Friday, November 11, 2011

Time for a Challenge: Winter Spätzle!

Complexity Level:  Intermediate

I have never eaten, or made Spätzle (also known as Spaetzel).  Growing up my family ties were full of Russian and Ukrainian influences, so we rarely dabbled into the German food scene.  In fact, the only German ties were those of my Father, who from time to time would whip up some German food, his forte being German Potato Soup.

But, growing up with Russian food, Spätzle did not often float by.  Instead we focused on Cabbage, Pork,  Egg Noodles, Beets, HorseRadish, and of course, Kielbasa.  

Viva the Sauerkraut!!

Yet, deep inside I have this growing need to create recipes for foods I haven't experienced.  And today I woke up with a dying urge to make a Winter themed Spätzle rich with a Green hue and fresh garden taste.  I knew my grandfather and his German roots would be proud!

Having never made it, I knew the challenge would be getting the batter into the boiling water with only a spatula and a slitted spoon.  Clearly this would look very homemade but full of love and passion.

So, I started my mission with all the ingredients needed for plain Spätzle, but with an Aimee twist:  MInt, Peas, Chives, and Nutmeg.  Why not make a winter dish that even resembles the colors of December?

And so I started.  4 Eggs, 1 tsp Kosher Salt, 2 cups Thawed Frozen Peas, 2 tbsp Chopped Chives, 1/2 tsp Black Pepper, 1 tbsp minced Mint Leaves, and 1/2 cup Vegetable broth all placed into the blender.  I pureed this to get a smooth consistency then poured it into a bowl.

I knew in time this would become a delicate, garden hued pasta that even I couldn't resist.  And though mysterious looking to start, I had faith it would be amazing and beautiful.

I mixed in 2 cups of flour to form a dough and slowly pressed this batter through the slitted spoon and into boiling water.  It seemed to be working, the batter looked like green fluffy dumpling like pasta, not too bad for a first time Spätzle maker.  I then removed these pasta puffs, tossed them in margarine and chilled 1 hour.

Now, an hour later and more anxious to try my completed pasta, I pulled out my chilled spatzel to start building my winter feast.

I melted 4 tbsp margarine and tossed in my green Spätzle and 1/2 cup of vegetable broth.  This simmered for about 5 minutes so the broth would almost completely evaporate.

Now it was time to decorate the dish.  I added about 1 to 1 1/2 cups more of the peas, this time not mushing them.  I also wanted to give this a lift of the season, so I added more mint leaves, freshly ground nutmeg, and chives.  Finally, it was time to make this look like a holiday winter treat, so I tossed in some beautiful Red and Yellow Cherry tomatoes.

I am not sure if this is what Spätzle is supposed to be like, I know so many people top it with meats and vegetables, but I must say, I would totally eat this again no matter what anyone else says!

And so, I hope you find yourselves curious about the art of Spätzle.  You do not need special tools or even a beauty line to feel you accomplished it.  For judge no the looks of a dish until it comes together.

For the recipe only please visit here:  Winter Spätzle with Mint, Tomatoes, and Peas!!

I hope you enjoy, I sure had fun with my "Kitchen Lab!"


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