Monday, March 18, 2013

Bacon and Onion Spätzle

I have strong German roots and love many German dishes.  I love Spätzle.  If I see it on a menu, I’ll usually order it.  Just outside of Sabula, Iowa there is a wonderful little restaurant that serves German dishes and I used to try to go there at once a year.  The hotel in Galena also has it on their menu and I like to eat there just because of it.

This area had many German immigrants that settled here, but they quickly assimilated and blended in with the 2 world wars and I think much of their heritage has been lost.  I’m trying to keep part of my heritage alive by my cooking.   

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup milk
6 pieces chopped bacon
1/2 grated yellow onion
1 tablespoon olive oil
Kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, salt, and nutmeg.  Add the eggs and milk and stir until smooth. Let the mixture stand for 30 minutes.  This is a very important part so do not skip it resting .   It allows the gluten to work.

Bring water to a boil in a deep pan and put a metal sieve over the boiling water.   Using a spatula, press the batter through a sieve into boiling salted water.  Your batter should be somewhat running like above so it will go through the sieve holes easily. 

Generally, once the Spätzle begins to float (1 to 3 minutes) it means it is cooked. Using a slotted spoon or scoop, scoop out and drain the Spätzle before placing it in a serving dish.

Some people advocate dipping the Spätzle in cold water first, but this is simply a personal preference.  I don’t dip it.  Stir in a little butter to keep them from sticking together.  You may freeze half of it for other day by putting it into a baggie and unthawing it when you need it.

In a skillet, cook the bacon over medium heat until golden, about 4 to 5 minutes. Add onions and cook until soft and caramelized.  Add 2 tablespoons of butter to the bacon and onions and then add your Spätzle and brown and warm through.   Season as needed with salt and pepper. 

You may keep it very simple and just make plain Spätzle, freeze the little dumplings, or add them to your soups.  I make two dishes out of it by freezing half for another day and using the other up on my dish of the day.  Try making a meat dish with gravy and use the Spätzle as a side with butter, salt and pepper and gravy over it.  Or try adding a little grated gruyere cheese (1/2 cup) or cheese of your choice for another twist.  It makes it a complete meal or you can serve it as a side dish. It is a good substitute for potatoes.  

I also make a casserole out of it by mixing a cup of milk and 2 eggs beaten together and adding it to cubed ham, cheddar cheese, onion, salt and pepper and Spätzle.  Bake it in the oven until it is gold brown on top.

If you are taking it out of the freezer let it thaw and put butter in a pan and fry it up until it is warmed through.  If you eat it plain, you only need add seasonings.  Try a little paprika, salt and pepper.

Hope you enjoy your German Spätzle.  Have a great day, be happy and may God bless you and yours.

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