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 inthe sixties by Time-Life Books.
½ cups all-purpose flour
3 ½ tsp. salt
2 eggs, lightly beaten
½ cup milk
2 quarts water
2 tablespoon lard, melted and cooled + 1 tablespoon lard
In a large bowl, combine the flour and ½ teaspoon of the salt. Pour in the eggs, milkand the cooled, melted lard in thin streams, stirring constantly with a largespoon, 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-quartsaucepan. Set a large colander over the pan and, with a spoon, press the dough through theholes of the colander into the boiling water.*
Stir the dumplings gently, then boil briskly for 6 to 8 minutes, or until they aretender to the bite. Drain the dumplings thoroughly.
Melt the remaining tablespoon of lard in a heavy 10-to-12-inch skillet and drop in thedumplings. Stirring constantly, cook the dumplings for 1 or 2 minutes, or until they aredry. Serve at once, as a side dish.
Yield: Serves 4.
There are stores which sell special items for this process. They work well butmay be unnecessary. I have found that an insert from one of our deep-fat fryers has holeswhich are a perfect size for spaetzle. If you have such an item already taking up space inyour kitchen, or something similar, feel free to improvise. Just hold insert over waterwhich is at a “rolling boil,” drop in a cupful of spaetzle dough, rubthrough holes with a wooden spoon, allow to cook a few minutes, until they are all merrilybobbing around on the surface of the boiling water, then skim off the top and do anothercupful.
Andrew and I experimented recently with one of the specialty items. It worked justas well but no better than the improvised spaetzle maker.
If you would like to vary your spaetzle experience just a bit, during thesummer, when fresh basil is plentiful, try Basil Spaetzle. Add 3 to 4heaping tablespoons of finely chopped fresh basil to the flour when you make theabove 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, foureggs and 1 cup milk. Be sure you have dried the basil thoroughly beforechopping, or you will affect adversely the consistency of the spaetzle dough.
This recipe has been kitchen tested.
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