Do you have a special tradition in your household during the Christmas season? Possibly something that’s somewhat unique to you and your family?
In my family, the big tradition is to have crab chowder on Christmas Eve. We eat it alongside many other tasty treats (like my mom’s Bacon-Wrapped Water Chestnuts), but somehow it’s the one thing that screams “Christmas”. Like, if we didn’t have chicken wings or spinach dip or brie baked with apples – all super delicious and favourites of mine – it would totally suck, but it would still feel like Christmas regardless. If we didn’t have crab chowder, though, I just don’t think I could manage.
So maybe I’m being a little overdramatic, but there are certain things that just make the holiday season what it is. That being said, Christmas traditions seem to be a very fluid thing, changing over time as new family members are brought into the fold, along with their own ideas of what Christmas means to them.
My wife, bless her soul, brought to my family a very tasty tradition of her own, which I’m very happy to embrace: eating chicken schnitzel and potato salad. Now, I haven’t attempted to make a potato salad worthy of serving her over the holidays (which is okay because she does a good job of making both schnitzel and potato salad herself), but I’ll definitely be breaking out this recipe so there’s one less dish she needs to make to celebrate Christmas the way she grew up doing it.
Chicken Schnitzel with Mushroom Cream Sauce
For the sauce:
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- 2 tbsp. butter
- 1/2 onion, finely chopped
- 1 clove Russian garlic, minced (or 2-3 regular cloves)
- 7 oz. cremini mushrooms, sliced
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 2 cups low-sodium chicken stock
- 1/2 cup whipping cream
- 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
- salt and ground black pepper to taste
For the schnitzel:
- 4-5 chicken breasts, filleted in half and pounded thin
- 1 cup bread crumbs
- 1 tsp. ground black pepper
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1/2 cup flour
- 2 eggs
- 2 tbsp. water
- vegetable oil, for frying
- In a skillet over medium heat, warm up the olive oil.
- Toss in the butter and onions, and sauté for about 4 minutes, until translucent.
- Add in the garlic and cook another minute.
- Add in the mushrooms and cook for an additional 4-5 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Sprinkle in the flour, being sure to coat the contents of the skillet evenly. Give everything a good, quick stir, so that all the flour is moistened and no dry flour remains.
- Pour in the wine, and cook another 3-4 minutes, stirring constantly, until the wine reduces down and your sauce turns into a paste.
- Pour in the chicken stock, give everything a good stir, and deglaze the skillet as well. Turn up the heat to medium-high and allow to simmer for about 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally. The sauce should thicken in this time.
- Pour in the cream and the Worcestershire sauce. Turn down the heat to medium-low and simmer about 4 minutes longer, until you achieve your desired thickness (keeping in mind it will thicken more upon standing).
- Season to taste with salt and pepper (though I recommend 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper)
- Turn down your skillet’s heat to it’s lowest setting to keep warm while you prepare your schnitzels.
- Fill a medium-sized frying pan with oil about 1 cm. thick and place over medium heat.
- Prepare three medium-sized prep bowls for breading your chicken. Add the flour to the first bowl. In the second bowl, whisk your two eggs together with the 2 tbsp. of water. In the third bowl, mix together the bread crumbs with the teaspoons of salt and pepper. Arrange these in a row beside your frying pan.
- Working in batches of two pieces, coat the chicken first in flour, then in the egg, and finally in bread crumbs. Toss in the oil and allow to cook until golden brown (about 4 minutes), flipping partway through. Tweak the heat a little in this time if you notice the chicken taking too long to brown (or too quickly). You may want to test a small piece of chicken first to ensure your oil is at the right temperature.
- Once cooked, remove to a plate lined with paper towel. While working on frying up your batches, make sure to flip your cooked chicken after resting a few minutes, so the bottoms don’t get soggy.
- Serve over mashed potatoes, spooning a healthy portion of mushroom cream sauce over-top.