Monday, November 3, 2014

Jägerspätzle (German Noodles with Mushroom Sauce)

The Hubs and I recently took a trip to Germany. To celebrate his upcoming 40th birthday, he really wanted to go to Oktoberfest (the real one), so we headed off to Munich! Now, I expected this leg of our trip to be more focused on the beer (or bier!) than on the food. And there was plenty, PLENTY, of beer. But I was surprised at how much I enjoyed the food, particularly one night when we ate at a biergarten called Augustiner-Keller. If you are ever in Munich, I highly recommend it. Anyway, since we've been back I've thought about German food in a new way, and that's what led me to try this recipe for Jägerspätzle. Well, that and how delicious the photo looked on this Savory Nothings blog where I found the recipe. Even though we have a pretty solid spätzle recipe (here's the link), we decided to give this new one a try. It made a lot more spätzle, but it didn't have the flavor that our other recipe had, and it was a bit chewy for me. But the mushroom sauce was really good. As always, I could have reduced it a little more to get the sauce a little thicker, but the flavor was nice and warming. Perfect for the cooler weather we've been having, and it definitely reminded me of our trip to Germany.

Spätzle Ingredients
2½ cups flour
½ teaspoon salt
⅓ cup water
⅓ cup milk
3 eggs
Butter for finishing

Sauce Ingredients
5 tablespoons butter, divided
1 shallot, finely chopped
1½ pounds mushrooms, sliced
1 ounce white wine
2 cups broth (I used chicken, but you can use beef or vegetable)
1 tablespoon tomato paste
½ cup cream

We started with the spätzle dough so that it could rest a bit while we started the sauce. Whisk together the water, milk and eggs first, then put the flour, then salt on top of the wet ingredients and use a spoon to gently mix the dry ingredients together a bit before mixing everything together. I personally added a little white pepper and a little nutmeg to the dough, and I felt they could use probably a half teaspoon more of salt. Use a wooden spoon to rapidly stir the dough until there are no more lumps and bubbles start to form. You'll also feel like your arm's about to fall off. Cover and let it rest for about 30 minutes. 

Next you can start on your sauce. Melt three tablespoons of butter in a large skillet over medium high heat, then add the shallot and cook until it begins to brown. Then add in the mushrooms. Cook for about 7-9 minutes until the mushrooms begin to soften and get a little color, then deglaze with the white wine and reduce. Next pour in the broth and tomato paste and let it simmer until it becomes a thick sauce. I could have been a little more patient with this part, I believe. Finally, add in the last two tablespoons of butter and let them melt, then pour in the cream. Let the sauce warm back up, and it's ready to go.  
To make the spätzle, get a large pot of salted water on to boil. We have a $7 spätzle maker that works awesomely and is so worth the money, but if you don't, just use a coarse grater. Gently use a spoon to help the dough fall through the grater into the water. It will fairly quickly float to the surface and it's done. Use a slotted spoon or a small mesh scoop to get them out. Melt a little butter in a skillet and lightly fry the spätzle for a few minutes until it gets a little bit of color, and then move to the plate. Top with the mushroom sauce, and enjoy a little taste of Germany. 

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