We’re home. Time to get cooking!
In my last blog entry, I posted a picture of the Cheese Spaetzle which my husband and I enjoyed during one of our delicious Chicago lunches. This led one of my friends to wonder exactly what spaetzle is. Spaetzle, or Spätzle, is a type of egg noodle often found in German cuisine.
I ♥ spaetzle.
I ♥ German cuisine.
So, inspired by my friend’s question and in order to show you what spaetzle is, I decided I’d cook it for the first time. Though I’ve eaten in many times in German restaurants, I’ve never actually made it myself. I wasn’t even quite sure how it was made. Since I was pretty clueless about the spaetzle-making process, I decided to search for a recipe. I landed upon a Tyler Florence recipe, which appealed to me for its simplicity and for the fact that it didn’t call for any special spaetzle-making equipment. If you’ve got a colander or spoon with large holes, you’re ready to make spaetzle.
I picked a colander which rested nicely on one of my saucepans. I filled the pan with water just high enough that it didn’t reach the bottom of the colander. This way, I was able to scoop a bit of the spaetzle batter into the colander and use a spatula to push it through into the boiling water. This worked beautifully. The batter dropped through the colander holes into the boiling water below and formed perfect little noodles. Just be sure to get right to work at pushing the batter through before it begins to cook on the bottom of the colander (which is exactly what happened to me while I paused to catch a picture). Tyler Florence’s recipe, found here, worked out perfectly. Excellent flavor and texture. Very easy to make! A definite winner in my book.
Once I’d settled on making the spaetzle, it didn’t take me long to decide on making schnitzel; Jaegerschnitzel, to be exact. Schnitzel is simply meat, typically veal or pork, coated in breadcrumbs and fried. Jaeger translates to Hunter, which refers to the type of brown mushroom sauce which is served over the schnitzel. Pork Jaegerschnitzel is, without question, one of my favorite German dishes and it makes a perfect accompaniment to the spaetzle.
As far as my Jaegerschnitzel recipe goes, I can’t speak to its German authenticity. Some references refer to Jaeger Sauce as a creamy mushroom sauce. I did not use any type of cream in my recipe. Feel free to add a bit of heavy cream, sour cream, or creme fraiche if it strikes your fancy. I was led by my Jaeger taste buds and authentic or not, my taste buds were quite pleased. Quite pleased indeed.
- 4 Boneless Pork Chops, about a pound total
- 1/2 pound Bacon, chopped
- 2 cups Mushrooms, quartered
- 2 Tbsp Olive Oil, plus more if necessary
- 1/2 cup Flour, for dredging
- 2 Eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 cup Bread Crumbs, plus more if necessary
- 4 Tbsp Butter
- 4 Tbsp Flour
- 3 cups Beef Stock or Beef Broth
- Salt and Pepper
To prepare the pork, cut each pork chop in half through the middle to create two thinner pieces out of each chop. You should end up with 8 thin-cut pork chops. Place the pork chops in a ziploc and pound, with a mallet or heavy flat-bottomed pan, to flatten to about 1/4 inch thick. Season each piece with a bit of salt. Then dredge the pork in the flour, dip in the lightly beaten eggs, and coat in the bread crumbs. Set the breaded chops aside.
In a large pan, over medium heat, cook the bacon until it just begins to get crispy, about 5-7 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to remove the bacon, leaving the rendered fat in the pan. Set the bacon aside.
Add the mushrooms to the bacon fat remaining in the pan and cook for 5-7 minutes over medium heat until the mushrooms are tender and lightly browned. Use a slotted spoon to remove the mushrooms and set aside.
Add 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil to the bacon fat remaining in the pan, so that you have a very thin, even layer of bacon fat/oil. Add the breaded pork cutlets and cook for 2-3 minutes on each side, over medium heat, until lightly browned and cooked through. Cook in batches, adding more oil between each batch, if necessary. Set the cooked pork aside.
**If the pan has any burned bits on the bottom, clean the pan before proceeding or use a new pan for the following steps.
Add butter and flour to the pan over medium heat. Whisk to combine. Cook for a minute or two. Then, gradually begin whisking in the beef stock. Bring to a simmer. Simmer for about 5 minutes, whisking frequently. The sauce will thicken. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Add the cooked pork cutlets, mushrooms, bacon, and any juices to the sauce. Gently move the pan to coat the pork in the sauce. Cook for a minute or two to reheat all components. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary.
Serve with warm butter-sautéed spaetzle.