For each recipe I add here, I want to also provide a little history of the origin and other interesting facts.This gives you a better appreciation for the dish I think, and may provide some good stories you can talk about at the dinner table!
HISTORY OF SPAETZLE
Wikipedia says the word ‘Spätzle’ is a form of the word ‘Spatz’ or little sparrows. It is known as Spätzli, Knöpfle, or Chnöpfli in Switzerland, and in Hungary, they call it Nokedli, Csipetke or Galuska.
In my travels in Europe, I have had one form or another in France, Switzerland, Germany, Austria, and Hungary. The thread that runs through each occasion is that the taste is ‘einmalig’ (good!).
So although this side dish is claimed as a traditional recipe in Bavaria and other parts of Germany, it is also served elsewhere under different names and using slightly different add-on ingredients.
Today let’s get the basic process of preparing this tasty side dish out, and after we will add in some suggestions for other ingredients you can use to change the taste up depending on what kind of meal you are preparing…
You will need just a bit in the way of tools for this dish, but no worries, you can get by with what you likely have in the kitchen right now.
- There is a tool called ‘Spätzlehobel’ – a hopper with a base that has holes will work nicely to form the noodles drop into your boiling water as you move the hopper back and forth, or…
- You can use a potato ricer if you want to have longer noodles (also works well if you make a wetter batter)…Next…
- You can push the noodle batter, using a hobel or ricer, onto a cutting board like tool, and then scrape them into the boiling water, or if you do not have any of these tools…
- You can use any colander that has bigger holes in it if you have nothing else. Simply push the batter through either directly into the boiling water or maybe a safer way would be to press them out onto a cutting board and then scrape them into the boiling water using a spatula or spoon (less chance of hand burns).
400 gm /14 oz of fine all-purpose white flour
¼ l / 1 cup of water
3-4 whole eggs
1 teaspoon of salt
Fresh chopped parsley (this is optional)
Run your flour through a sieve, add the salt to it, and then one egg at a time, plus a little water. Mix this batter for 1 minute until it is smooth and air bubbles start to form. Add the parsley for a slightly fresh taste if desired, then let the batter stand for 20 minutes covered in a warm place. Use a clean dish towel to cover the bowl with…
While the dough is resting, bring a large pot of water to a boil on the stove. Season the water with salt. When the 20 minutes are up, you can then use whatever tool you are going to use to create the noodles with and start dropping them into the water.
Use a slotted spoon to stir the noodles in the water and continue to boil them until they start floating on the top of the water. Make one batch of noodles at a time, do not overload the water and continue as each batch is done until all of your batter is used.
Note that you can make these noodles a day ahead of when you want to serve them, just reheat them in a skillet with a dab of butter until they are warm. The butter will add to the taste…
VARIETIES OF SPAETZLE
What I have just described above is your basic recipe, but there is so much more you can do to make them even more flavorful and fitting to the main dish you want to serve them with.
As some examples, here are just a few off the top of my head:
The noodles as described above will go well with a hearty meat such as rouladen, sauerbraten, or zweibelrostbraten, but they can also be used in soups.
But there is more:
Spätzle also are used as a primary ingredient in dishes including:
- Lentils with Sausages.
- Mixed with a grated cheese such as Emmenthaler with fried onions on the top. Oven bake to give a nice crust on top.
- A hearty beef stew using cheaper cuts of pot roast.
- Mixed them with sauerkraut, onion, butter and some special spices such as marjoram with a little caraway.
- Mixed with cheese and topped off with paprika.
- Add ground liver to them and make Leberspaetzle.
- Mix with spinach as one of the ingredients.
If you are more interested in a bit of sweetness:
- Mix with fresh cherries, and cover them with a browned butter, sugar and cinnamon/nutmeg.
- Mix with grated apples right in the batter, and again cover with browned butter, sugar, and cinnamon.
MAIN DISHES TO SERVE WITH SPAETZLE
I think you already know the main dishes to use, based on the above guidance, but just to reiterate…
Use them with:
Rouladen, sauerbraten, zweibelrostbraten, schnitzels (all of the varieties), or sausages…Also consider for soups. Let your imagination run wild and try some of the other varieties as well, surprise your guests! They will be glad you did!
Well, there you have it! Not only the basic recipe and preparation steps but also some ideas on how to change the noodles up and use them for other parts of your next traditional German dinner!
If you have any questions, just drop us a line below. If you have some suggestions or want to post your creations, the comment section is open to that also. I would love to see your results!
This thread of traditional German recipes is for us all. I get to add in the ones I especially have grown fond of over the years, you get to try my recipes, and also can let us know how it went, We all win!
Dave : )