Zagreb schnitzels in sauce | Zagrebački odrezak u saftu

I spent my Monday morning cooking with a Croatian culinary genius…aka Teta (Aunty) Olgica. Mother of three grown men, everyone that has ever tasted this recipe of hers (including said sons) love it and ask for it again, and again, and again. And when you taste it, you will understand why. It is delicious!

These kind of meaty, saucy dishes are usually from Croatia’s north, inherited from our Austro-Hungarian counterparts. And while I love a southern seafood dish, these meaty dishes are hearty, filling and just plain comforting. Unlike Croatia’s northern neighbours and former empirical overlords – Austria and Hungary – whose schnitzels are heavily crumbed, Zagreb schnitzel is lightly crumbed but served in the sauce that it’s cooked in. And you won’t find a thick piece of meat here. These cuts need to be thin and hammered within an inch of their lives. Teta also recommended to not use any ‘skirt’ pieces with the grain of the meat running across the cut. The grain needs to run along the length of the cut.

“Watch that butcher! They always try to throw in those skirt pieces, but I get them to turn each steak back and front so I can see both sides!”

Another thing, the meat needs to have as little fat as it possibly can. If it does have fat veins, these need to be cut, because if they are left uncut when the meat is fried it will curl up. And no curling allowed, these schnitzels need to be flat.

We made this recipe with a kilo of meat, of course if you use less just cut down the rest of the ingredients in proportion.

Ingredients:

  • One (1) kilo of thinly cut veal schnitzel, hammered heavily and any white veins cut
  • 50 grams plain flour
  • Half teaspoon salt
  • Half teaspoon pepper
  • Half teaspoon Vegeta
  • Half teaspoon turmeric
  • Half teaspoon mixed dried herbs
  • 60 grams butter
  • Four (4) garlic cloves
  • One cup of stock/soup, chicken, beef or vegetable
  • 300mls pure cream
  • Four (4) tablespoons parsley

Method:

  1. Combine flour, salt, pepper, Vegeta, turmeric and herbs. Coat the schnitzels on both sides and set aside.
  2. In a deep pan, heat the butter and fry the crumbed schnitzels lightly on each side until slightly golden and lay each schnitzel into a long baking dish.
  3. In the pan with the leftover butter, continue frying the butter and add the garlic. The garlic can slightly burn, but quickly add the stock/soup and simmer for about two minutes to deglaze the pan.
  4. Add the cream, parsley and simmer for about 10 minutes, scrapping the garlic and butter bits off the base of the pan. Turn off the heat and pour the sauce into the baking the dish.
  5. Cover with foil and cook on 190 degrees in a fan forced oven for 40 minutes.
  6. Serve hot!

For a serving suggestion, try the Zagreb potatoes recipe in the next post!

Let me know if you tried these schnitzels and what you thought!

Dobar Tek! Zivjeli! (Bon Appetit! Cheers and let’s live!)

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