Some of you may be shuddering in horror at the thought of haluski made with anything but homemade noodles, potato dumplings or egg noodles, but the way I see it, as I browsed through recipes of "authentic Slovakian haluski," no one could agree on what noodle/dumpling/potato addition was right. So I said, what the hell, spaetzle are a noodle-type dumpling, right? I like to walk on the crazy side sometimes.
The verdict: It was fantastic!
The spaetzle soaked up all the flavor of the dish without being too doughy. I used fresh-cut slab bacon from the butcher's counter instead of packaged bacon, and I have to say, I think that made a huge difference. If it makes sense, that bacon tasted more "bacony" than any other bacon I've ever had. Its saltiness complemented the cabbage's sweetness perfectly.
Adding the caraway seed was a last-minute inspiration, but it worked. I can't wait to eat the leftovers tomorrow after the flavors have melded even more.
- 1/2 pound slab bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1/2 white onion, sliced
- 1 head of green cabbage, cored and chopped coarsely
- caraway seed
- garlic powder
- caraway seed
- cooked, buttered spaetzle*
- Cook the bacon until nicely crisp, then remove to a paper-towel lined plate.
- To the rendered bacon fat, add the sliced onion and cook over medium-high heat until they start to soften.
- Sprinkle some garlic powder over the top and then add the chopped cabbage.
- Cover to let steam. Cook for five minutes covered, and then stir to be sure it is cooking evenly. Add a little bit of salt, pepper and caraway, stir and cover again.
- Let it cook down, stirring occasionally, until the cabbage is soft but not limp. It should still have a little bit of bite to it.
- Add the buttered spaetzle, and combine well. Let it cook for a minute, then add the reserved bacon pieces.
- Taste to check the seasoning and then serve.
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon ground pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/8 teaspoon ground caraway seed
- 4 large eggs
- 1/2 cup milk
- In a large bowl, combine the flour, salt, pepper, caraway seed and nutmeg.
- In another mixing bowl, whisk the eggs and milk together.
- Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the wet ingredients to the dry ones.
- Combine well until smooth. This will be somewhere between a dough and a batter, and it will be quite thick. Let it rest for 10 to 15 minutes.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
- To form the spaetzle, press the batter through your handy-dandy spaetzle press into the water, one batch at a time, cooking for about 5 minutes, until the spaetzle is all puffy and have floated to the top of the pot. stirring gently to prevent sticking.
- If you don't have a spaetzle press, you can use a large holed colander or slotted spoon over the simmering water and push the dough through the holes with a spatula or spoon.
- Scoop out the spaetzle with a slotted spoon and set in a bowl to rest.
- Add a small pat of butter and stir well.