Once again the business has taken its toll on blog productivity but rest assured, I’ve not gone hungry. For some reason, of late, German food has been featuring fairly highly; first a (somewhat hazy) trip to Hamburg, then at various street food stalls and more recently my favourite local gastropub did an excellent Oktoberfest menu.
So, ever one to jump on the bandwagon and soak up inspiration shamelessly I decided to do something myself.
Being neither sweet-toothed, nor a particularly experienced baker I gave the Black Forest Gateau a wide birth, much to the dismay of Mrs Frankly.
It was only after a bit of Googling and Gastronomique thumbing, I came across Spätzle: little irregular looking pieces of egg noodle, or mini dumplings, also associated with a number of countries neighbouring Germany. Whilst I’d heard of it, I’d never tried it and so that was that.
I suppose what I actually made was a kind of Käsespätzle as this did contain some cheese for a bit a lift. I must admit, there seem to be a few variations in size and shape – you can buy small grater/mandolin hybrid type devices to make small little pieces, but Wolfgang Puck recommended pushing the mixture through a large holed colander and that was good enough for me.
I actually used the larger disk that came with my a potato ricer. It seemed to do the trick nicely, but in hindsight I think the batter was maybe very slightly too wet (I adjusted the amount in the recipe below). Still, It was fun to do even if I didn’t exactly turn out to be to most photogenic of dishes. Tasty too.
Admittedly, and a little predictably, I served it with some griddled pork chops and some warmed, ‘tweaked’ Sauerkraut, but it worked well. I simply marinaded the pork in garlic, salt and thyme first. Think I’ll try some Saurbraten next time or maybe a Goulash which seems to be a classic partner.
Perfect with a nice cold beer though it was a Budweiser Budvar, which is Czech, but it’s not too far away I suppose. Prost!
Serves 2 with leftovers…
For the Spätzle:
- 125g/1 cup plain (all purpose flour)
- 2 eggs
- 2 tbsp butter melted, but about blood temperature
- 3 tbsp milk
- 2 large pinches of salt and pepper
- 2 tbsp grated parmesan cheese
For the pork:
- 2 good quality pork chops
- Olive oil
- Salt and Pepper
For the Sauerkraut:
- 6 heaped tbsp Sauerkraut
- A little mace
- Small pinch of nutmeg
- 75g bacon lardons, finely diced.
- Salt and a little sugar to taste
For the Spätzle, mix the eggs, melted butter, cheese and milk in a jug and mix well. Tip the flour into a mixer, season and combine with the egg mixture using the paddle attachment for a minute on the lowest setting.
The resulting batter is pretty thick. Cover and leave in the fridge for an hour.
Whilst doing so, on a plate, mix a good ‘lug’ of olive oil with salt, a tbsp of fresh thyme leaves and a large clove of garlic (or two smaller ones), coarsely chopped. Flatten the chops slightly with a meat tenderiser and lay in the marinade for at least an hour, turning halfway through.
Keep the pork out of the fridge so as to get to room temperature, which is better for cooking when you get to it.
In a small pan, fry the bacon lardons, there should be enough oil in them. Add the Sauerkraut, a dash of water, the spices and seasoning. Taste and adjust. Heat through and put a lid on the pan to keep warm.
Turn the oven on at 160°C/320°F
To make the Spätzle, get the kettle on to boil some water and add to a large pan. Salt, and bring to a rapid boil, as you would pasta.
Take the cold batter and load up the potato ricer!
Over the pan, squeeze a little of the mixture out and with the swift stroke of a a knife, cut them off so they fall into the water. Or the might drop of under their own weight.
Do this for all the mixture and when they start to rise, much like gnocchi, it’s done. So, a couple of minutes should do it.
Immediately drain and plunge into cold water.
Scrape the large pieces of garlic from the pork, or they’ll burn, but keep them for later. Heat the griddle until smoking hot and griddle one side until you get nice bar marks in two directions.
Turn over and transfer to the oven to finish off for a few minutes. Take care not to over do it, use a thermometer if you have one – 65°C/150°F, should see you right. Leave to rest in a warm place.
Dry the Spätzle using kitchen paper and fry in the remaining garlic/herb marinade with a little butter until coloured. Serve it all up.