If you don't know it already, I'm #obsessed with German culture and German cuisine. I love learning to make the foods that so influenced the founding of our state. The Germans needed hearty dishes to keep that energy going while they built America.
Of the German dishes I've mastered at home, I'd say my favorite is Spätzle. It's originally a southern German dish, but many varieties exist around the world. It's a simple dumpling that takes only about 30 minutes to make from start to finish and the flavors are just unique enough to transport you out of the humdrum of winter cuisine.
Spätzle, pronounced sh-pets-luh, is served year round in Bavaria, Swabia, and the Black Forest, but it really shines in the middle of a cold Wisconsin winter. In order to make it, you'll need a Spätzle Maker. It's not essential, but you'll spend way more time trying to make it without one.
Once you master your technique, you're definitely going to want to try making Käsesplätzle (Germany's Mac & Cheese). I'll be following up with a post containing a good recipe for it, but my first goal was to set you up with the basics and to see how the dish is most often served in Germany.
Note: this is not a diet recipe. You're welcome to find your own ways to make it "healthier", but I'd really recommend you try it as written the first time.
3 cups flour
200 ml milk (I use whole milk)
1 1/2 Tbsp butter (melted and cooled)
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
2 sticks butter for sautéing
Before preparing the dough start bringing a large pot of salted water to boil.
Put flour into a large bowl and make a round trough in the middle. Add the eggs, milk, a few pinches of salt, and the slightly cooled, melted butter to the bowl. Mix well into a sticky dough with a wooden spoon. Allow dough to rest for 5-10 minutes.
Once the water is boiling, load some Spätzle dough into the hopper of your Spätzlemaker. Set the maker on top of your pot and run the hopper back and forth across the maker until the hopper empties.
When the Spätzle have cooked fully they float to the top of the boiling water and swell just a little bit. Scoop them off the top and place them in a strainer. Do this one hopper at a time.
Once your Spätzle are all cooked add them back to a large skillet and sauté them in butter until brown an
d crispy. If you have a large enough pan, you can do this with an entire batch, however, it probably goes faster, if you sauté in smaller batches.
Serves 6 as a side dish and 4 as an entrée.