When I learned that Jarrett, the brains behind Food Porn Watch, was hosting the latest IMBB #7, “You’re Just The Cutest Little Dumpling” only one question sprang to mind. Is Spaetzle a dumpling? So I googled it and found that there was some debate. Some people feel that Spaetzle is a pasta, some feel that it’s a dumpling. Me, I’ve always described it as a little German dumpling, so that’s good enough for me!
I wish I could say that this is an old family recipe, but it’s not. Though my grandmother is full-blooded German, she was truly a modern 1950′s housewife. This meant that in the 60′s, when I was growing up and spending Saturday evenings at her house, the only food she made came out of a box or a jar. One of the traditional meals that she made for her grandchildren: jarred spaghetti sauce spread on an english muffin, with sliced Hormel pepperoni and finished off with a slice of American cheese, then broiled to “perfection”. Voila – homemade pizza!
No, I didn’t get my cooking tendancies from my grandmother. Maybe I got them because of my grandmother! Though I have to admit, she made the best homemade sauerkraut, from scratch, that I’ve ever had. The crockpots in the basement didn’t smell so great, but if you could get beyond that, you were in for a treat.
I could look a generation back, to my great-grandmother who was directly from Pommern. But I have to admit, she was a farm wife who seemed to be famous for her Duck Blood Soup and for using every part of the animal for food – so it’s probably best that I didn’t get many recipes handed down from that direction either.
So most of the German recipes that I make today are my own. And I chose to make a Zigeuner Schnitzel with Spaetzle for the IMBB: The Dumpling Edition!
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 c. milk
2 tbsp. water
1 1/2 c. flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking powder
Pinch of nutmeg grated
2 qts. boiling salted water
5 tbsp. butter
1/2 c. toasted bread crumbs
Beat eggs, milk and water. Add flour, salt, baking powder and nutmeg til well mixed.
We don’t have a spaetzle maker – we improvise and use a ricer. We fill the ricer with the dough and push it through the holes and into the boiling water. Boil for 8 minutes.
Drain, and sautee in melted butter. Sprinkle bread crumbs over the dumplings. Continue to sautee until slightly browned.
3 slices bacon, chopped
4 veal cutlets, pounded thin
4 assorted peppers, sliced
1 large onion, sliced
3 carrots, sliced
3 – 4 small tomatoes, seeded and diced
2 tablespoons garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons paprika
1 cup red wine
2 cups beef stock
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons flour
Sautee bacon til cooked through and fat is rendered. Add veal and sautee til brown. Remove veal from pan and set aside. Add vegetables except for tomato, cook til slightly soft. Add paprika, tomato, red wine and stock. Salt an pepper to taste. Bring to a simmmer. Add veal. Cover and simmer on low.
Prepare spaetzle. (recipe above)
Mix sour cream and flour together. Stir in to veal/vegetable mixture. Continue to stir til creamy gravy like consistancy is reached.
To serve, plate veal and spaetzle. Place vegetable mixture over veal. Cover veal and spaetzle with desired amount of gravy.
Serve with a nice wine. We chose a 2000 Ridge Zinfandel, Late Picked Nervo.