Spätzle and Schnitzel for Oktoberfest! Every time October rolls around, I get spätzle and schnitzel on the brain (sometimes spelled “spaetzle”). There’s an onslaught of Oktoberfest activities and boom! I’m thinking German food, lederhosen, and of course, beer. This is where my weekly clients benefit from my seasonal approach to menu planning. What better way to celebrate than with spätzle and schnitzel? Plus it’s fun to say. Spätzle and Schnitzel!
This version is kind of a mix between Germany’s “Münchner schnitzel” because I add a bit of mustard to the egg wash and “rahmschnitzel” because I serve it with a cream sauce.
Use these guidelines and try it out for yourself!
Brown Butter Spätzle
There are many different kinds and shapes of spätzle. I still use the recipe from ye ol’ culinary bible, The Professional Chef. I bought the book even before I knew I was going to go to school and then it ended up being the required text. Pretty cool I thought. Like, a sign or something.
Anyway, there are a lot of different ways to create shapes and pass it into the water, but I really like the “hopper” style like you see in the video and my trusty rusty book.
This recipe makes enough for 10 generous servings:
5 oz milk
8 oz water
1 lb. AP flour
4 oz butter (1 stick)
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
Whisk together the eggs, milk, water, and salt. Then whisk in the flour. Dough should be loose, a little stickier than a pancake batter. Let it rest for a few minutes while the water comes up to a boil.
Pour the dough into the hopper while slowly moving the hopper back and forth. Multi-tasking with both hands or some help from a second set is key here.
When the spätzle floats to the top of the water, remove it using a spider or large slotted spoon and reserve in a bowl.
Melt the butter in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Watch it carefully and swirl around occasionally. When the butter starts to brown (and smell amazing), add the spätzle to the pan. You may need to work in batches here depending on the size of your pan. Let the spätzle get a little golden brown on one side and then flip and repeat a couple times. Salt to taste. Add finely chopped herbs if you wish!
I really like to use pork tenderloin for this. Cut one into about 1-inch medallions, lay some plastic wrap over all of them and pound with a mallet or bottom of a pan until flattened to about ¼ inch. The tenderloin is super tender and will flatten very easily so don’t get all Hulk smash on it right away. Feel it out.
Then bread it using the standard breading procedure, pan fry in oil until golden brown and crispy on each side and Ta DA! Schnitzel!
Standard Breading Procedure
What’s the standard breading procedure, you say? One time, my in-laws asked me about how to make chicken parmesan and I said, “easy! Just use the standard breading procedure.” They all laughed and laughed.
I thought, Duh, right? Not really. Sometimes I forget that not everyone knows this stuff.
The standard breading procedure is a dust or dredging of flour, then a quick dip in egg wash, followed by a coating of breadcrumbs.
I always err on the too-much side. I’m okay with tossing out a little extra flour and breadcrumbs to save myself from the time and effort of washing the hands and replenishing the “standard breading procedure station”. And don’t forget to add a pinch of salt to all of them!
For this schnitzel, I add a little Dijon to the egg wash and use regular breadcrumbs (not panko).
Tart Red Cabbage
I wanted my cabbage to be BRIGHT red. I mean, atomic. Just for fun I guess. So, I bought a beet to slice up and add to it which would also add an earthiness. Turns out I didn’t need it. Now there’s one lonely beet sitting in my crisper drawer.
Thinly slice about a half a head of red cabbage. Sauté it in a large pot with a little oil and a pinch of salt until wilted down a bit. Add about ½ cup red wine vinegar and simmer over medium low heat until the vinegar is reduced to almost dry. Taste it for salt, sour, and texture. I like it a bit crunchy still like a raw sauerkraut, but if you want it cooked more, add water if it’s tart enough already, or more vinegar to braise it a bit more. Cook it to your liking.
Whole Grain Mustard Cream Sauce
This one’s easy! In a small sauce pot, reduce 2 cups cream until thick and about 1 cup remains. Add in a good quality whole grain mustard to taste. The only mustard that truly has my heart is Old World Style Maille. I use about half of the bottle. Season to taste and your sauce is ready!
Spätzle and Schnitzel Do-Aheads
You can make the cabbage and sauce ahead of time. Just reheat the sauce before serving and you can serve the cabbage hot or cold. When cold, it does resemble sauerkraut a bit which is nice if you’re into that kind of thing.
You can bread the schnitzel and keep it in the fridge until you are ready to pan fry. This actually helps the breading stay on more.
You can also boil the spätzle ahead of time, but if you do, be sure to shock it in an ice bath to stop it from cooking and rinse it off or it might stick together on you.
Serve with BEERS.
Let me know if you try any of these components out!
Cheers! Or “Prost!”