Zürich style veal in cream and wine sauce (Zürigschnätzlets)


Cream based sauces abound in traditional Swiss cuisine, as does veal. This dish, officially named Zürcher Geschnetzeltes but always called Zürigschnätzlets by the locals, appears a lot on traditional restaurant menus in Zürich and around the country. It's very easy to make at home, but it's very rich, so I don't make it that often, but it is very good and very Swiss. It could easily be turned into a vegetarian dish by omitting the meat and adding a meat substitute, or just increasing the mushrooms.

Zürich style veal in cream and wine sauce (Zürigschnätzlets)

(adapted from the Betty Bossi Schweizer Spezialitäten cookbook)

  • 400g (a bit less than 1 lb) of veal, cut into pieces (if you are anti-veal, use turkey instead.)
  • 200g (about 7 ounces) calf's kidney, cut into pieces (I usually substitute a couple of fat cervelas, or frankfurter style sausages, for this, as I've done in the version in the picture. This is not very traditional though! Another possiblity is to use sweetbreads. Or, just increase the veal)
  • 1 Tbs. butter + butter for sautéing the meat
  • 1/2 of an onion or 1 shallot, chopped fine
  • 200g (about 7 ounces) mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 cup of a young white wine (see notes)
  • 1 cup cream
  • 1 Tbs flour
  • 1 Tbs cornflour

Sauté the veal and heart or cervelas briefly until browned, season with salt and pepper, and drain on paper towels. Don't overcook the meat - it should just be browned on the surface at this point since it will cook more in the sauce.

Add butter to the pan you sautéed the meat in, and cook the onion until transparent. Add the mushrooms and sauté. Add the flour. Add a pinch of dried thyme (optional).

Add the wine and cook down rapidly over high heat. Add the meat back.

Dissolve the cornflour in the cream, and add this to the pan, stir and let bubble just until the meat is cooked but still tender.

Take off the heat and adjust the seasoning. Serve with plain rice, buttered rice, boiled potatoes, pasta, or (most traditionally) with rösti.

This is a very rich dish, so a little goes a long way. Serve with a crisp salad of mixed greens or an endive salad.

Rösti is a crispy pan-fried potato dish that was all the rage in some trendy restaurants a few years ago. I'll give the recipe for rösti soon. (Since it is so rich however, I prefer it with plain rice or pasta.)

The use of young, rather sour white wine does cut down on the richness of the sauce. Try to find a young Sauvignon Blanc or Chenin Blanc - not a full-bodied Chardonnay or so. Of course, getting a Swiss wine is best but that's difficult to find outside of Switzerland. If your wine is too mellow, add some lemon juice to the sauce (as you would do for fondue).

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Zürich style veal in cream and wine sauce (Zürigschn&a

I live in British Columbia, Canada. My daughter, Kathleen, who is home schooled, is writing a paper on the renaissance through the 1700's in Basel, Switzerland. When she does her presentation of this paper we want to have a Swiss dinner with foods from those eras. Do you have any ideas? or recipes? We would appreciate your feedback. Are you in Zurich? Kathleen was born there. Thanks

Jeanne Burckhardt | 24 June, 2006 - 02:48

Zürich style veal in cream and wine sauce (Zürigschn&a

Hi Jeanne. Yes I am in Zürich, though I'm not Swiss. I guess a meal of this Zürischnetzles, with Roesti (shredded potato pancakes) would be fairly traditional - though maybe something like spaetzli (noodle dumplings) would be a bit more traditional since potatoes didn't really get widely used until the 19th centuries. You could just use noodles too. Adding offal like kidneys or sweetbreads to the meat would be even more traditional, though people may not like it that much. Grilled sausages would be pretty traditional too. Good luck!

maki | 24 June, 2006 - 22:17

TrackBack from the daily bread @ gastroblog:
In a former job, I occasionally worked in Switzerland. Sometimes I'd be over there with other colleagues/friends, and sometimes I'd be there on my own. When I was on my own, I would usually take my evening meal from room...

the daily bread @ gastroblog | 20 December, 2003 - 15:35


I had Rösti when on holiday in Switzerland, that and the Raclette were the best things about the holiday, though the weather and the skiing were pretty fantastic. It'd be great if you could post a recipe for it soon! :)

Alison | 11 June, 2010 - 20:12

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