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SPAETZLE and other easy sides

Spaetzle, spaetzle, spaetzle….say that three times fast. Spaetzle is a traditional German noodle. When I lived in Germany, I actually was sent over to Oma’s house for the afternoon after school one day to get a spaetzle making lesson by my spitfire of a German host grandmother. This woman was memorable, and lovable…and she taught me to make spaetzle with the love a drill sergeant. Part of the problem was my language was not quite up to par and then her dentures were clacking.

Spaetzle is like pie crust the more you make it the easier and the better it gets. I don’t make spaetzle nearly as much as pie crust so bear with me as I demonstrate the art of spaetzle making.
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 medium eggs
1/2 teaspoon salt
3-6 tablespoons of water
13 cups of water + 3 teaspoons of salt for boiling
4 tablespoons of butter for pan frying
ACHTUNG! Here we go!

Sift the flour and 1/2 teaspoon salt out on to parchment paper.

Dump flour/salt into mixer with the dough attachment on the mixer.

Make a nice nest for the eggs. Crack the eggs into the nest.

Start the mixer on slow and gradually add the water a tablespoon at a time. By the way Oma did not have a nice Kitchen Aid mixer we did it all my hand!

You want a nice firm dough. Not too sticky, definitely not runny.

It should hang on to your mixer like so but still be pliable….comparable texture to pizza dough.
You can make spaetzle without one of these doo-hickeys a Potato Ricer…call it what you will. I learned to make spaetzle by smashing the dough through the bottom of a colander into the boiling water. And before I bought this one, I pinched off pieces and threw them into the boiling water….I would not recommend that method.
One more spaetzle making tip…if you high strung or easily distracted like myself, you can make these noodles ahead, at a time when your kids are not running around and opening every cupboard and hungry waiting for supper to be put on the table. Even if you are as calm as a cucumber I would suggest you do this a few hours in advance and then heat them up before you are ready to eat.
1. Fill pot with water add 3 teaspoons of salt and bring it to a rolling boil.
2. Spray Pam or any non-stick cooking spray on your Potato Ricer.

3. Fill the ricer with about a cup of dough at a time. Now get out your mOOscles.
4. Now press the dough through the ricer and slice it off with a knife as it comes through. As seen above.
5. Drop the pieces of dough into the boiling water, they will stick together a bit and look all funky, these are random type noodles they do not need to be uniform. Let them boil for aproximately 3-5 minutes. Then take a strainer and lift them out tapping all excess water off.

5. Then you can transfer them directly to a frying pan with 2 tablespoons of melted, on the verge of browning, butter. See how it is just getting brown on the edges…Perfectamundo!

Drop those little guys in there, and fry them up. You will do this in two shifts. Use the second 2 tablespoons of butter for the second 1/2 of your noodles.

You want them to get brown and slightly crispy. Transfer them to a glass dish. Later when you are ready to eat. Place the dish in a 350 degree oven for 10-15 minutes just till they are warmed through.

Now I am all about easy. So if all that seemed just a bit too complicated for your busy schedule or your temperment. Then grab a bag of these noodles at the store, boil them up, drain well, toss them in a frying pan with some butter brown them up and Voila! Speedy Spaetzle…just don’t tell Oma.

So I am assuming you have your Saurerbraten marinating, so this is why I wanted to give you some sides to go with your roast and gravy. You can also boil up potatoes and toss them with some butter and parsley as an alternative to the noodles. The other two sides I serve with Sauerbraten are Rotkohl / red cabbage, and butter spiced carrots.

Isn’t that beautiful?! Red Cabbage is very differant from Saurerkraut, so if you have an aversion to saurerkraut, you need to put all that behind you and give this a try. It compliments the Sauerbraten perfectly. I have made it from scratch….but I is much easier and taste comparable to Aunt Nellie’s so I pop open a jar and warm it in the microwave. If you can’t find Aunt Nellie’s, in the canned vegetables aisle, then look in the International section of your grocery store. It would be with the German or Dutch food products.

Butter Spiced Carrots (print recipe) are something my kids love and also go well with this meal. Very easy. I happened to have a parsnip so I cut that up this time too. Usually I just do carrots. Boil carrots in a 1/2 inch of water, for 10 minutes, watch carefully so the pan doesn’t go dry. Pour off any excess water and toss in 2 tablespoons of butter toss it around add 1 tablespoon of brown sugar, salt and pepper and a dash or three of ground ginger. Super easy beautiful side dish.

Tomorrow we cook the Sauerbraten!

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  1. Wow your receipe is excatly the way my grandmother showed me but with alot less steps we don’t use a mixer or a ricer and I don;t put the spatzel in the butter but instead pour the browned butter over it.We skip the oven step also and when we cut the dough into the boiling water we use the side of our bowl and a flat butter knife ,we love it and in fact my daughter adds milk to hers .Any way you make them they are GREAT.

  2. Ashley, if you have a handmixer with a dough attachment you could do it that way. It would be like mixing up any dough…so if you make bread by had already, then you can handle this the dough is just a bit stickier. I hope you get whats on your Christmas list!

  3. Yum, I have a friend who lives in Germany and visited her a few summers back. This reminds me of the food we ate. Do you think it's worth it to try making it without a KitchenAid Mixer? It's on my Christmas list, but until then?