Spaetzli

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Spaetzli are dumplings made from wheat flour. They are commonly served with game stews in Alsace and Switzerland. A similar recipe is used in Hungary to produce almost identical dumplings called galuska which are the usual accompaniment to gulyas and paprika chicken.

The word spaetzli apparently translates as ‘little sparrows’ for reasons that escape me. They are made from a thick pancake batter which is pushed through a colander into boiling salted water, and the resulting strands of dough are then tossed in butter. Spaetzli may sound awful, but in fact tastes very good and provides an unobtrusive yet appealing foil to any well-flavoured stew.

Ingredients

  • 300g (10½oz) plain four (2 heaping cups all-purpose flour)
  • 3 medium (large) eggs
  • 75ml (3fl oz/½ cup) milk
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • a little grated nutmeg
  • 50g (2oz/½ stick) butter
  • salt and pepper

Method

Mix together the flour, eggs, milk, oil, a little grated nutmeg, 1 level teaspoon of salt and 100ml (fl oz/7 tablespoons) of water to make a batter. Leave it to rest for 30 minutes.

Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil, then push the batter through a colander or spaetzli machine. Alternatively, cut the batter into ribbons and add it to the water.

As soon as the spaetzli float to the surface, they are ready. Scoop them out with a slotted spoon. If they are not to be used immediately, cool them in cold water, then drain, place in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap.

Just before serving, heat the butter in a frying pan and toss the spaetzli in it, seasoning with more salt and pepper.

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