Pork Schnitzel and Horseradish Cheddar Rye Waffle Sandwich

This whole #summerofsandwiches thing isn’t really pre-planned much. Outside of research on various kinds of sandwiches, the details are either figured out the day I cook and blog it or within a few days.

I knew this week that I wanted to do a waffle sandwich idea. I didn’t wanna do anything “breakfasty” like bacon and eggs or the soul food favourite chicken and waffles. I saw that I had a beautiful pork loin in my freezer and knew then what the combination would be: a schnitzel and rye waffle. The details started to come together this morning when I saw that I had a bit of horseradish cheddar in my fridge. And literally at the last minute of preparing today’s meal, I thought, “How about some wilted greens as a base?”

I was rendering the trimmed pork fat from the pork chops and decided to use that instead of bacon in the greens and the whole idea came together largely in the last 8 hours or so.

When one of the farmers at the farmer’s market asks me, “What am I going to do with (name ingredient)?” I end up saying, “Not sure, I figure things out at the time I’m cooking or just before.”

I like to think of it as a punk rock approach to the kitchen. No rules. Fly by the seat of my pants. Oftentimes chaotic. But it’s all a crazy adventure in the end. Enjoy!!

Pork Schnitzel and Horseradish Cheddar Rye Waffle Sandwich

For the Horseradish Cheddar Rye Waffles:

1/2 cup rye flour

2/3 cup spelt flour

1 Tbsp raw cane sugar

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp caraway seeds

75g/3 oz horseradish cheddar (or the same volume of aged white cheddar with 2 tsp grated fresh horseradish)

1 cup buttermilk

3 tsp oil

1 large egg

   In a large bowl, combine the rye flour, spelt flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, caraway seeds and cheddar. Add the buttermilk, oil and egg. Beat the egg in the middle of everything and gradually work all of the ingredients together.

   Preheat waffle maker. Lightly grease it with vegetable oil spray or a bit of butter. Today I used my waffle stick maker. Ladle 3 Tbsp portions into the waffle sticks and cook for 3 minutes. A square waffle maker would require about 3/4 cup portions in each square. My waffle stick maker made 14-16 waffle sticks (I always mess up the first load and add too much batter and have “waffle runoff”).

Mmmmm Waffle Runoff….

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A square waffle maker makes 8 waffles. Set aside and keep warm.

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For the Pork Schnitzel:

2-150g/6 oz pork loin chops, fat trimmed (reserve fat trimmings for later)

1/2 cup spelt flour (or regular all purpose flour)

1 large egg + 4 Tbsp water

1 cup dried breadcrumbs

1 Tbsp garlic powder

1 tsp sweet Hungarian paprika

Oil for shallow frying

   Lay a pork chop on a large sheet of parchment paper.

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Fold over the parchment over the pork chop and pound it with a mallet or rolling pin until it’s 1/2 cm (1/4″) thick and a little more than double the overall size.

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Cut the pounded chop into thirds.

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Repeat with the other pork chop.

   In one small bowl, add the flour. In another bowl, add the egg and water beaten together until smooth. In a third bowl, add the breadcrumbs, garlic powder and paprika and blend together. Dredge the pounded pork chop pieces one at a time in the flour (using one hand), then into the egg mixture (with the other hand), and then into the breadcrumb mixture with the dry hand you used to dredge into the flour (This prevents club fingers!!). Press the breading into the chop firmly to ensure an even coating. Lay on a large plate to allow the breading to firm up by leaving it for at least 30 minutes.(At this point you can start rendering the pork fat on the back burner, if you’re doing it). 

   To fry, add enough oil in a large pan to cover the bottom with a depth of about 1/2 cm (1/4″). Heat over medium heat until the oil smoulders. Add a fresh piece of parsley to determine if it’s ready to fry. If the leaf sizzles pretty much immediately, it’s ready. Lay the breaded chops two at a time in the pan and fry for about 90 seconds per side. Remove from the pan and drain away the excess oil on paper towels. Repeat with remaining breaded pork chops. Set aside and keep warm.

For the Pork Cracklin Greens:

1-1/2 cups pork fat trimmed from pork chops (I trimmed a 1 kg/2lb loin of fat and got about that much) (you could just use 4 or 5 slices of bacon if you’d rather not render down the pork fat), chopped finely

2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped

4 cups beet greens (or radish greens, kale or spinach), cut into rough strips

2 tsp prepared mustard (I used a homemade grainy mustard)

   In a large pan over medium low heat, add the pork fat. Occasionally stir the pork as the fat renders and the cracklins brown. It’ll take upwards of 45-60 minutes. Drain away all but 2 tsp of the fat. (If you’re using bacon, fry it until golden brown, drain away all but 2 tsp of fat and continue).

   Add the garlic and increase the heat to medium. As the garlic softens, becomes aromatic but not browning, add the beet greens and mustard. Stir together to combine. Add a few tablespoons of water, turn the heat back down to medium low, cover with a lid and simmer for 5-7 minutes until the greens have wilted. Set aside.

   To assemble, lay about 1/2 cup of the prepared Pork Cracklin Greens on a plate. Place a Horseradish Cheddar Rye Waffle in the centre of the greens. Add one Pork Schnitzel strip if you made waffle sticks. Add two if you made a square waffle. Top with another waffle. Repeat with remaining waffles, schnitzel and greens. Serves 4.

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