Jaegerschnitzel is classic German comfort food, combining a pork schnitzel with a flavorful mushroom sauce. It's a delicious combination that brings back delicious childhood memories for me, and loved by all. Plus it's easier to make at home than you might think.
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My parents were always hikers and I was brought up being in the mountains a lot throughout my childhood. Thankfully, they discovered Austria and Southern Germany when I was relatively young so we went there most summers for a few weeks. The weather was much more reliable than Scotland, where I grew up, and there was the food.
I know German food can get a bit of a reputation for being heavy, which is fair to a large extent. But that doesn't mean you can't find many delicious dishes and this one is a perfect example.
What is Jaegerschnitzel?
Jaegerschnitzel (in German spelt Jägerschnitzel, also called "schnitzel nach Jäger Art") translates as "hunter's cutlet". It's a traditional German dish where either a pork or veal cutlet is topped with a mushroom sauce. These days, pork is most common, though originally it may have been venison or other game (hence the name).
The sauce itself can have a number of variations in almost all ingredients. Mushrooms and onion are in pretty much all versions, but that's about as fixed as it gets. Some make the sauce with just stock, while others add wine but that can be white or red.
Bacon is in some versions, while others would say that is all wrong. There may be cream or sour cream, tomato, thyme, paprika or parsley and the mushrooms can vary, too.
In other words, it's a typical traditional dish - no one agrees exactly what goes in it. But it's still incredibly popular for a reason: it's so comforting and delicious.
Making this dish
The way I have made the Jäger sauce here is with a mix of wine and stock, thickened with a little flour and enriched with either sour cream or cream, as you prefer (I have made it both ways). I've used crimini mushrooms but you can really use pretty much any.
I prefer to make the mushroom sauce first and set it aside while I cook the pork, as that's pretty quick. You can also make the mushroom sauce ahead of time, particularly up to where you add the cream. You can even make extra sauce up to this point and freeze it for another time.
Preparing the pork
In terms of the pork, you are looking for this pieces with minimal fat. In Germany, you would likely find ready-prepared pork schnitzel. Elsewhere you can either buy boneless pork chops, a piece of pork loin or as I had in these photos, thin cut pork loin chops.
With boneless chops or loin, you can if you prefer butterfly a thicker piece to make a large schnitzel. Or, serve each person two smaller, already thin pieces as I did here.
Some recipes make the cutlet breaded like a Wiener schnitzel, but you can also simply coat the pork with a little seasoned flour. In both cases, it's worth cooking the pork separately, rather than first in the same skillet, as it means it will be freshly crisp.
You will also want to trim down the pork of any excess fat and sinew. Basically anything that's white or shiny, it's worth removing as it can curl up and become tough when you cook it. Then pound the pork a little, whatever thickness you use, to help tenderize it.
When you cook the pork, I like to use a mix of butter and oil. While it can be tempting to minimize the fat, you want to make sure there is enough of a layer of fat to have all of the pork touch it and cook. Otherwise, some parts may burn while others don't cook.
What sides go well?
When I had Jaegerschnitsel in Germany and Austria as a child, it was always served with 'Preiselberrn' sauce - lingonberries. While the German version is less common, with Swedish meatballs becoming more popular, you may well find some in larger supermarkets.
If not, though, I found the cranberry-raspberry compote I made to go with Kaiserrschmarrn was a pretty close match in flavor. The mix of tart cranberries with sweet raspberries works really well.
Otherwise, you can kind of take your pick of typical German sides. Fried potatoes, fries, mashed potatoes or spaetzle as I have here are all good and popular options. It's good to have something to soak up the tasty sauce. Some green beans give a nice balance and burst of color, or many skip an additional veg.
However you serve it, this Jaegerschnitzel is pure comfort food. The combination of crisp breaded cutlet, earthy mushroom sauce with a lovely depth of flavor is so good. It's a delicious, hearty meal.
Try these other German/Austrian favorites:
- German pancake soup
- Schweinebraten (pork roast cooked with beer)
- Bacon onion spaetzle
- Beef Rouladen (stuffed beef rolls)
- Plus get more German recipes in the archives.
Jaegerschnitzel (schnitzel with mushroom sauce)
For mushroom (Jaeger) sauce
- 1 ½ tbsp butter 22g
- ½ onion large, or 1 small - 1 cup diced
- 10 oz crimini mushrooms 280g
- ½ cup beef stock 120ml
- ½ cup white wine 120ml
- ¼ cup heavy cream 60ml double cream or sour cream
- 1 tbsp flour
- ½ tbsp tomato paste (optional)
For pork schnitzels
- 1 lb pork loin 450g - see notes
- ¼ tsp salt approx
- ¼ tsp pepper approx
- ¼ cup flour 4tbsp (approx)
- 1 egg
- 1 cup breadcrumbs 60g, approx
- 2 tbsp butter 30g, or more as needed
- 2 tbsp sunflower oil (or vegetable/canola), or more as needed
For cranberry-raspberry sauce (optional)
- 2 tbsp raspberries
- ¼ cup cranberries 4tbsp, fresh or frozen
- 2 tbsp orange juice
- ½ tsp sugar
For mushroom sauce
- Finely dice the onion/shallot and slice the mushrooms. Add around 1tbsp (30g) butter to a medium-large wide skillet/frying pan and add the onions. Cook for around 5 minutes until they are softened.
- Add the mushrooms and the remaining butter. Cook for a couple minutes until the mushrooms soften.
- Add around ½tbsp of flour to help absorb any excess fat then add the wine and scrape any browning from the pan. Add the stock and tomato paste, if using, and bring to a gentle simmer. Simmer for around 5 minutes. Note you can make to this point ahead of time then reheat, when needed.
- Add the cream/sour cream over a low heat and mix through. Add the rest of the flour, if needed, to thicken the sauce further then set aside while you cook the pork.
- Pat dry the pork pieces and trim any fat and sinew from the edges. You want as little apart form the pork meat itself as sinew and membrane in particular can curl and/or become tough when cooked. Cover the pork with cling wrap/film and pound them each to tenderize and thin to around ¼in (½cm) or thinner. Add some salt and pepper on both sides.
- Pour some flour on one plate, breadcrumbs on another and then whisk the egg in a bowl. Take each piece of pork and dip first in the flour, coat on both sides then shake off the excess. Then dip in the egg, let excess drip off, then coat with breadcrumbs on both sides. Just sit the pork on the breadcrumbs or sprinkle over, don't press them on. Repeat with all of the pork pieces.
- Warm the butter and oil in a large skillet/frying pan over a medium-high heat and then add the pork, in batches if needed. Cook for approx 3min each side until lightly browned on both sides and cooked through. Remove the pork from the pan and drain on kitchen paper.
For cranberry-raspberry sauce (if making)
- Put the raspberries, cranberries, orange juice and sugar in a small pan over a medium-low heat. Warm until the cranberries pop and break up, around 10min. You can also make this sauce ahead of time and serve it cold.
- Serve the pork schnitzel topped with the mushroom sauce with your choice of side (potatoes, spaetzle) and lingonberries or the cranberry-raspberry sauce on the side.
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