Technically the official celebration Oktoberfest is over, but here in the States some celebrations continue on to mid-October. I couldn’t let the month pass without an excuse to whip up some of my favorite German food.
I’ve already celebrated properly with plenty of German beer at a new bierhaus in Brooklyn that was serving up beers not commonly seen on this side of the pond. However, I felt that I was still seriously lacking in the food department.
Insert this spaetzle. I don’t need Oktoberfest as an excuse to make it – it’s generally on my menu rotation at least a few times a year.
Not familiar with spaetzle? All you have is a simple dumpling, the batter is cooked in boiling water and then transferred to an ice bath to stop the cooking. The tiny dumpling cooked in a matter of seconds and can be made ahead of time. When you are ready to eat, just saute them in browned butter, bacon fat, duck fat, olive oil, with onions, cheese, bacon, etc. . . the options are limitless.
I had a little fun and went seasonal with my recipe, adding some pumpkin puree. Squash puree would be fantastic too and feel free to play along with the spices. I look at the base batter as a canvas, ready to painted.
Your spaetzle batter should be a little thicker than pancake batter. I like to let it rest after mixing together. Generally, by the time your water is boiling, the batter has rested enough. To get the dumpling shape, use a ricer, or a colander and push the batter through.
1 leek, halved and thinly sliced, light green and white parts only
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
salt and pepper to taste
In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, pumpkin puree, eggs, salt and nutmeg. Pour in the milk and mix well, making sure all the dry ingredients are incorporated. Set aside.
Bring a large pot of salted water to boil.
Prepare an ice bath and set near the stovetop.
Using a potato ricer, spaetzle maker or colander, add the batter to the water about 1 cup at a time. With a slotted spoon remove the spaetzle as soon as it floats to the top. Place the cooked spaetzle in the ice bath. Continue with remaining batter.
In a saute pan over medium heat, add 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil and saute the leeks until soft and translucent, about 10 minutes.
Melt the butter in with the cooked leeks and add the spaetzle. Lightly brown and season with salt and pepper.