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Classic Jaeger Schnitzel

jaeger schnitzel recipe

Photo by Holly A. Heyser

Jaeger schnitzel means “hunter’s cutlets” in German, and the dish was originally made with venison or wild boar backstrap, pounded thin. It is now normally made with pork, and the Texas specialty chicken fried steak is believed to be an outgrowth of this dish brought to the USA by German immigrants.

Jaeger schnitzel at its core is a thin cutlet of meat served with a mushroom gravy. Potatoes — boiled, mashed or in a salad — are a traditional side dish. It is a manly meal, and the only green thing allowed is, occasionally, parsley.

This is an ideal recipe for venison backstrap, but it will be just as great with wild boar medallions, wild duck breast — and venison heart. Yes, venison heart. You open up the heart like a book and trim away any vein-y stuff, then pound the heart thin the same way you would with any other meat. It is absolutely delicious. Try it sometime. You’ll thank me later.

Traditionally you would not flour or bread a cutlet for jaeger schnitzel, but sometimes I like a light coating of flour. Do not bread it, though. That’s wiener schnitzel, or milanese. Both are good, just different.

What mushrooms to use? Historically you would use regular button mushrooms plus chanterelles. I say use anything you want, but use a variety of mushrooms. I like those “chef’s sampler” packs you can get in the store.

This is a great dish to have memorized, as it is perfect for a cold night in camp after hunting.

Serves 4

  • 4 venison or wild boar medallions, duck breasts, or 2 venison hearts
  • Salt
  • 1 to 1 1/2 pounds mixed fresh mushrooms, cleaned and roughly chopped
  • 1/2 yellow onion, roughly chopped
  • 5 tablespoons bacon fat, lard or butter, divided
  • Flour for dusting (optional)
  •  2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup venison, duck or beef stock
  • 2-4 tablespoons cream
  • Black pepper to taste


  1. If you are using venison hearts, cut them open from top to bottom and trim off any fat or vein-y bits. Trim any excess meat so the heart lays more or less flat.
  2. Place the heart — or venison or boar medallion, or duck breast — between two pieces of plastic wrap and pound until the meat is about 1/4 inch thick. Do this firmly, but don’t wail on the meat or you will tear it. Trim the cutlets to an even shape if you want.
  3. Pour the stock into a small pot and bring to a simmer.
  4. Set a large saute pan over high heat for 1 minute, then add the mushrooms to the hot, dry pan. Shake them around so they don’t stick too much and cook the mushrooms until they give up their water, about 3-4 minutes.
  5. Add 2 tablespoons of the bacon fat and onions and stir-fry them until the onions begin to brown, about 3 minutes. Remove the mushrooms and onions and set aside.
  6. Dust the cutlets in flour if you want to. Add the remaining bacon fat to the saute pan and let it heat up over medium-high heat for 1 minute. Do not let it smoke. Sear the cutlets for 90 seconds on the first side. Keep them from curling up with a spatula. Flip the cutlets and sear another 90 seconds for medium doneness. Remove the cutlets to a plate.
  7. Add the 2 tablespoons flour and mix with the fat in the pan. Turn the heat to medium and let the flour-and-fat mixture cook for 3-4 minutes, until it is the color of coffee-with-cream. Whisk in the hot stock, plus any juices that have come off the cutlets while they rest.
  8. You should have a thick gravy. If it is thin, let this boil down a minute or two. If it is really thick, turn off the heat, wait for the sauce to stop bubbling and stir in the cream. Add salt and black pepper to taste.
  9. Add the mushrooms and onions back to the pan and toss to coat in the sauce. Pour this over the cutlets and serve at once.

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7 responses to “Classic Jaeger Schnitzel”

  1. MikeW

    My favorite way to have Schnitzel. Growing up we used to make sausage every year. When butchering we’d take the “little cuts” first, save them to make Schnitzel for lunch.

  2. Thomas Deaton

    Awesome recipe, will be a Venison stand by. I should have made some for leftovers.

  3. Scott Harrell

    I made this tonight and it was very good. I was surprised how tender the venison was and the gravy was awesome. Since I am mostly a duck hunter, I will have to try with some duck breasts soon, however; it is Steak Diane for tomorrow!

  4. Kyle

    Very good recipe. I used fresh button mushrooms and re-hydrated chanterelles that I picked and dried this year. My wife hates the “idea” of eating heart, but really enjoyed the dinner. I served it with smashed skin-on potatoes and peas. This is a definite winner over my previous way of searing just venison heart cut across the grain. I like the Idea of opening it up like a book and pounding it better. Thanks! Really enjoying this site; man after my own heart. pun intended lol

  5. Erik Gray

    Made this last night. Heart cutlet for me, tenderloins for the wife and kids. HUGE hit with everyone! My only alteration was sprinkling roasted pepita nuts over top. This will be a repeat dish in our household! Keep up the great work Hank.

  6. Daniel Born

    I recently found a supplier of grass fed buffalo heart. Only 3.00 per pound! This looks like a fantastic way to utilize this meat. thanks.

  7. Hodgeman

    Very good recipe… this really shined with some caribou tenderloin!

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