Ornamental Separator

Pork or Veal Cutlets

Learn about this recipe from our historic foodways staff, then try it at home

This recipe is similar to a fricassee in that the meat is partially cooked and then finished in a sauce. However, par-cooking in a seasoned liquid prior to the frying and stewing adds an incredible depth of flavor and complexity using a few simple ingredients.

18th Century

Cut them from the fillet, put them in a stew pan with a piece of nice pork, a clove of garlic, a bundle of thyme and parsley, pepper and salt, cover them with water and let them stew ten or fifteen minutes, lay them on a dish, and when cold cover them well with the crumb of stale bread finely grated, mixed with the leaves of parsley chopped very small, some pepper, salt, and grated nutmeg; press these on the veal with a knife, and when a little dried, turn it and do the same to the other side; put a good quantity of lard in a pan, when it boils lay the cutlets in carefully that the crumbs may not fall, fry them a little brown, lay them on a strainer to drain off the grease, do the same with the crumbs that have fallen in the pan; while this is doing simmer the water they were boiled in to half a pint, strain it and thicken it with four ounces of butter and a little browned flour; add a gill of wine and one of mushroom catsup, put in the cutlets and crumbs, and stew till tender; add forcemeat balls.

— Randolph, Mary. “The Virginia Housewife”

21st Century


  • 4-6 pork or veal chops
  • 3 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 2-4 cups water
  • 2 cups bread crumbs
  • 3-5 sprigs of fresh thyme and parsley, plus 3 Tbsp. of fresh parsley, minced
  • Salt and pepper
  • ½ tsp. fresh nutmeg
  • Lard or vegetable oil for frying
  • ½ cup red wine
  • ½ cup Worcestershire Sauce
  • 4 oz. butter
  • 3 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 1-2 cups of stuffing from the recipe To Farce a Cabbage


  1. Combine the water, garlic, and sprigs of thyme and parsley in a sauté pan and stew for 15 to 20 minutes until the meat begins to turn grey.
  2. While the meat is stewing, combine the bread crumbs, minced herbs, salt, pepper and nutmeg in a shallow dish.
  3. When the meat is partially cooked, place the cutlets into the seasoned bread crumbs. Press them down so the crumbs adhere to the meat. Repeat for the other side. Continue to press the meat into the bread crumbs until well coated. Place the breaded meat into the refrigerator to dry while the stewing liquid is being reduced.
  4. Melt the butter in a pan on low heat, add the flour and combine into one solid mass. Set aside.
  5. Continue simmering the stewing liquid until the volume is reduced to about a cup. Strain out the particles and return the liquid to the pan and add the butter/flour mixture to thicken.
  6. Add the Worcestershire Sauce and red wine. Stir until combined and the sauce is smooth and coats the back of a spoon. Taste the sauce and correct the seasoning with salt and pepper. Cover the pan and reduce the heat to a low simmer.
  7. Fry the chilled and breaded meat in a frying pan with lard or a vegetable oil of your choice. When the cutlets are browned on both sides, place them into the simmering sauce. Cover the pan and continue to cook on moderate heat for 15 to 20 minutes.
  8. While the meat is simmering, roll the forcemeat into balls the size of a walnut. Fry them until brown. Add them to the meat as garnish.

Learn More


Historic Foodways