Germany: Spätzle, Bratwurst, und Rotkohl

Sometimes you think you have a decent grasp on how large a project is going to be and then other times it becomes 10 times more complicated, messy and time consuming than you thought. Well… spätzle was one such adventure…

In layman’s english terms we had cheesy egg noodle things, with sausage and sweet pickled red cabbage for dinner. I was worried about this one, as the meal came together I was getting more concerned as to whether or not we would be eating ham sandwiches for dinner if this meal didn’t work out…. but it surprised us all! The juicy sausages with the rich cheese ‘pasta’ and the sweet acidic cabbage- the meal was well balanced and delicious!

I bought some beer bratwursts at out local discount grocery. I cooked them in a hot dry pan, flipping them periodically till the centers reached 165. That was it for the wurst, so easy!

For the Rotkohl I pulled out my mandoline and kicked Martin out of the kitchen while I used it. Rational or not, mandolines freak me out and I want Martin to start kindergarten with all 10 fingers! Once I was done cutting and the tool was safely out of the way, Martin rejoined me as we started to cook the cabbage in a pot. Its the type of recipe that you cook for a long while occasionally stirring. So we actually did this recipe first so that it could continue to cook while we made the rest of dinner. I made it with half a head of cabbage but kept the rest of the ingredients the same. We still had a lot of left overs but it was delicious! You can find that recipe here: https://houseofnasheats.com/german-red-cabbage-rotkohl/

Next came the epic-mess-maker, the dear-Lord-why-am-I-doing-this-with-my-3-year-old?! Spätzle! I have zero pictures of any of this process, for that I’m sorry so I will do my best to accurately describe the scene.

First, what is spätzle? Well it is a type of egg noodle. A simple spiced batter is made, then small droplets are dropped into simmering water in small batches. The water cooks the spätzle and when it is done it begins to float! You then scoop the cooked noodles out of the pot and place them in ice water to stop the cooking. From here you can eat it cold, add cheese, gravy or add it to other dishes- the possibilities are endless!

Now for our experience…

The spätzle mixture is like pancake batter, thin but thick. You can either use a spätzle maker or a wide colander, or a large holed grater to form the ‘noodles’; I opted for the latter. Martin would ladle this thin batter onto a paddle grater. I would then, very quickly, transfer it over a pot of simmering water (as it was dripping out the holes). Then use a spatula to force the rest of the batter into the water. Repeat till all the batter is done, stopping every 3 scoopfuls to lift the cooked spätzle out of the pot and into a bowl of ice water.

Once all the batter was cooked, I transferred half the cooked spätzle into a pan with butter and some grated swiss and gruyère cheese. Once the cheese was melted it is ready to serve!

One important and unique thing to note is the spice in spätzle, the recipe calls for fresh grated nutmeg. Unfortunately, I didn’t have any but Google told me Pumpkin Pie Spice was a good substitute, so thats what I used. For all its mess, we had fun and Martin kept telling me how much he loved making spätzle… so was it worth it? 100% YES!!

If you want to brave making this one and are prepared for the messy cleanup to follow then try it out! You can find the recipe I used here: https://houseofnasheats.com/german-spaetzle-recipe/

In the end our trip to Germany for dinner was epic, and so worth it!

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