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Herbed Spaetzle

0 Comments 26 September 2012

We’re big fans of German food here at Full Fork Ahead. While it might have a little something to do with the actual German roots in my sis and I, there’s no denying that German food is just good comfort fare, and there’s no better time to bring it up than the traditional time of Oktoberfest (runs late September to early October). Hearty, dark breads, tender schnitzels, and, of course – spaetzle. Oh my. It’s only breakfast time as I ruminate on this but I’m already wanting this kind of meal for dinner.

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Spaetzle is basically the German form of pasta. They’re a very basic egg noodle served alongside many main German dishes, usually with the same sauce as the meat or sometimes melted cheese. I can’t help but believe fervently and deeply in my soul that whoever invented this stuff was immediately assured a place in heaven. A to the men.

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This is the second time I’ve tried making spaetzle. The first recipe, long ago, was a disaster. The mixture for the noodles wasn’t right or something. It was thin and the noodles came out glue-like in texture. This spaetzle batter however was very thick, which is what I’ve been told it should be.

Be sure to chop your herbs pretty fine for this part because up next they’ll have to squeeze through some small holes. You’ll see.

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There are special tools you can get to help make spaetzle, but a typical colander for draining pasta will do as well. Now, this is where it gets messy. Have a bowl set aside to rest the colander in or else you’ll get the batter everywhere. It’s still going to drip on your stove, down the side of the pot you’re boiling the water in, maybe onto you. It’s just going to be messy, m’kay? It’s all good. It’s for the good of homemade spaetzle! (Insert proper kitchen warrior roar here.)

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Lookit, you’s guys and gals! It’s a pot of boiling homemade spaetzle! Victory kitchen lap complete with Eye of the Tiger!

OK, now get back to work because that was only one cup of spaetzle batter and you’ve got about four or so more to push through the colander and boil. Another bowl of ice water is set aside to rest the cooked spaetzle in.

You can do it! Go go go!

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After drying the spaetzle as best as possible on paper towel-lined cookie sheets, work in batches to pan-fry it all up a bit. Your pan needs to be on pretty high heat and the noodles will rest for a couple of minutes undisturbed to crisp them up. Stir it all around for a few more and you’re ready for some yummy traditional German food!

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This recipe was solid. It comes just about as perfectly close as possible to restaurant spaetzle I’ve had and loved. Won’t lie, it’s a little time consuming; you’ll need your patient pants for this one. Serve it with some grilled bratwurst or even some grilled or baked chicken. It doesn’t all have to be German. However you serve it, enjoy.

Herbed Spaetzle

from Food Network Magazine, October 2012

Prep Time: 15 minutes    Cook Time: about 30 minutes    Level: easy    Serves: 8

  • Kosher salt
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • Large pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup seltzer
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh dill and/or parsley
  • 1 tablespoon whole-grain mustard (optional – we actually used regular Gray Poupon)
  • 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter

Bring a pot of salted water to a bare simmer. Combine the flour, 2 teaspoons salt, a pinch of pepper and the nutmeg in a large bowl. Whisk the sour cream, seltzer, eggs, herbs and mustard in another bowl, then stir into the flour mixture.

Fill a large bowl with ice water. Working over the simmering water, place about 1 cup dough in a colander and push the dough through with a rubber spatula. Cook the spaetzle for 1 minute after they float to the surface, then remove with a slotted spoon and transfer to the ice water. Repeat with the remaining dough, letting the water return to a bare simmer between batches. Drain the spaetzle, spread out on a baking sheet and pat dry with paper towels. Toss with 2 teaspoons olive oil.

Heat 2 tablespoons butter and 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Increase the heat to high and add half of the spaetzle in an even layer. Cook, undisturbed, until golden brown on the bottom, about 5 minutes. Shake the pan and loosen the spaetzle with a spatula; continue cooking until heated through, about 1 more minute. Season with salt and pepper. Repeat with the remaining butter, oil and spaetzle.

Notes:

When placing the spaetzle in the ice water, don’t wait till all the noodles are done before placing on paper towels to dry. We did and I regretted this a little as they will, of course, be very, very wet. Maybe do about half, then drain on paper towels, commence with the other half of the batter, boil, dip in ice water and drain. You don’t want the noodles to be sopping wet before adding them to the hot pan to finish off, but we found that it was a little hard to dry them on the paper towels after letting them sit in the ice water for so long.

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- who has written 346 posts on Full Fork Ahead.

Wife, mom, indulgent reader and book blogger, who occasionally likes to think she can cook. Sometimes she's right, sometimes she's wrong.

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