A cooking and baking journal

A Special Saturday Lunch

12/18/10: Breaded Pork Cutlets with Harvard Beets and Mashed Potatoes

Meal details: Last Saturday I pulled together a nice menu for lunch. It included pork cutlets breaded with simple bread crumbs and egg, beets braised in beet juice, sugar, and vinegar, and home-style mashed potatoes.

Defining moments: I have never made pork cutlets before nor Harvard Beets. Entirely new to me!

Recipe sources: I had no printed recipe for the pork cutlets, I was actually told how to do these by Annemarie. She loves pork cutlets and is really the reason behind me choosing cutlets for Saturday! So I can better remember how to make them later, I will write the recipe down here.

Annemarie's Breaded Pork Cutlets
  • 8 pork cutlets
  • 1 1/2 - 2 cups canola oil
  • 3 cups plain bread crumbs (I used the Panko variety, but Annemarie typically uses the finer type)
  • 6 eggs, beaten with a fork
  • 2 teaspoons salt

Fill a large, deep skillet with 1/4" to 1/2" of oil and start heating oil on medium-low heat. Place bread crumbs and eggs in separate pie plates. Take a single pork cutlet and dredge it in the crumbs, dip it in the beaten egg, then return it to the crumbs. Make sure the cutlet has a good coating.

Check to see if the oil is at the right temperature by sprinkling some bread crumbs into the oil. If it starts to crackle and pop, the oil is ready. If it spurts up at you, it is probably too hot. Gingerly slide the cutlet into the oil, taking care not to spatter. Allow first side to brown, then flip. When second side is brown, remove cutlets to a cookie sheet lined with paper towels. Total cooking time is between 15 and 20 minutes. Do second batch, if necessary. To keep the pork cutlets warm, cover them with aluminum foil and place in a warm (200 F) oven.


The Harvard Beets recipe comes from allrecipes.com. Find it here. Our mashed potato recipe--a staple in my house--is very straightforward. Here is the simple recipe that we use:

Simple Mashed Potatoes
Servings: 8


3 pounds potatoes (about one cookie sheet worth)
1 stick butter
2 tablespoons salt


Wash potatoes and cut them into halves. We leave the skins on, we love the flavor and texture that they add. Place potatoes in a large pot and cover with 1" of water. Heat to boiling and boil until potatoes are fork tender. For us, it usually takes fifteen minutes to reach boiling point and thirty minutes to cook.

Once fork tender, drain potatoes in colander and return to pot. Mash with potato masher or use an electric, handheld blender. Stir in butter and salt.

What I learned: I am very glad to have chosen these three dishes for Saturday because I have never made them before (in the case of the cutlets and beets), or haven't made them much (speaking of the potatoes). The cutlet recipe is truly remarkable, I think, because there are no fancy ingredients evident at all. All simple, pantry staples: bread crumbs, eggs, and salt. And it isn't that hard to execute, either. May be a bit difficult the first time when coating the cutlets, but you quickly get the hang of things. And, as you will find out later in this post, the results are perhaps the true remarkable facet of this recipe!

I like the beet recipe a lot, too. Very accessible ingredients: beets, beet juice, vinegar, sugar, and cornstarch.

Since we still had some beets from our past farming season, I used them for this recipe. I boiled them until they were fork tender and I kept some of the boiling liquid (beet juice) to use for the sauce. By adding cornstarch to the beet juice, I was able to make it thick and smooth.

Any modifications? No.

How did it taste? Everyone loved the pork cutlets, they were tender, crispy, and flavorful. The mashed potatoes--a tried and true side dish--was superb once again. The beets were OK. They weren't as tender as I wanted them to be; they still had a bite to them. Now, I'm not totally sure what this was caused by. Perhaps I didn't boil them long enough? Or maybe they are past their "expiration" date? I'm not sure.

How about a 2nd time? Yes.

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