Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Spatzle with jager sauce

I love cooking foods from different areas in the world.  As much as I love to travel, I don't often get a chance to do so; however, I can travel through food.  And I do that way more often!  As I said in my pork schnitzel, my husband gets to travel to Germany about once per year, and he comes home raving about the food.
The first time he came back, he told me about the schnitzel, and the spatzle.  I had no problems whipping up the schnitzel, but I had no idea how to go about making spatzle.  I asked him to help me find a recipe, but nothing ever came of that.  I could find recipes, but I wasn't sure how things were supposed to look, taste, or cook.  Not helpful.  Thankfully, after a few trial and errors, I have it figured out, and am excited to share a few tips and tricks that I have picked up along the way!  
Spatle is a German noodle that is usually served with a brown butter sauce, or a mushroom sauce, called a jager sauce.  I like the mushroom sauce, because I love mushrooms, but if you don't care for them, you can easily just saute them off in some brown butter.  This noodle cooks up in seconds, and is a quick and easy side dish to your scnitzel, sauerbraten, or anything along these lines!  As a matter of fact, I was talking with my husband this evening about these, and said they would also be good in my roasted garlic, lemon soup as the pasta.  
Are you ready to give this a try?  This really comes together quickly, so lets get started!
Here's your grocery list:
For the spatzle:
1 1/2 C All purpose flour
2 eggs
1/2 C milk
1 tsp Kosher salt
1-2 tsp dried thyme
For the sauce:
8 oz sliced mushrooms
2 Tbs butter
2 Tbs all purpose flour
1-2 C beef broth
Kosher salt

That's it!  Five easy ingredients that you probably already have in your pantry!  How good does this look??
Start off with your 1/2 C milk, and adding in the 2 eggs, mixing lightly.

In a medium mixing bowl, add in the dry ingredients, the flour, salt, and thyme.  Give it a quick mix, then make a well in the dry ingredients to pour the wet into.  

Once your well is made, pour the milk and eggs into it, and mix until everything has just come together.  This is a very wet, very sticky....dough/batter/mixture.  At this point, you can go on and cook these, or set it aside to rest.  I had to set my dough (batter?) aside, and give my daughter a bath and put her to bed.  So, this sat for about two hours, resting.  
Now that your spatzle mixture is resting, lets turn our attention to the sauce!  Just like in my smothered chicken post, I start my mushrooms off in a cold pan, with no butter or oil.  I put the heat on the stove up to medium-high, and let these dry roast for 3-5 minutes, then add in 2 Tbs of butter in the hot pan, and a sprinkle of Kosher salt, and continue to saute over medium high heat for another 5-8 minutes.

After your mushrooms are finished, add in your 2 Tbs of all purpose flour, to make a roux.  Cook the flour/mushroom mixture for about 5 minutes, to cook out the raw flour flavor, and then pour in 1 C of beef broth.  The butter/flour mixture is what will thicken this sauce up beautifully*.

Once your sauce has come to the thickness that you would like, I like to throw in another 1/2 Tbs of butter, just as a finishing touch.  Some freshly chopped parsley would also be great here!  To avoid a lot of burners going on the stove at the same time, I like to make my sauce first, and set it aside while the rest of my supper comes together.  *That being said, your sauce will continue to thicken as it sits, so once you're ready for it, if it is thicker than you would like, just add more beef broth to thin it out!  Easy peasy!

Now then,lets switch back to the spatzle!  This, is a spatzle maker.  I hate having a gadget in the kitchen that only does one function, however, this made making spatzle so much easier!  I've tried making it in a food mill, by pushing it through a colander, and even snipping drops out of a zip top bag.  All of these methods worked, but they were difficult to control, and lead to standing awhile in front of a hot, steaming pot.  Not my idea of a good time.  I found this spatzle maker on Amazon for less than $6.  If you're going to be making spatzle a lot, I'd recommend making the small investment in one.
Just lay your spatzle maker flat across a pot of boiling water, load up the square grater with your batter/dough, and grate back and forth, as your dough/batter falls through the holes, into the boiling water. 

As soon as your egg noodles float to the surface, they are ready to be scooped out with a slotted spoon!  I put them in a separate glass bowl, but these can easily go directly into whatever sauce you want to put them in.

I like to serve these with schnitzel, but feel free to serve these with whatever you'd like, or just by themselves with the sauce!  You're in for a real treat, no matter how you choose to serve them!