Sunday, August 12, 2012

Germany and Spaetzle

Rheinfels Castle Sankt Goar
We had 3 days in Germany as a short layover trip before heading to South Africa.  Breaking up the flights was wonderful, and we were able to explore some new parts of Germany.  We landed in Frankfurt and took the train to Bacharach, in the Upper Middle Rhine Valley.  After the quick 1.5 hour train ride, we found our pension and set out to explore.  The first day we walked up to the Berg Staleck, which is perched above town, took a quick train ride to Oberwessel and meandered around the sleepy town of Bacharach.  Our second day was spent taking a train ride and short hike to the Berg Eltz. The third day we spent the day riding the Rhine on a boat, exploring the Rheinfels Castle ruins and the Marksberg Castle.  (See photos below recipe).

Germany has many foods that I do not appreciate.  One thing I do love is Spaetzle, an eggy noodle meets dumpling made by dropping bits of dough/batter into a pot of boiling water.  The process is messy, but the end result is delightful.  I described 2 methods for boiling the spaetzle.  I preferred the tablespoon/teaspoon method, but if you have a colander with larger holes than mine you might like that way.


Herb Sauteed Spaetzle
Adapted from the comments on this post: on Smitten Kitchen.  I made the recipe in this post and found it to be much too soft and eggy (think scrambled eggs).

100 grams all purpose flour (3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon)
100 grams whole wheat pastry flour (3/4 cup)
3/4 teaspoon nutmeg, divided
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 eggs
6 tablespoons lukewarm water
3 tablespoons butter
3 shallots, cut into small dice
1 tablespoon grapeseed oil
1/2 cup chopped herbs, I used parsley and dill, but others would work well also
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Combine flour, 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg and salt and whisk together.
The Tablespoon and Teaspoon Method
2. Add eggs stir with a wooden spoon until combined.  Add water and beat with the wooden spoon until smooth dough forms (1-2 minutes). Allow to set 30 minutes.
3. Heat a large pot of water to boil.
4. Prepare a cold water bath for the finished spaetzle.
Option 1: Tablespoon and Teaspoon
5. Fill the tablespoon with dough, dip the teaspoon into the boiling water, and scrape small pieces into the water.  As they float to the top, remove with a slotted spoon and place into cold water.
Option 2: Colander
Spaetzle served with roasted broccoli and salad
5. Hold a colander over the pot and spoon 1/4 of the mixture into the colander. Use a rubber spatula to push the dough through the holes into the boiling water.  As the spaetzle float to the top, remove with slotted spoon and place into cold water.
7. Strain the cooled spaetzle and set aside.
8. Heat a large skillet over medium heat and melt the butter in it.
9. Add the shallots and reduce heat to medium-low, cook for 10-15 minutes until beginning to brown.
10. Push shallots into one side of the pan, add the grapeseed oil to the other side of the pan and allow to heat.
11. Pour the spaetzle into the grapeseed oil and allow to brown slightly before stirring and browning on all sides.
12. Remove from heat and sprinkle with remaining nutmeg and stir in herbs.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Enjoy immediately.

Altes House, Bacharach
City Wall, Bacharach
Path to the Berg Eltz
Berg Eltz
Rheinfels Castle Ruins
Tunnels in the Rheinfels walls
German Wine Country
Marksberg Castle
Comic Relief


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