It’s that time of year again! Time to break out all of the comfort food recipes! Around here, we’ve finally been feeling sweet relief from the blazing summer heat, and are in full fall swing, enjoying as many activities as we can before the snow and blustery cold make their way to these mountains. We still have our chores, but the garden is winding down, and most of the preserving is done, so now it’s time for some fun – pumpkin carving, hayrides, and fall festivals (yeah, we’re really corny like that).
It’s safe to say that in our house, cold salads and similar lighter fare will not be on the menu for a while. We’ve all been blissing out on hot apple cider, cider doughnuts, all manner of pumpkin treats, and loads and loads of comfort food. When the frost is on the pumpkin, so to speak, it seems only natural to crave and nourish ourselves with some heartier fare – like this Chicken Schnitzel with Mushroom Cider Gravy.
If you aren’t familiar with schnitzel, it’s basically an Austrian or German version of a breaded and fried cutlet of meat. Typically, it’s veal or pork, but chicken can also be used. There are several different types of schnitzel, but this recipe is inspired by the traditional Jägerschnitzel, which translates to Hunter Schnitzel with Mushroom Sauce. My version is much like the original version, but since I’m currently digging the autumn vibes, I change it up a bit with the addition of hard apple cider to the gravy.
And while you can use regular apple cider instead of the hard stuff, be aware that the end result will be a much sweeter gravy. And note that the recipe calls for a dark, rich stock to be used in the gravy. So while this is a chicken recipe, I don’t recommend using a light chicken broth here because it really needs something darker in color with a richer flavor. As strange as it may seem, I prefer using beef or roasted vegetable stock (store-bought or homemade) to make the gravy. Mushroom stock or broth would work, too.
Serve the chicken with a generous amount of gravy. It’s perfect with a lemon wedge for garnish and a side of red cabbage and some boiled potatoes or egg noodles. I hope you enjoy!
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6 skinless, boneless chicken cutlets, pounded to 1/4″ thickness
Salt and pepper
Oil for pan-frying
For the Mushroom Cider Gravy:
4 tablespoons butter, divided
2 tablespoon olive oil or avocado oil
1 small onion, finely diced
16 ounces button or cremini mushrooms, cleaned, stems removed and sliced
2 fat cloves garlic, minced
¼ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup hard apple cider
1 1/2 cup dark, rich stock (beef, vegetable or roasted chicken)
2–3 sprigs fresh thyme
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Salt and pepper
For the Chicken Schnitzel:
Heat oven to 250°F
In a large, shallow bowl (I use a pie pan) add flour, and season with a generous pinch of salt and pepper. In a second bowl, whisk eggs together with 2 tablespoons water. In third bowl, combine bread crumbs and smoked paprika.
Season both sides of chicken cutlets with salt and pepper.
Dredge chicken cutlet in flour, shaking off any excess. Dip cutlet into eggs and then into bread crumbs, shaking off excess. Place on a clean plate. Repeat with the remaining cutlets.
Heat a thin layer of oil (⅛ inch) to shimmering, but not smoking, in a large cast iron skillet (or other heavy pan).
Cook the cutlets for 3-4 minutes on each side, or until golden brown and cooked through. Remove cutlets to oven-safe platter, and place in heated oven while you prepare the pan sauce.
For the Mushroom Cider Gravy:
In the same skillet you used for the chicken cutlets, heat 2 tablespoons of butter and 2 tablespoons oil over medium-low heat.
When butter is melted, add onions, and cook for 4-5 minutes, or until beginning to soften and turn golden. Add mushrooms, season with a generous pinch of salt and pepper, and cook until mushrooms are reduced and their liquid is released.
Add garlic and cook for 1 additional minute.
Stir in flour and cook for another minute.
Add cider, stock, thyme and Dijon mustard. Whisk until smooth. Bring to a boil, stirring continuously while scraping any bits from the bottom of the pan. Reduce to a simmer and allow to simmer for 10 minutes, or until reduced to desired consistency.
Remove gravy from heat. Stir in remaining 2 tablespoons butter. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Serve gravy with warm chicken cutlets.
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