So what do I make the week I find out I have the butters (aka bad cholesterol- LDL to be exact)?? Yep you guessed it, buttery spaetzle and schnitzel. And if you want to hear me go on a rant about making spaetzle keep reading….Tapping into my partial German roots, I have been craving this meal. Especially now that the weather is colder and it’s a perfect time to make it.
All week long I have been wanting to make it. Definitely a weekend dish and absolutely comfort food. It goes great with Riesling or Gewürztraminer. Also, a Grüner Veltliner would pair well, with it’s bright acidity.
- 1 lb of pork loin, thinly sliced and pounded to 1/4 inch thick
- Kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper
- 1 cup seasoned bread crumbs
- 1/2 cup of panko bread crumbs
- 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
- 1/4 tsp of onion powder
- 2 eggs, beaten and with a couple teaspoons of water
- 1 cup of flour, seasoned with salt and pepper
- butter and olive oil for sautéing
- 3 cups all purpose flour
- 1 large egg
- 3 egg yolks
- 1 3/4 cup milk
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 4 Tbsp butter
- 12-15 sage leaves, chopped finely
- 1 Tbsp mustard powder
Glazed Baby Bella Mushrooms
- 8oz of Baby Bella Mushrooms, sliced thin
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 2 Tbsp butter
- 1/4 cup vegetable stock (I used beef stock)
- salt and freshly cracked pepper
Ok, here is where I want to take a few to talk about Spaetzle. If you have ever had it, you know how good it is. It is also a super pain in the butt to make. I know some recipes that call for more of dough and cut method. That is fine. But, if I am going to make or eat it, I want the tiny free form pieces that happen randomly by passing through a vessel, such as a strainer. I know they sell spaetzle makers, but I don’t want a gadget for something I don’t make that often. Plus, I am moving towards getting utensils that have more than one purpose.
The first time I made it was in culinary school, and hotel pan was the perfect tool to use. And when I tried to replicate at home, I did not have a hotel pan. So a logical vessel, that one would assume, is a double boiler. EH! WRONG! I will tell you why! I tried that, and I ended up with a cooked dough ball sitting on top of the built-in strainer in the double boiler. If you look at the double boiler, the holes are too small for the rich dough to pass through in a timely fashion. When making spaetzle, it is a constant motion of scraping back and forth. So I couldn’t get the dough to pass quick enough, and it started to cook.
Being determined to get it right, this didn’t stop me. I then pulled open my cabinets to see what else I could use. At the time I only had mesh strainers. I cursed when I realized that was the case. Then I even got out the cheese grater, and tried that. It seemed to work ok, but it’s dangerous, and I highly don’t recommend that.
So it brings me to what I have settled on and find least hard to work with, a strainer, with larger slats. And a rounded scraper that molds to the inside of the bowl.
First thing I did was make the batter for the spaetzle. It needs time to rest, so this can be done an hour ahead, and up to a day ahead. Mix your flour, salt, pepper, and mustard powder in one bowl. In the bowl or cup with the milk, add your egg and egg yolks and whisk until smooth. Make a well in the dry bowl, and slowly stir in the milk mixture until smooth. The batter will have a thick consistency. Not quite dough, and not quite liquid.
Refrigerate, and let rest at least an hour. When your batter is ready, get a large pot of water boiling, maybe 6-8 quarts. Make sure to salt the water. Place your strainer over the pot. In batches add about a cup of batter at a time to your strainer, and use the scraper back and forth until the batter has passed through to the pot. This needs to be done swiftly and kept in constant motion. I’m not going to lie, you need arm strength.
Have a large bowl ready on the side, and when the dough has boiled 2-3 minutes and resurfaced at the top, transfer to the bowl. Drizzle with a little olive oil to keep from sticking. Not much, maybe 1/2 a tsp or so. Keep doing this until your batches are done.
From here, I set this aside and started to work on the schnitzel. What made the schnitzel a little easier was finding thinly sliced center cut pork loin already in the store. So I used it as it was. Get three bowls for your dredging. One for flour, seasoned with salt and pepper. One for the eggs beaten with a splash of water. And a third with the bread crumbs, salt and pepper, paprika, and onion powder. Flavor and season each bowl. It makes such a difference. But don’t overdo it.
Dredge each of your cutlets, and place on a large plate. When ready, heat a large skillet and add olive oil and butter to the bottom. I tried to make this semi-healthier by using olive oil mixed with butter. But I’ll worry about the butters another day. Cook the schnitzel until golden brown. If it browns faster than it takes to cook through, you can always place in the oven until it finishes cooking. I didn’t need to here, but use that method for many other things.
Mushroom prep- Slice the mushrooms and heat a large skillet. Add oil, and when shimmering throw in mushrooms. Add salt. Sauté until brown, and add stock. Simmer a couple of minutes and add butter.
Sautéing Spaetzle – In a large skillet heat the butter until it starts to brown, and add the chopped sage. Cook for about 20 seconds and then toss in the cooked spaetzle. Stir until fully incorporated and heated through. It should also brown a little and have some caramelized bits.
I try to have it all ready at the same time. So I’m usually with blinders on the last few minutes of cooking. But it was all worth it, and now my craving has been satisfied. Until the next time….and hopefully my butters (cholesterol) will be in a better place then.