TINY DUMPLINGS (SPAETZLE)
Our Hungarian neighbor in Baltimore introduced me to spaetzle
The following recipe is adapted from The Melting Pot, from a series published in the sixties by Time-Life Books.
1½ cups all-purpose flour
In a large bowl, combine the flour and ½ teaspoon of the salt. Pour in the eggs, milk and the cooled, melted lard in thin streams, stirring constantly with a large spoon, and continue to stir until the dough is smooth.
Bring the water and the remaining 3 teaspoons of salt to a boil in a heavy 3-to 4-quart saucepan. Set a large colander over the pan and, with a spoon, press the dough through the holes of the colander into the boiling water.*
Stir the dumplings gently, then boil briskly for 6 to 8 minutes, or until they are tender to the bite. Drain the dumplings thoroughly.
Melt the remaining tablespoon of lard in a heavy 10-to-12-inch skillet and drop in the dumplings. Stirring constantly, cook the dumplings for 1 or 2 minutes, or until they are dry. Serve at once, as a side dish.
Yield: Serves 4.
There are stores which sell special items for this process. They work well but
may be unnecessary. I have found that an insert from one of our deep-fat fryers has holes
which are a perfect size for spaetzle. If you have such an item already taking up space in
your kitchen, or something similar, feel free to improvise. Just hold insert over water
which is at a "rolling boil," drop in a cupful of spaetzle dough, rub
through holes with a wooden spoon, allow to cook a few minutes, until they are all merrily
bobbing around on the surface of the boiling water, then skim off the top and do another
Andrew and I experimented recently with one of the specialty items. It worked just as well but no better than the improvised spaetzle maker.
If you would like to vary your spaetzle experience just a bit, during the summer, when fresh basil is plentiful, try Basil Spaetzle. Add 3 to 4 heaping tablespoons of finely chopped fresh basil to the flour when you make the above recipe. If you routinely double the basic spaetzle recipe, as I do, to 3 cups flour, add 1/3 cup finely chopped fresh basil, 1 teaspoon salt, four eggs and 1 cup milk. Be sure you have dried the basil thoroughly before chopping, or you will affect adversely the consistency of the spaetzle dough.
This recipe has been kitchen tested.
You can find the above recipe(s) listed in the Home Cookin' index. Tap on recipe index.