I don’t know if any of you guys have done much digging into your family name & origins, but it is something that is a HUGE interest to me. I’ve traced my family tree back REALLY far. I’m fortunate that my family kept a LOT of papers and diaries. I’ve been able to research using sites like Ancestry to corroborate a lot of my family history that has been passed down, and fill in any gaps. One thing that I always knew growing up, was that our family was originally from Germany. My family immigrated to New York very early on, and many of my relatives remain there today! This simple connection has always left me eager to learn more about my German roots.
Earlier this year, I was fortunate enough to visit a German restaurant here in Knoxville. Linderhof Restaurant was my first real exposure to German food. I was advised by a friend about what to get beforehand. I did end up trying the jägerschnitzel with fried potatoes, and had a variety of different “salad” type options which mainly consisted of cabbage & vinegar. All of this is perfect for me because I LOVE vinegar! Before going, I didn’t even know what jägerschnitzel was. If you’re unsure, let me give you the low down. Schnitzel is the main dish. It is a type of meat (usually pork), that is pounded thin, breaded, and fried. The type of “sauce” that is served with it, describes the type of schnitzel. In this case, “jäger” sauce, is a brown mushroom gravy. Jäger actually means “hunter” in German. It is supposed to be a sauce made with ingredients that a hunter might have at his disposal. Also, don’t let me fool you into thinking that I knew any of this. My friend educated me during dinner.
Dinner at Linderhof was amazing and I highly recommend it! It also has a pretty cool atmosphere! I’ve heard from more than one person that occasionally the owner will even come out an play accordion music while people eat. You can check out their website here. It has been under construction for a while, so following them on facebook may be a better option.
So that was my first and only dabble into German cuisine….until I hit the jackpot at Aldi last week. If you were unaware, Aldi is actually a German chain, so you can find a lot of cool German food there from time to time. Last week, their freezer section had a ton of options that I had seen on the menu at Linderhof. I decided to get a box of schnitzel and a spinach & feta strudel, and plan a German dinner for myself and the little one. Later in the week, it hit me that I had failed to consider the sauce for the schnitzel. Thankfully, the box includes a simple recipe for jäger sauce if you’re in a pinch. I wanted something a bit more authentic, so I held off until I could get back to the store. During a quick trip yesterday, I acquired a lovely carton of mushrooms and I quickly decided that Jägerschnitzel was in my immediate future! For the schnitzel, I just followed the directions on the box, and fried it to a lovely golden brown. The jäger sauce I made from scratch and it turned out AMAZING! (I’ll share the recipe below) The strudel, was just an easy “pop in the oven” type side, but it was quite good too! I don’t think it would be difficult to make your own schnitzel, and I’ll probably try that next time. This was an easy “first time” experience.
Start your sauce first: It takes the longest, and allowing it to simmer a bit while you fry your schnitzel will only make it better! Start off with butter and onions. Cook until they start to brown. Then add garlic.
Add in those mushrooms and cook until the liquid from the mushrooms is gone! It smells SO GOOD!
This is what you’re looking for. Next add in your flour. We are basically making a gravy. When you add this, it will get kind of sticky- that’s normal. Let it cook for a couple minutes before adding in your beef broth, vinegar, and spices. Be sure to scrape up all those yummy brown bits on the bottom of the pan! When you add in the liquids, you’ll begin to whisk until the mixture thickens, then allow it to simmer (covered) on low.
The finished product should look something like this.
Even the tiny human was impressed! She requested the leftovers for her lunch at school tomorrow!
- Cooked schnitzel (See post)
2 Tbsp butter
- 1 yellow onion, finely chopped
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 16 oz. fresh mushrooms, cleaned and sliced (I used baby bellas)
- 4 Tbsp unsalted butter
- 4 Tbsp all purpose flour
- 2 cups beef broth
- 2 tsp balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 tsp sugar
- 1/4 tsp dried thyme
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- +/- 1-2 Tbsp of heavy cream
Melt the butter (or bacon grease this will yield the most flavor) in a pan over medium-high heat and fry the onions until beginning to brown. Add the garlic and cook another minute.
Add the mushrooms and cook 5-7 minutes or until golden and the liquid from the mushrooms has evaporated.
Add the butter and melt. Add the flour, stir to combine and cook for about 2 minutes, stirring continually.
Add the beef broth, vinegar, thyme, sugar, salt and pepper. Whisk continually until the gravy is thickened. Cover and simmer on low, stirring occasionally, for 5-10 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. If you prefer the gravy thinner add a little more water (or heavy cream if using)
Serve the schnitzel hot and covered in the jäger sauce! Enjoy!