The Spätzle Sieb

The Saturday before New Year’s my wife sent me down to Klammerth on Herrengasse to buy a Spätzle Sieb.

She had forgotten hers in America.

I walked downtown and found my way to the Spätzle Sieb section of the store, where I was given the choice of an old-fashioned kind of sieb that has a sliding compartment in which you put your dough (E41.50) or a new-fangled one that is a scooped out piece of stainless steel with holes like a cheese grater (E29.50).

I opted for the cheaper one. In this case, cheaper is relative, because E29.50 for a piece of stainless steel with holes is outrageous.

But it makes damn good spatzle. And my wife was very happy with it.

According to her, spätzle are easy to make, but then she is a wicked cook. You just mix together an egg, a soup spoonful of oil or melted butter, and a cup or so of water or milk. Gradually whisk in white flour and a pinch of salt until you have the consistency of chewed kaugummi, not too soft, not too stiff. Press some of the dough through the holes of the sieb into salted boiling water. When the spätzle rise to the top and the water is a bit foamy, they’re done.

We had them with chicken goulash: equal parts sliced onions and meat sauteed well, lots of sweet Hungarian paprika, salt and water to cover. When the meat is falling-off-the-bone tender, my wife makes a slurry of flour and cold water and adds that to the stew to thicken it a bit.

Paprika is the powder made from dried pimento chiles or bell peppers. It can vary in spiciness and depth of flavor, from bright, red mild paprika to pale, pungent hot powder. It reminds me a lot of the red chile we have in New Mexico, only that powder is significantly more spicy than the hottest paprika.

My wife’s mother makes a potato goulash that is fantastic. She uses a milder type of paprika, fewer onions and chicken stock instead of water for the broth, It’s great.

Traditionally in Austria goulash is eaten with white bread, though I am crazy for spätzle.

2 Comments so far

  1. grenz (unregistered) on January 8th, 2007 @ 3:59 pm

    Spaetzle = Awesome!

  2. elle (unregistered) on January 11th, 2007 @ 11:49 pm

    Yes, the prices are a little outrageous. I went in there yesterday looking for a kitchen timer – they ranged from 14-17E! And this is not a fancy kitchen time either.. it’s for the wind-up kind.

    They promised to have more timers under 10E in two weeks – the promised peppers, tomatoes, eggs, chefs and lemons that tick.

    Get your bancomat ready!

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