Tuesday, October 4, 2011

German Cooking Lessons for the Whole Family

Besides being lovely house guests, our recent visitors from Germany afforded the added bonus of being good cooks!  In my house this is big, since neither hubby nor I are blessed with any degree of culinary skill.  After I baked a very simple and bland lasagna for them one evening, K (our female guest) offered to make one the following week.  Do you mind it spicy? she asked.  Heh, c'mon, we eat Mexican food three times a week around here, I thought, and besides, Germans are not known to tolerate spicy.  Well, I'll be darned, that lasagna knocked our socks off.  More paprika and cayenne pepper than a Hungarian goulash!  It was fabulous.

Anyway, I definitely saw an opportunity here to wheedle a little cooking lesson from K, and quickly decided on Spätzle, my favorite German side dish.  I had made them once before with the guidance of one of my cousins after she gifted me a Spätzle press, but I had never attempted the dish since.  Basically, Spätzle are just soft egg noodles, but once buttered, or topped with melted cheese or homemade cream sauce, they are excellent alongside any kind of meat or even as a meal in themselves.

So, one afternoon when we were all home, out came the Spätzle press:

The ingredients are simple:  6 eggs, 2 cups flour, a pinch of salt, and sparkling water.  Very slowly add flour to the six beaten eggs with a mixer.  When two people do it together it ensures smooth dough with no lumps:

My daughter learning to make Spätzle.

As the dough thickens, occasionally add a teaspoon of water to the mix until you've reached the consistency of sticky pancake batter.  In the meantime, boil a pot of water.

When the water in the pot is boiling, place the press on top of the pot.  Drop Spätzle dough on to the press and quickly rub and squish the dough through the holes.

This is the fun part!

The pressing must be done quickly because the dough-droppings (do you like that term I just made up?) should only boil in the water for one or two minutes before being removed.  Remove them with a small sieve and keep warm while you add more dough to the press and begin again.

Spätzle in boiling water.

When our Spätzle were done on this lovely cooking afternoon, we spread a layer of them into a casserole dish and topped them with a layer of grated Gouda cheese.  We repeated the layers once more and baked the dish for 15 minutes in the oven.

Bake 15 minutes at 350°.

K also whipped up some Rahmsoße, or cream sauce, with mushrooms.  My son stepped in to help with this one:

That evening we enjoyed a delicious German dinner of Spätzle both baked with cheese and topped with cream sauce and we adults enjoyed a bottle of Spätburgunder wine - a black grape pinot noir - produced in our guests' little town of Dorfprozelten, Germany, that they had brought from home.

A dinner enjoyed by everyone!

This post is featured on Expat in Germany's Food Friday.


  1. Hi! I'm a new follower from Random Deals Wed blog hop. Following you on GFC and Twitter. Please check me out too, www.saving4change.com. Have a great week!

  2. Hi! Stopping by from the blog hop! I make a mean Hungarian String Bean Soup with homemade spoon noodles! (have the recipe posted on my Frugal New England Kitchen Blog)
    Hungarian Garden Fresh String Green Bean Soup with Spoon Noodles

  3. Sounds delicious! Why don't I ever get house guests that can cook??

  4. I'm impressed, I've never even attempted to make Spätzle, but this looks delicious.


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