I woke up to a rainy day in the hills of Bavaria, and decided to fill the day cooking a few of the comfort foods I associate with Germany. Dumplings immediately came to mind. Of all the varieties of German dumplings, and there are many, I particularly adore spaetzle. These tiny, irregularly shaped dumplings are often served with a light gravy, or just butter with a dash of salt and pepper. Today’s recipe includes mushrooms and bacon, and is pretty delicious if I may say so myself! Before we get started, let’s do a few upper body warm-up stretches.
At home, I have a little gadget for making spaetzel. To use it, I simply scoop some dumpling dough into the white bowl on top, and slide the bowl back and forth over the hole-punched tray underneath. Tiny drops of dough fall effortlessly into a pot of boiling water, and in just a few minutes, I have a delightful bowl of dumplings. So easy!
Lacking my spaetzle maker, I used a strainer and the back of a soup ladle to accomplish the same task. It worked just fine, but the dough being quite elastic, it took quite a bit more effort than I anticipated! Don’t let that scare you off, just think of this recipe as the happy end of The Amazing Spaetzle Dumpling Workout!
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
8 slices bacon
8 ounces mushrooms, sliced bite size
1) Fill a large pot halfway full of water. Add a dash of salt and bring to a gentle boil.
2) Fry bacon in a separate pan. Remove bacon when crisp and set aside to drain on a paper towel. Add mushrooms to pan with bacon fat and allow to cook over low heat, stirring occasionally.
3) While bacon and mushrooms cook, mix together eggs, flour, milk, salt and pepper. Allow to rest for about 2 minutes.
4) Add half the dumpling dough to a strainer with holes about the size of a pencil eraser (a bit larger is OK, but NOT smaller!). Hold the strainer over the pot of boiling water with one hand, and use the other hand to rub the back of a soup ladle over the dough. Keep doing this until all the dough drops through the holes in the strainer. Your arms won’t fall off – it only feels that way!
5) When the dough drops into the pot, it will sink first and eventually float to the top. Dumplings are cooked through when they have floated on the top of the water for about 3 minutes. Scoop them out with a slotted spoon, set them in your serving bowl, and repeat the process with the other half of your dough.
6) By the time your dumplings are cooked, your mushrooms will be ready. Gently fold mushrooms and all pan drippings into the dumplings. Serve a scoop of spaetzle and mushrooms over a few leaves of romaine lettuce. Top with crumbled bacon, or serve bacon slices whole on the side. Enjoy!