Sunday, 13 February 2011

Valentine's Dinner for One: Pork Schnitzel with Braised Savoy Cabbage and Potato Salad

Tomorrow is St Valentine's Day, which is widely celebrated around Planet Earth. It is a time when people try to be with that special person who means most to them and very often sharing a romantic Valentine's meal together will form a big part of the occasion. I didn't think I was going to have time to prepare a Valentine's Day feature for the blog this year but when I hit on this idea, I knew I had to make the time.

I decided to dedicate this post to those who are spending St Valentine's Day alone this year, especially where this is not through choice. This may be as a result of recent bereavement, the end of a relationship or marriage, or perhaps the fact that distance separates loved ones through unavoidable circumstance, with those serving in our Armed Forces around the world and their loved ones being the obvious consideration. Today's post is therefore dedicated to encouraging all who are spending Valentine's Day alone in 2011 not to dwell on the fact but to prepare themselves a special meal and enjoy the food...along with a glass of wine or two! The particular recipe is not important - the act of taking the time to prepare something is! It is, after all, simply another day but if you are in this situation and not feeling too good about it, you may find the article linked to below of some use.

Tips on How to Survive Valentine's Day Alone

Okay, on with the recipe. Schnitzel is an Austrian dish, most commonly made with veal, as in the case of the world famous Wiener Schnitzel (Viennese Schnitzel). Schnitzel is also made, however, with a number of other meats, particularly in Germany. Pork is one of those meats which is commonly used and the one I have elected to use on this occasion. Frequently, German schnitzels can be larger than the average dinner plate and I have tackled a great many in Germany which I knew beforehand I would never be capable of finishing. This, however, is a recipe for a schnitzel of more moderate size.


6oz leg of pork steak
2 medium potatoes
4 savoy cabbage leaves
1/2 small white onion
1 tbsp canned sweetcorn with peppers
2 tbsp low fat mayonnaise
1 clove of garlic
6 fresh mint leaves
2 slices of bread
1 egg
Pinch of dried sage
Salt, white pepper and black pepper
Sunflower oil for frying
Fresh lemon wedge for garnishing


The potato salad will require to be prepared first. The potatoes should be peeled and diced. The size of the dice depends upon your own preference but in this instance I went for just under half an inch. The diced potatoes should then be placed in to a pot of cold, lightly salted water and on to a high heat until the water begins to boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for five minutes only.

The potato pieces should by know be fairly soft. Take one out with a spoon, let it cool and taste to ensure this is the case. Drain the potatoes through a colander and plunge them in to a bowl of cold water to quickly cool them. After a couple of minutes, drain again, add them to a large plastic lidded dish and refrigerate for half an hour. Cooling them like this will serve to help prevent them breaking up in the mayonnaise.

Mix the potatoes with the tablespoon of sweetcorn and peppers in a mixing bowl. The remaining sweetcorn and peppers will keep refrigerated in a plastic dish for a couple of days, to be later used as desired. Peel and grate the garlic clove in to the bowl. Add the mayonnaise and the roughly chopped mint leaves, season with salt and white pepper, stir carefully but well and cover with clingfilm. Refrigerate again while the remainder of the meal is prepared.

The two slices of bread should be made in to breadcrumbs and spread evenly on a dinner plate. The egg should be broken in to a wide bottomed bowl and beaten.

The pork leg fillet will require to be pounded and flattened. Ideally, a meat mallet should be used for this purpose but a simple rolling pin will suffice. One top tip here is to not beat the unprotected meat. Instead, lay a large sheet of clingfilm on a chopping board and the pork fillet on top. Season the fillet at this time with salt and black pepper. Cover with another large sheet of clingfilm. Pounding tender meat like pork or chicken in this way helps it keep its form and not disintegrate. Remember also to pound it lightly - it is not a tough and thick beef steak!

Your pork pounded, you should add a generous amount of sunflower oil to a large, non-stick frying pan. At least a couple of tablespoons. Put it on to a medium heat and draw your pork through the egg, then the breadcrumbs and - very importantly - repeat. Doing this twice will ensure a thick and even coating. Place the breaded pork fillet carefully in to the frying pan. It will take around five minutes each side to cook, leaving a beautifully golden, crisp coating finish.

Roughly shred the savoy cabbage leaves and slice the white onion. Add around a tablespoon of sunflower oil to a medium sized pot, heat and add the savoy cabbage and onion. Season with salt, freshly ground black pepper and the pinch of dried sage. Cook over a medium heat, stirring frequently, until the pork schnitzel is ready.

It then remains simply to plate your pork shnitzel, stir fried cabbage and potato salad and garnish with the lemon wedge. The lemon should be squeezed over the schnitzel immediately prior to eating.

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