Vera’s Spatzle, a set on Flickr.
This recipe is so simple, and the results so incredibly delicious, that you’ll want to serve it with more than Chicken Paprikas—I imagine it would be a fine accompaniment to Hungarian Goulash, for example, or beef short ribs—anything that seems to call out for a comforting side dish such as this.
5 large eggs
1 tablespoon salt
Boiling, salted water
One large yellow onion, chopped
4-6 tablespoons salted butter
Kosher salt and pepper
Beat the eggs and the salt until frothy. (I find that my Kitchen-Aid stand mixer is ideal for this task—it’s less ergonomically stressful than using a hand-mixer. I use the flat beater, not the whisk.) Add the flour in increments, beating well after each addition. You will reach a point when you’ll need to stir in the last additions of flour until the mixture hangs to the spoon. (If you take a look at the photo gallery, you’ll see two pictures with a utensil that resembles a carpet beater. I bought this at Laurel Run, a wonderful cooking school in Vermilion, Ohio, not far from Oberlin, where I used to live. I find it’s a great tool to use when working with heavy doughs. A wooden or metal spoon will work just fine, though.)
Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add salt.
After years of experimenting, this is the best technique I’ve stumbled upon: using a small silicone spatula, scoop up some of the dough and, with a spoon or a knife, cut the dough into the pot of boiling water. The silicone helps the dough slide off and into the water more easily than using a metal spoon for the job. Note: If the spätzle break apart when they splash into the water, you’ll need to take a moment and add a bit more flour to the mixture. Be careful not to let them sink to the bottom of the pot.
Your objective is to achieve dumplings that are fairly uniform in size, like those in the pictures. They look like small loofah sponges, don’t they?
Continue this dough-cutting process until all of the Spätzle have been formed and are merrily boiling away in the water. Continue boiling for about 15 to 20 minutes, or until the largest Spätzle are done inside (I scoop the largest out with a spoon and cut it in half with a paring knife. If it still looks doughy inside, it’s not done yet.)
Drain the Spätzle in a colander and rinse them quickly with lukewarm water. At this stage, if you are not planning to complete the recipe, you may store them in the refrigerator, up to one day, in a bowl covered with plastic wrap.
When ready to serve the Spätzle, sauté the chopped onion in butter until translucent; add salt, pepper, and the drained Spätzle, and cook until they are warmed through and coated in the butter and onions.
And no, this is not a dish for people on a diet.
Serve with Chicken Paprikas, or experiment with other pairings.