Spaetzle have been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. My Mother has always made it with Sauerbraten.... well that’s actually somewhat of a lie… she used to make these potato balls that were more like lead balls with her Sauerbraten… tasty but… OMG don’t ever eat two of them… you’ll explode… anyway we convinced her to stick to making spaetzle……. and we never… and I mean never … had any spaetzle leftovers….
So just what are spaetzle… (pronounced sch-pet-z-la) they have been described as noodles or dumplings… but that description is misleading… to me dumplings a large globs of dough that are boiled… these are small…. the same dough is used for dumplings (we call them knadle) as it is for spaetzle. The dough is squeezed through a press and are dropped into boiling water… they cook in a few minutes.
They’re served with gravy or just butter…. some people butter them then sprinkle them with cheese…
I posted a Jagerschnitzel recipe a couple of weeks ago… spaetzle go very well with that…. the spaetzle are great with the sauce from the Jagerschnitzel….
The dough is extremely sticky and can be tricky working with it…. you mix it in a bowl… and put it through a “spaetzle maker” …
There are several different types… and prices range from under $10 US to very expensive ones $39.99-$54.95 US (which doubles as a potato ricer) you can find them at Amazon.com. What's nice about the Amazon site is that there are quite a few reviews on each. You can find them in most kitchen stores too… you may have to ask for them though.
I have the expensive type… I’ve had it for years… my Mother bought it for me years ago….unfortunately it’s at the New York house and I’m in Georgia…. This type of spaetzle maker produces strands of dough while the other types produce rounder, smaller pieces… both taste the same and are very good… honestly.. this type is worth every penny... even the novice can make them with this.. perfect every time and no mess.
So I went to a local kitchen outlet store and we picked up a cheaper one … we got it for $7.99… it worked fine… but was messy... it gummed up with the dough.. but it worked... I still recommend you get the professional type above.
Some people have said they use a colander…. All the power to them… I tried it… and let’s just say … don’t ask Warren about the mess I made all over the kitchen and stove… he was a real sweetie and cleaned most of it up for me…. we went out the next day and he bought me a spaetzle maker… guess he didn’t want to chance me trying it again and facing a mess again.
The recipe is extremely simple…. in fact…. the ingredients are basic…. flour, eggs, salt and water….that's it.... those are the traditional ingredients…. Sunny Anderson of the food network recently made them… adding all kinds of ingredients …. it’s great to experiment… but this recipe is authentic…
All you need:
2 ½ cups flour
½ teaspoon salt
About 1 cup of water*
*If you use large eggs, decrease the water…. add it slowly and keep stirring until smooth… I used a little more than ¾ of a cup.
All you need to do:
Heat a large pot of water.
In a large bowl, mix the flour eggs and salt together. Then slowly add the water (a little at a time), stirring constantly until the dough is smooth. You do not want it too stiff… it will have to drop through the holes of the spaetzle maker.
Make the spaetzle in batches. Put the dough in the little “hopper” on top of grater… slide the hopper back and forth over the boiling water …. The dough will drop in …. The dough sinks then comes to the top to float.
If you're using the recommended deluxe type... just load the little canister ... and drop the top on it and squeeze... it comes out in long strands... just give it a quick shake and they drop off or use a sharp knife to cut them off... let them cook and float to the top.
Cook for 2-3 minutes… use a large slotted spoon to take out the spaetzle… place them in a colander or bowl while you make the rest of the dough.
Serve with butter or gravy.