Germany may not be known for high cuisine, but the classic dishes still stand the test of time. Quintessential German dishes like this Jägerschnizel can be found in villages large & small as people dig in and find comfort in tradition. Get this on your table tonight and grab a frothy mug of beer to get your German on!
There are many things about military life that can make you want to pull your hair out. The last minute deployments; the sudden notifications that a move is on the horizon; the uncertainty about career and family decisions. But one of the great things about this military life is experiencing the vibrant cultures that we are thrust into. We were so lucky to do just that when we lived in Germany for 3 glorious years.
For me, it was a particularly grand time. See, I’m of German descent. Not just “oh, I have a little bit of German in my heritage”. My maiden name, my mother’s maiden name, and my grandmother’s maiden name all SCREAM German. And my grandfather is from a little town outside of Stuttgart. Where I grew up in Ohio, there was (still is!) a large German population, which meant that we were lucky to have traditional foods found at local markets. I grew up eating truly traditional German food, although at the time I just knew it as “food”. LOL
When we arrived in Germany, we had to find a place to live. We were lucky enough to stumble upon this flat in a little village about 20 minutes from where my husband was going to work. The apartment was perched atop a hill, and the West-facing windows and balcony provided a stunning view over the town. I thought I’d found heaven.
Our landlords were great with us, too. My husband didn’t speak a lick of German, and I spoke “high school German” (Marianne has 3 goats. Johann bought a pair of pants. Your father’s name is Gerhardt. You know, really useful everyday stuff.). They were very sweet, and were patient with my “Kinder Deutsch” (children’s German).
But one thing they DID introduce us to immediately was his large collection of hunting trophies. Their home had one room–a BIG room–that was dedicated to all manner of stuffed, mounted, and displayed wildlife. He proudly announced that “Ich bin ein Jäger!”, which means “I am a hunter!” No kidding? I couldn’t tell by the boar’s head staring at me while I signed my lease.
It’s a very proud thing in many German’s lives. They take pride in their hunting abilities, and proudly show off the fruits of their labors (or results of their efforts, if you will). They are also very clear about using that meat in every way imaginable. Sausages, steaks, stews–you name it, they use the meat in whatever way possible.
One of the very classic dishes that pays tribute to this hunting heritage is the traditional Jägerschnitzel, or Hunter’s Schnitzel. Schnitzel is generally a pork cutlet, pounded thin, breaded and pan fried. In this case, the Jäger Sauce is added. This sauce contains mushrooms sauteed with beef broth, cream, and sometimes some herbs. It’s not health food, by any stretch. But oh, is it good. Rich, flavorful, meaty, and so satisfying, you’ll be ready for an apertif of schnapps and a big ole’ nap.
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