Acorn Spätzle aka German noodle dumplings

Spätzle are the quintessential side dish of the Swabians in Germany’s South. Literally named “little sparrows” they are wonderfully chewy little egg noodles that are often served with roasts, lentils, or with made into the main dish with cheese and caramelized onions. Children who are judged too skinny are encouraged to “eat more Spätzle” and the Swabian brides of yesteryear were not ready for the altar until they had mastered the technique of “scraping Spätzle.” The traditional method involved a wooden board with a tapered edge. The dough, consisting only of flour, eggs, and salt, was spread thinly onto the board and scraped into boiling salt water. When the noodles rose to the surface, they were done and skimmed out with a slotted spoon. While I still have relatives that know how to do this, I grew up with a contraption that resembles a potato ricer, which gets the job done as well, though it is a pain to clean. My aunt discovered yet another device, it looks like a grater, except the tear-shaped holes are bigger and it comes with a conveniently shaped scraper. This was my first try, and it delivered in both the Spätzle and the clean-up department.

I discovered last year that acorns can be used as food and processed some into a delightful golden flour. I’ll have to blog about that process some other time. Anyway, it is difficult to find recipes that use acorns, so I was delighted to find a Spätzle recipe that uses this exotic ingredient, allowing me to perform two experiments at once. 😀

Acorn Spätzle (adapted from the recipe by Hank Shaw)

1/2 cup acorn flour
1 1/2 cups flour
4 eggs
1 cup milk or water
1 tsp salt

Combine the ingredients, whisking the eggs first. Allow the dough to sit for a bit so the dough is fully hydrated.

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Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Using a Spätzle board, grater, etc. or just a colander with appropriate size holes, scrape the dough into the salt water, skimming the Spätzle out whenever they rise to the top.

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