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Spaetzle


Why is it that everything I like, at least food-wise, is bad for me? I know many other things I like are bad for me and indeed some are downright dangerous, but food? Come on!!!! I love steaks, chops, chicken with the skin on, pork rinds, butter, oh my God I love butter! Butter on popcorn, popped with coconut oil, now that will tempt the cardiac surgeons ability, but it is sooooo good! Lots of melted butter, clarified of course. I am a discerning butternut after all...

Kentucky Fried Chicken and the wallpaper paste-like gravy to go on the deep fried - french fried potatoes, now that's a meal! Chinese barbecued duck that hangs in the window of the meat market is yet another favourite that clogs the arteries and makes thine ass fatter. I love them all!!! I crave them, need them and unfortunately I don't eat them very often given I don't want to tempt fate nor tweak the noses of the gods that seem to deny me a growing list of forbidden pleasures. But I do sample them once in a blue moon and hope for the best.

Perogies are another ass fattening gut bomb (AFGB) I love. Now the perogy in and of itself is not a bad thing at all, a carb-bomb to be sure but not terribly fattening. It's the bacon, butter, fried onions and of course the big dollops of sour cream that renders it an item that will send you straight to the front of the triple bypass line. OMG! How I love those AFGB!!! Pork ribs, beef ribs, dry garlic ribs, you name it, if it is a dangerous and fate tempting morsel of fat filled goodness, I'm all in. Don't get me started on chicken wings! I love chicken wings. I really, really, really love chicken wings. Hot wings to be precise, and I can eat an unconscionable amount of them at a sitting, or at least I used to.

Along with my buddy Trevor we could eat enough hot wings to feed a small Pacific nation years ago when I was in better physical condition and not wary of the impending meeting with the Grim Reaper, a meeting by the way I am trying to stave off for as long as possible, so I don't eat like I used to. Eating hot wings with Trevor however was a delight to the senses as we tried varying concoctions of hot sauce, some mild and some that brought beads of sweat to my brow immediately upon tasting it and some that caused incredible anguish and pain a day or so later. Ahhhh, those were the days. I will post my recipe for wings in a later posting but tonight’s posting is dedicated to another AFGB, one that is insidious and evil for the fat content it possesses when fried to perfection – SPAETZLE. Yup, tiny little mound of dough, boiled then fried with all manner of goodness.

Spaetzle is a German dish that I hold dear to my heart. My paternal grandfather was German and he loved spaetzle and the way I prepare it is a result of eating the spaetzle he made for me years ago and it is without a doubt one of the best comfort food on this lovely blue planet. Pity those that have never tasted spaetzle, they really are to be pitied. While I can't make enough to feed all those lost spaetzle-less souls, I can and do make it for those I love, or at least those that sit at my table, loved or not (you know who YOU are!).

I used a spoon to drop the dough into boiling water for many years, then I changed up to a potato ricer:

Then a couple of years ago my wife gave me a spaetzle maker for Christmas, a lovely stainless steel jobby and it was when I used it for the first time I arrived at spaetzle Nirvana, it was wonderful and worked like a charm, rather, it worked like a spaetzle maker perfectum. The spaetzle maker in question is made by Danseco and did they create a great kitchen gadget when they designed this little bugger. So before you get involved in mixing a big batch of dough get thee to a kitchen store or order on line a Danesco spaetzle maker. Do it now...

Now where was I before I waxed poetic about the spaetzle maker? Oh yes! I was rambling on. Back on track now I go until the next fleeting thought derails my thought process once again. So let's make some spaetzle....

4 Cups Flour
4 Eggs
1½ - 2 cups water or milk
1 tsp salt
1 tsp white pepper
Pinch of fresh nutmeg
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp garlic powder (optional


Fill a large heavy bottom pot with water leaving a few inches for expansion of the spaetzle, bring water to a boil.

Put the flour, salt pepper, garlic powder, baking powder and nutmeg into the mixing bowl and blend together.


Mix the eggs and water/milk together well until incorporated. Add to the flour and spice mixture. Mix at medium speed until smooth batter/dough appears.  Add more water to ensure dough is a loose consistency if necessary.

Mixture should be thick enough to stick together well, but thin enough to push through the holes in a Spaetzle maker. You can add some water a little at a time and work it into the batter until you get the consistency you need.

Using the spaetzle maker fill the hopper with the spaetzle dough. 
Move the dough filled hopper back and forth, dropping the dough into the boiling water, stirring as you do to keep them from sticking together, cook small batches at a time.

Let spaetzle boil for 3 minutes and then remove with slotted spoon to a colander then rinse cooked spaetzle under cold water to keep from becoming a sticky mass you can’t work with. Let drain and proceed with cooking the next batch.

When using a good spaetzle maker you can vary the size of the cooked spaetzle by making the dough more or less fluid by varying the amount of liquid you put in the batch.  I like a smallish size spaetzle so I make the dough a little more firm, but some people like it a little like a noodle so they will make the dough a little runny, it's your  preparation so do what you think is best.

Once you have the spaetzle cooked and drained get ready to clog some arteries.

1/2 lb bacon, cut into 1/4” pieces
2 onions, minced fine
6 cloves garlic, pressed
1 red bell pepper, minced fine
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp paprika
salt and pepper to taste.

Fry bacon until partially cooked in a large non-stick deep sided frying pan (I use a 14” pan, I know, now you have pan envy) then add the onions and cook until bacon and onions are slightly browned. Once onions and bacon is cooked to your liking remove from pan with a slotted spoon to ensure the bacon drippings are left behind, place on plate, set aside.


Place the pan over medium heat, add the garlic to the pan containing the bacon drippings and saute until garlic is fragrant, do not brown. Add spaetzle and stir well.
 


Sprinkle cayenne, paprika, salt and pepper and stir well to incorporate spices into the mixture.

Continue to cook over medium heat until the spaetzle begins to brown tasting as you go to ensure the right balance of salt and pepper has been reached.

Once the spaetzle has browned add the bacon and onions and cook until the panful of goodness is nicely browned and all the ingredients are singing your praises.

Serve hot to your adoring table-mates and send them along on their own quest for a future cardiac event. It is worth it. Really. Trust me...

If you have done everything correctly and all the stars are aligned this will be the end result...

I love making this for my children and still make it once in a while, fat content be damned.  The older kids loved it, especially the boy child.  When I started into cooking this marvelous comfort food he would venture from his room of eternal darkness and wait at the table for it to be finished, then he would shovel mounds of it on to his plate along with the rest of us, and enjoy this fine German fare, humming as he did, a sure sign of its awesomeness. I miss that humming....


Alas I don't eat this often, instead I exercise, eat veggies, take omega 3's and assorted other life extending (hopefully) herbal and mineral concoctions, but when I do, I love the hell out of it!!!!!

 Snowy Palms Resort

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