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I’ve got about 4 years’ worth of Cook’s Illustrated magazines on hand, most of which I’ve read cover-to-cover, none of which I’ve actually cooked out of. I never really had that kind of time, and I’m also never one to go out and buy ingredients just for a recipe – I buy what’s on sale at the store and then figure out what to do with it later.

Well, now I’ve got nothing but time on my hands. In between job searching, obsessively cleaning, and feeding all the neighborhood cats, I do at least have the opportunity to really try some of these recipes, and try to get them right (in a gluten-free kind of way).

The first one I picked up (January 2009) had a nice two-page spread on Breaded Pork Cutlets, or Pork Schnitzel. I used to be intimidated by breaded and fried foods, because how could that possibly ever taste/work like the gluten-containing thing when you convert it?? But it’s really not that bad, or expensive, when you just use gluten-free cereal.

The whole purpose of this particular recipe was a little lost on me, since finding the perfect way to quickly “stale” bread crumbs isn’t something I need to do. I just planned on using corn cereal (sorry Keith). But, I did stick with the cooking technique of shaking the dutch oven while frying, to continuously slosh the oil on top of the cutlets, cooking quickly and evenly. It totally worked, and it was AMAZING. And it really wasn’t all that difficult. I took my time with it, since I was in no rush, but this is an easily manageable dish. Now, I can’t wait to see what else I can convert to gluten-free from my Cook’s Illustrated magazines!

Pork Schnitzel with Braised Kale

Pork Schnitzel with Braised Kale

3 cups gluten-free corn cereal, processed into crumbs (you’ll need close to 1 cup)
1/2 cup of gluten-free flour blend (1/3 cup rice flour, 2 tablespoons potato starch, 1 tablespoon tapioca starch)
2 medium eggs (original calls for large, I used medium and still had extra left over)
1 tablespoon of vegetable oil (for cutlets)
2 cups of vegetable oil (for frying) ((I know it seems like a lot, but you need a full inch of oil in your pot/pan to do this properly))
1 lb of pork tenderloin, trimmed of fat
Salt and pepper

Clean up your tenderloin(s) and cut in half or quarters, depending on how big they are, crank up the jams and hammer away at those suckers (that’s what I did anyways). You want pieces small enough to fit easily in your pot, preferably so you can fit two at a time, and no more than a quarter of an inch thick.

Pork Schnitzel

I found it easier to thin out a larger piece and then to cut it in half, but whatever works for you. Season both sides of each flattened cutlet generously with salt and pepper.

Arrange three shallow bowls as follows: one with the flour, one with the “bread” crumbs, and one with the eggs and tablespoon of oil (whisked).

Other prep: Have a cooling rack ready over a sheet pan, and another sheet pan or large plate covered in paper towels.

Pork Schnitzel

Tip: I try not to put all the called for flour or breading into the plate at once, I do about half and then add more as needed. This way you don’t waste quite as much, since it’s all donezo once the raw meat hits it.

Heat your oil in a dutch oven or deep pot, something that will protect you from splashing oil, to 375 degrees (drop some of the “breading” in there and when it browns it’s ready).

Dredge each cutlet in the flour first, then the egg mixture, then the “breading,” being sure to shake off the excess after each step. Place on the cooling rack, to let the coating dry and to wait for the oil to heat up so you can cook them all at once.

Pork Schnitzel

When ready, place two cutlets in the oil side by side and begin to gently shake the pot/pan back and forth, sloshing the oil around, for 1 to 2 minutes PER SIDE (I forgot to flip some of mine), until each side is golden brown. Something about helping the egg to set faster and enhancing the “puff.” It works.

Pork Schnitzel

See how the coating pulls away from the pork and creates little bubbles? My first two turned out a little flatter, I think the oil was too hot and it just cooked too fast, but once I adjusted the rest of my cutlets really puffed up.

Pork Schnitzel

Once browned, remove with a slotted spoon or tongs to the paper towel-lined plate, being sure to blot the oil on top as well.

And the best part is they really don’t soak up too much oil so they aren’t greasy at all! And since the oil was pretty clean I was able to save that as well.

Pork Schnitzel with Braised Kale

I served with braised kale, some veggies to make up for fried. They totally cancelled each other out, so I had ice cream and poached plums for dessert, which also cancelled each other out, so I did pretty good for the day. 😛

What do you think, worth a try?