Schnitzels and sausages and roasts, oh my! We are salivating over Vienna’s dedication to a hearty meal over here. Now, it’s not just Vienna, but the capital city of Austria is known for being a cultural epicenter. However, we’ve been all over the country and can confirm that a Wiener Schnitzel can still be expertly made in Graz and Salzburg as well. Just what is it that makes Austrian meat so craveable?
It might be all the deep frying, but we think it’s just that Austrian recipes are no nonsense. They are simple, to the point, and highly combinable and interchangeable when it comes to mixing and matching side dishes with mains. When you walk into an Austrian restaurant, you’re going to get a family style experience at a table that you are more than likely sharing with another family or group of friends. Europe is known for its gathering around meals, and Vienna’s dining traditions are no less European than any of the rest. We recommend pairing a veal schnitzel, the true form of a Wiener Schnitzel which involves pounding the veal into wide thin cutlets and lightly frying, with sauerkraut and warm German potato salad.
Another favorite meat with endless flavor possibilities found throughout Austria is the sausage: weisswurst, currywurst, bratwurst, extrawurst — endless wursts! One sausage stands out above all the rest in our minds though. The Kasekrainer. What makes a Kasekrainer so special you might ask? If you’ve had a hotdog or a sausage ever, haven’t you tasted them all? We are here to tell you that if you have never had or heard of a Kasekrainer, your tastes buds have been missing out on the highest of Austrian delicacies. Warmed through, and often a footlong and served in a whole baguette, the Kasekrainer is an applewood smoke pork sausage that is infused with cheese. Crispy on the outside, the snap of the sausage casing breaking in your mouth releases a river of melted cheese and is often eaten as a meal on the go on a cold winter’s day. Practically the country’s national food, the Kasekrainer is an experience not to pass up no matter where you stop in Austria.
One final meaty must-have while in Austria is believe-it-or-not — fried chicken! A Viennese delicacy that was popular first among the aristocracy, Backhendl, or Austria’s version of fried chicken, is one of the country’s most popular dishes. It’s certainly not your southern fried chicken, but the appeal of the simple recipe is that, like many other Austrian recipe’s, it is versatile and can be eaten with almost any side dish. This version of fried chicken often comes with a fried chicken liver as well. You’ll find the bones in, like traditional southern fried chicken also. An atypical recommendation that comes with this fried chicken though is pairing it with a glass of dry white wine! We may just have to try that next time regardless of where the fried chicken comes from.
No matter what you go with, it’s hard to go wrong at all with Austrian food. With a heavy German influence, and a light Italian and Eastern European touch, these flavor combinations pair together like they were always meant to be.
4 boneless pork or veal chops (veal is recommended)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 cup plain bread crumbs
Vegetable oil for frying
Lemon slices for garnish
Trim meat of any unwanted fat (if desired). Lay the pork or veal chops out on a countertop between two layers of plastic wrap. Pound out chops until 1/4 inch thick. Season with salt and pepper.
Spread flour out into a shallow dish. In another shallow dish, whisk eggs together with lemon juice. In a third shallow dish, spread out bread crumbs.
Pour about 1/4 inch of vegetable oil into a large deep skillet. Bring oil to 350 degrees F.
Dredge chops into flour to coat, then immediately dip into eggs to coat, followed by bread crumbs to coat.
Place chops into the hot oil and fry 3 to 4 minutes. Work in batches if needed based on size of pan. Chops shouldn't be crowded.
Gently flip over and cook for an additional 3 to 4 minutes on the other side until chop reaches a minimum internal temperature of 145 F and is browned and crisp.
Serve hot with lemon slices.