Sunday, January 16, 2011

Scrumptious Schnitzel

I've been trying, both pre-New Year and post, to really take stock of what I eat and reflect on how I could make it healthier.  Regardless, I had a breaded chicken craving that simply needed to be addressed a few weekends ago.  How to accomplish this?  Though I might not be militant when it comes to adhering to a low fat, high fibre diet, I know enough to avoid the dangers of KFC or similar fried chicken outlets.  All I have to do is remember the cloudy, peachy-pink tinged blood plasma of a particularly portly gentleman I met at Canadian Blood Services to know how instantly harmful it can be... seeing pretty much pure lipid coming out of this guy's arm has been enough to ensure that I haven't eaten from there since.

Luckily, I opened my G.I. Diet cookbook and found that yes, you can have fried and breaded chicken and still be healthy about it, by way of their chicken schnitzel.  Now, let's face it... I don't have a German bone in my body.  As such, I don't think I'd ever had a "traditional" schnitzel before, so I have no idea if I was "missing out" by making a G.I.-friendly version.  It featured a higher-fibre breading made from wheat bran, whole wheat breadcrumbs, and omega-3 eggs, not too much oil for frying, and a fresh apricot-and-green-onion based sauce for the top.  Sounded delicious enough, so I busted out my new rolling pin (thanks again, Kimmi!) and bashed away at a helpless boneless skinless cut of chicken to see how things would turn out.

Schnitzel, frying away, with breading station in the background.  Sometimes I wonder if my neighbors can hear me pounding out meat... and if so, what do they imagine is going on in my apartment?
Finished product, with a salad alongside.

You just knew my post wouldn't be complete without a closeup, right?

Chicken Schnitzel
Adapted from "The G.I. Diet Clinic" by Rick Gallop
Serves 1 (just me... multiply as necessary for multiple people.  
And you thought math class was a waste of time!)
  •  1 boneless skinless chicken breast
  • 1/8 cup whole wheat flour
  • Pinch each salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 omega 3 egg
  • 1/8 cup wheat bran
  • 1 Tbsp wheat germ
  • 1 Tbsp dry Italian breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 tsp grated orange zest
  • 1 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/8 cup fresh orange juice*
  • 1/8 cup chicken stock (low fat, low sodium)
  • 1/8 cup thinly sliced dried apricots
  • 1 chopped green onion
  1. Using meat mallet or rolling pin, pound chicken breast between 2 pieces of plastic wrap until about 1/4 inch thick.
  2. In large, shallow dish or pie plate, combine flour, salt and pepper.  In another plate, whisk eggs.  In third dish or pie plate, combine bran, wheat germ, breadcrumbs, and orange zest
  3. Pat chicken dry and dredge in flour mixture, shaking off excess.  Dip in egg, letting excess drip off, then dredge in bran mixture, coating completely.
  4. In large non-stick frying pan, heat oil over medium-high heat.  Fry chicken for 4 minutes per side or until golden brown and just cooked through.  Transfer schnitzel to platter and place in 200ºF oven to keep warm.
  5. In same frying pan, combine orange juice, stock, and apricots.  Bring to boil and reduce until slightly thickened and syrupy, about 3 minutes.  Stir in green onion.  Pour sauce over schnitzel.
*One of the paradoxes of the G.I. Diet is that they discourage you from drinking orange juice... yet they include it as an ingredient in various recipes.  I avoid this conundrum by freshly juicing a real orange (you need one anyway for the zest, right??)
Unwritten direction: Do not share with greedy, misbehaving cats.  I like to think she's saying, "Oh, what's that over there, mom?" in an effort to distract me and pilfer my chicken.
Overall, I was pretty pleased with the schnitzel itself... though I wasn't as huge a fan of the apricot/orange/green onion sauce (mostly due to the apricot texture; the flavour was nice).  I might try to adapt the sauce by puréeing... or swap it out entirely for some G.I.-diet friendly tomato sauce (read: no sugar added.  Try to find a jarred pasta sauce without added sugar; it's HARD!).  I could see this atop a modest serving of whole wheat pasta, with a bit of low fat mozzarella sprinkled on top... clearly, the Italian heritage is asserting itself over this twist on classic German fare.  Ah well.  I did really enjoy the healthy "breading", so I could see myself using this to make chicken fingers, too (even if that meant dipping them in the unhealthy-but-delicious Manitoba classic, honey dill sauce).

Looking forward to using my new meat mallet (thanks again, cuz!) to pound my way to more breaded chicken goodness,


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