Saturday, April 21, 2007

Our Austro-Hungarian Feast.

I went to the grocer the other day looking for ingredients for the weekend and found beautiful veal cutlets. Generally speaking we end up making veal parmesean but I really wanted to do something different. So instead we made weiner schnitzel and spatzle with a paprika gravy.

Honestly, I prepare the veal the same way whether it is for parmesean or schnitzel... first it is flattened a bit. This is done by Imelda who uses the marble mortar. For some reason, I find this a much better tool than one of those stupid mallets and it certainly has some heft behind it... then I just coat the piece in seasoned bread crumbs and then pan fried. Simple.

What we were concerned about during this dinner was the side dish... The spatzle.


Well because we made them from scratch. I had been convinced that this was a doable dish. and it turned about to be the case. Like everything that I cook, I looked up a recipe and then screwed around with it. In this case, we figured that the recipe was too big. I really didn't need spatzle for six.. That sounded like enough mini dumplings for an army and given the results that we got, I stick by that answer.

My version called for 2 eggs, 3/4 of a cup of milk, salt and pepper and 1 1/2 cups of flour that are combined with a wooden spoon until combined. Then the mess sits in the fridge for about an hour. So far so good. When it was time to cook my little dumplings of joy, I got a pot of water (salted of course) to a rolling boil...(Please note: on the stove in this rental this takes about 45 minutes... when my Btu dreams are fulfilled in about a week, I hope to decrease this time to about... um five minutes.)

Then the fun began.

In my imagination I expected to take the dough, load it into my potato ricer loaded with the biggest holed disc that I can find, push it through the disc and slice it off every 1/4 inch or so. Great plan, eh?

Well not exactly since the cutting process makes the dough stick together..yuck. It kind of works but it is kind of messy. 'Kay... lets try again... Now I try again but push the dough through and kind of jiggle the dough as it stretches and finally breaks off from the ricer.

The end result? Something a bit longer than I expected... BUT.... completely normal looking! WHEE! They were scooped out of the pot, drained and tossed into the pan that we cooked the veal in.. Traditionally spatzle are panfried with bread crumbs... So this worked. As you can see, they almost look edible (in my humble opinion)

This feast was served with a quick paprika gravy that was made of paprika, tomato paste and olive oil, mixed with veal stock (yes.. I cheat.. I use veal glace that I keep in my fridge.. and water... once it is cooked down a bit? I added a cup of sour cream. The thing I forgot? SALT I forgot that the glace has none... This is a pain the butt for me.. but the glace is really good.. it is just me that is stupid and forgets... or too lazy to make my own veal stock.. the choice is yours.

The fact is that dinner was amazing. so good. I expected Imelda, my 10 year old, to be enthusiastic about it as she helped cook it.. but she was overwhelmed by the flavor. Fun Daddy sang its praises also (although he sat watching Imelda and I cook.... The Angel? At the movies.)

What can I recommend? Take that trip between Budapest and Wein.. Try the schnitzel with spatzle and gravy.

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