Chantal 30 April 2020

A Taste of Switzerland: Spätzli

If the lockdown has brought us anything, it’s improved cooking skills! From homemade pizza, to fresh gnocchi, without bypassing cinnamon rolls and stir-fry udon noodles, we’re on a roll to try it all. Who knows, we may even convert to become professional cooks instead of travel designers… okay, no, maybe not.

But as I was looking for new recipes to try this week, I thought it would be nice to try something Swiss for a change. If you can’t travel to Switzerland for now, why not bring a taste of Switzerland to you? So I asked Max (my main audience for my cooking adventures), what he would like (if that’s not five star service, I don’t know what is), and he immediately came up with “Spätzli”.

This super tasty dumpling-like local specialty is often found in local Swiss restaurants, particularly in the German-speaking part of the country. They’re very popular during the hunting season to complement meats and stews, though our favorite dish is when they accompany the good ole’ bratwurst (veal sausage) with onion sauce. But the beauty of spätzli is that they go well with pretty much anything, and they’re delicious just on their own too. You’ll find variations of spätzli in Germany, Austria, Alsace (France), and even some Eastern European countries.

There are many (many) recipes out there, but I gave this one a try and it was as easy to make as it was delicious. To make the spätzli shapes, you can either use a spätzli maker if you happen to have one at home, or otherwise a flat cheese grater will do the trick too. This cooking challenge has made me realize how much of a shame it’s been that I’ve been buying them store bought all these years… the taste of homemade spätzli is just incomparable. Depending on how adventurous you’re feeling, you can also make different sorts of Spätzli, adding in saffron, carrot, spinach puree, etc…  But let’s try our hand with the classic first.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of spätzli flour (all-purpose will work too!)
  • 4 eggs
  • ½ cup of milk
  • 1 ¼ teaspoon salt
  • Butter

You’ll also need…

  • A flat cheese grater or spätzli maker
  • Stand mixer with a whisk and dough hook… or just a hand whisk and your fingers will do!
  • Scraper
  • Two big bowls
  • Big slotted spoon

 

Steps:

  1. Whisk by hand or using your stand mixer the four eggs for 1-2 minutes, and put it to the side.
  2. In a bigger, separate bowl, mix together the salt and the flour. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture, and add the eggs. Slowly, mix all of these ingredients together with a wooden spoon. At this point you can also incorporate about half of the milk.
  3. If you’re using a stand mixer, attach the dough hook, and “knead” the dough for about 15 minutes or until bubbles start to appear. Make sure that your dough is not too firm, otherwise it will make it more difficult to press it to make the small shapes afterwards. If you’re finding it is too firm, add a little bit more milk.
  4. Once your dough is finished, bring salted water to boil, and then reduce to a slight simmer.
  5. Add the dough on your spätzli maker or flat cheese grater, and scrape the dough until small shapes fall into the water. Cook the spätzli for about 2-3 minutes and then fish them out with a big slotted spoon. I personally found it easier to do this step in small batches – I took a little bit of dough, scraped, cooked and put to the spätzli to the side, and then repeated again until all the dough was finished.
  6. At the end, heat a little bit of butter (or a lot, you know depending how you like it) in a pan, and add your delicious spätzli to reheat and add some flavor. Season to taste and enjoy!

We hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we did (you can see from Max’s face that he was a happy boy!) Don’t hesitate to send us your feedback by email at info@chantaletmax.com. Perhaps next time you’ll be able to enjoy this hearty specialty on a beautiful sunny terrace in the gorgeous Swiss Alps? But until then, bon appetit and take care!