Tom Schultheis-- one of our writer's talented fathers-- has taken up a new favorite hobby in his retirement: cooking. He's not short on recipes, but this Jägerschnitzel is one of the crowd favorites. Read more about one of his favorite recipes and how it connects him with his heritage.
I always felt a kind of hazy, intangible connection to all things German, even as a child. This might be because of my German great-grandfather who passed long before I was born. I later discovered that a number of traditions in my family, particularly during holidays, found roots in German traditions. Model trains, for instance, that puffed real smoke and wound their way through elaborate miniature villages. They only appeared for a few weeks at Christmastime and returned to their home in the attic for the rest of the year. Even working-class German families like mine had model trains during the holidays.
Well into my middle-age years, when I accepted a job in Stuttgart and moved my family to Germany, the connection felt much more palpable. It felt almost as if I hadn’t left home, but rather that I came home. There was a simplicity and orderliness to German life that really suited me, as well as a strong focus on the family and traditional values. The holiday celebrations, particularly Christmas, were magical. To my surprise, I loved the food. With the possible exception of beer, in my opinion, we in America decidedly under-appreciated German food.
During our years in Germany, we ate a lot of German food. My favorite dish, a rather iconic one, was the schnitzel. A simple cutlet usually pounded out with a tenderizer mallet, then breaded and fried. The cutlet itself can be made using chicken, beef, or veal--which is known as “wiener schnitzel” because it originated in Wien, the German name for Vienna. In southern Germany, where we lived, schnitzel usually involved pork.
Jägerschnitzel, a common variation on the pork cutlet (a.k.a. “schweinschnitzel”--an entrée that we all thought to be as much fun to say as it was to eat), literally translates as a “hunter cutlet.” A schwein schnitzel covered with a mushroom sauce or gravy, when properly prepared, is delicious. The mushroom sauce can be served over the traditional fried Schwein schnitzel (now wasn’t that fun to say again?) or over a baked or grilled pork chop if that’s what you prefer.
I will leave you with a recipe for pan-fried schnitzel and the amazing sauce. The rest is up to you. The perfect sides to complement the Jägerschnitzel include potatoes (boiled red potatoes, mashed potatoes, or french fries) and, of course, sauerkraut. Jawohl! (yes sir!)
Delicious German comfort food
butter (unsalted )
half-and-half (or heavy cream)
half-and-half (or heavy cream)
fresh parsley (chopped)
salt and pepper (to taste)
Vegetable oil or shortening for frying (should cover at least half way through the thickness of the meat in the pan)
boneless pork chops (cut thin)
large eggs (lightly beaten)
Heat the butter in a skillet over medium heat
Add the onion and sauté until translucent
Place the sliced mushrooms in the pan and brown for about 5 minutes, stirring 2 or 3 times
Pour in the broth and the white wine, and cook for about 5 minutes.
Add 1/2 cup of the half-and-half or cream. Bring the mixture to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for about 3 minutes.
In a small separate bowl, mix the remaining 2 tablespoons of half and half with the 2 tablespoons of flour (making a slurry, or roux).
Add the roux to the mushroom mixture and bring it again to a boil, stirring to avoid lumps.
Add the chopped parsley and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Turn off the heat and cover the pan to keep the sauce warm while the pork cutlets are cooking.
Place a pork chop in a freezer bag and pound it until it is 1/2 inch thick or less. Remove it and lightly salt and pepper. Repeat for the remaining chops.
Place the flour mixture, beaten egg, and bread crumbs in 3 separate bowls.
Dredge the pork chops first in the flour, then in the egg, and then the bread crumbs, coating the entire outside of the chop.
Heat the oil or shortening in a large frying pan to about 330 degrees F, using enough to cover at least 3/4 of the thickness of the chop. In frying, if the temperature is too hot the schnitzel will burn on the outside before the meat is done in the middle, and if not hot enough the schnitzel will be greasy and lose the crispy outside coating. I set the dial on my stove to a notch or two above medium heat.
Fry the schnitzel for 3-4 minutes on each side. The outside should be a deep golden brown color. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels.
This Jägerschnitzel recipe by Tom Schultheis is making our stomachs rumble, and making us want to take a trip to Germany! Try it out and let us know what you think. Check out more of our recipes, including this yummy creamy coconut lentil soup.