple pickles (optional). Top with the top bun and dig-in!

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