Guest Post: Gluten-free Chicken "Schnitzel" by Bradley Grace

I am so excited to have my first guest post on Whole Health Happiness! I kind of have an "in" with the writer so you may see me pop up every once in a while :). 

I love regional foods. If I look back at my life thus far I would be hard pressed to find a time in my life where I wasn't obsessing over some sort of regional cuisine. As a kid growing up in Ireland it was Chinese food (which was THE cuisine in the country at the time) where my family would get all dressed up and go to our local Chinese restaurant and anxiously await the arrival of the first basket of "prawn crackers" and we would always finish with the coveted Peking duck pancakes. When I moved to the States I discovered the immense flavor explosion of a nice beef taco which sent me headfirst into a life long love affair with Mexican food. My first pirogi, heaven! Big bowl of pork ramen?... Don't even get me started!  It snowballed from there and now I make it a point of finding out what the "comida tipica" is in any given country or area I visit. I once spent a few weeks travelling through Germany and as I was on a very tight budget I found myself staring at price appropriate menus from day to day and kept seeing this crazy looking word appear over and over and over, Schnitzel. So one day, not really knowing what I was ordering, I ordered me a Schnitzel. And then the next day had it again, and then again and then I had it the next day...serious yum!

The funny thing about the Schnitzel is that there is basically a version of it in every single cuisine known to man. In Japan they call it Katsu, in Mexico it's a Milanesa and in my Mother's kitchen it always went by the nebulous moniker of "a cutlet". Maybe that's why I loved it so much. Anyway, the classic Schnitzel in Germany is most often a thinly pounded pork chop, veal chop or chicken breast (which is what I used here) dredged in flour, dipped in egg wash then coated in bread crumbs and pan fried in butter and served with lemon wedges, parsley and a nice strong mustard on the side. I have seen it, however served with curry ketchup (take a cup of good Ketchup and add to it a tablespoon of good curry powder and you're welcome...), curry sauce, dill mayo, parsley sauce etc so be creative if you want but for me a little squeeze of fresh lemon juice does the trick!

To make mine a little healthier and happier I first source the best meat I can find which sadly, depending on where you live, can be challenging.  Animal welfare and sustainable farming practices are of the utmost importance to me so I always start there. Where did this meat come from and how was it raised? I do the same for eggs (we get our eggs from a local farmer each Sunday at the farmers market). For this dish I found locally raised, pastured chicken from a local butcher. To "lighten" the dish up a bit also I opted for gluten-free panko bread crumbs and used olive oil to fry up the schnitzel in place of butter. Making small adjustments like this to any recipe can always help bring it more in line with a healthier lifestyle.  ~Bradley Grace

What you need: (Serves 4)

4 organic pasture-raised chicken breasts pounded to about 1/8 inches (your butcher can do this for you too)

1 cup organic non bleached AP flour OR to make gluten-free coconut flour or almond flour

2-3 large pasture-raised eggs whisked together with 2 tbsp of dijon mustard

4 cups panko style breadcrumbs (I really Like Ian's Natural foods brand. It's also Gluten-free... Whole Foods carries it)

Salt and Pepper to taste

Olive Oil - enough to pool a little bit in the bottom of your skillet (1/8 inch or so)

Parsley - Fresh chopped (garnish)

4 Lemon wedges (garnish)


How to make:

Set up a breading station. Line up 3 large bowls and put the flour in the first, the egg-wash in the second and the panko in the third. Season your chicken breasts with salt and pepper on both sides. Get your pan hot over MEDIUM heat (<<<very important step otherwise the panko will burn and you'll have burnt to a crisp on the outside, raw on the inside, not very good Schnitzel). Using one hand dredge your first piece of chicken in the flour and shake off the excess then dip it in the egg-wash so it is completely covered then transfer it to the breadcrumb bowl and completely coat. repeat as necessary. Transfer the chicken breasts 2 at a time to your skillet (more than to will lower the heat in your pan and you'll get soggy Schnitzel... don't make soggy Schnitzel) and let them gently brown checking them regularly. When one side is golden brown then gently flip them and brown them on the other side. When they're done, place them on a plate lined with paper towels or a cooling rack for about 5 minutes then serve them up with the parsley and lemon garnish. We served ours with roasted beets, mushrooms and fresh arugula tossed in lemon juice and a little bit of olive oil. Fresh and delicious. Enjoy!