Spaetzle is a traditional German egg dumpling that pairs perfectly with chicken paprikash and other gravy dishes. It’s quick, easy, and a favorite in my kitchen.
John grew up eating traditional Hungarian and German dishes. His Grandma Betty often cooked large family meals consisting of bean soup, chicken paprikash, and stuffed cabbage. As an adult, he tried to recreate some of his favorites, but never could make them the same. He even asked his grandmother for her recipes, and she would give him vague instructions and ingredients but always left some things out.
After I had become more skilled in the kitchen, I decided to try my luck at some of John’s favorites. I remember looking through several recipes on the internet and comparing them with Grandma Betty’s notes. We noticed slight differences in spices, but honestly, leaving a particular spice out of a recipe can completely change it.
Chicken paprikash was the first recipe of Grandma Betty’s that I attempted to make. To my amazement, John and Kale both loved it. It’s a dish consisting of chicken with a gravy heavy in paprika. The chicken and paprika gravy are traditionally ladled over a bed of dumplings or spaetzle.
Making the spaetzle was an interesting experience until I got the right technique and equipment. The first couple of attempts left my kitchen covered in sticky mess and took much longer to complete than necessary. I’ve since purchased a Danesco Stainless Steel Spaetzle Maker. Now I can make an entire batch of these awesome little dumplings in less than 15 minutes and with minimal mess.
If you don’t have a spaetzle maker, you can use the back side of a cheese grater and push the batter through with a wooden spoon. This method tends to take a little longer and is a bit messier but is still effective. John once told me his grandmother scooped her batter out into individual pieces with a teaspoon. I can only imagine how long that must have taken, but I do admire her diligence! 🙂
Prepare the Water:
Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil. I like to add a tablespoon of salt to mine for flavor.
Make the Batter:
While you wait for the water to boil, make the spaetzle batter. In a medium bowl, combine flour, eggs, milk, salt, and nutmeg. The mixture will be very sticky.
Cook the Spaetzle:
Place the spaetzle maker over the pot of boiling water. Carefully fill the open compartment on the top with a few spoons of batter, but don’t overfill. Slowly push the chamber back and forth across the grate to press the mixture into the holes. As the mixture falls into the boiling water, it will sink. When the batter floats to the top of the water, it is cooked. It will appear puffy and larger in size. This process takes less than 30 seconds.
Remove the spaetzle maker from the pot and using a slotted spoon, scoop the cooked spaetzle out of the water. Place cooked spaetzle in a large bowl. Repeat the process until batter is gone. After all the spaetzle is cooked, toss with butter.
That’s it! You have simple, easy to make comfort food. The spaetzle can be eaten alone, with chicken, beef, or a variety of gravies.
Used for this recipe:
- 2 cups All Purpose flour
- 4 eggs
- 1/3 cup milk
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
Mix all ingredients in a medium bowl until well combined. The batter will be very sticky.
Using a spaetzle maker, slowly drop batter into a pot of boiling water.
The mixture will initially sink to the bottom, but when it floats it is thoroughly cooked.
Using a slotted spoon, remove the cooked spaetzle from the pot.
Place cooked spaetzle in a large bowl.
Repeat process until all the batter is used.
Add butter to taste to the cooked spaetzle.