Don’t be mad at me for saying this (especially if you’re a Canadian and it’s anywhere from December to March), but sometimes, just sometimes, I miss winter. I miss snow lightly falling, fireplaces, coming into a warm house, stomping off the snow, getting some hot chocolate going to warm up the children, or turning the oven on in preparation to make a meal for family or friends in which the scents and warmth please our senses. It’s such a comforting feeling.
I don’t miss the other parts of winter, the driving, the frozen windshields, the who-is-going-to-warm-up-the-car-for-the-kids battle … but I can’t deny I miss parts of the changing of seasons. To me, that’s when food was actually comforting, warming, inviting.
I have no objection to spending a whole day slicing, dicing, simmering, steaming, baking, you name it, it’s my happy place. But lets be honest, those kinds of days don’t always happen when it’s just too hot to do anything but siesta.
This recipe reminds me of a creamy meat stew that’s been simmered on the stove for hours as it warmed up my kitchen on a cold winter day. But instead, when it’s 30 degrees here, I can whip this up in under 30 minutes and still have comforting food. You can serve this over rice, mashed potatoes, or try something new, and make this spaetzle.
What is spaetzle? The name comes most likely from the German word Spatzen which means “little sparrows”. Some say that before there were spaetzle tools, they would put dough into their hands like holding a little sparrow and put small pinches in the water. Another idea is that the dough was formed with two small spoons, making little oval shapes like little sparrows. How it got from Spatzen to Spaetzle is not clear. What is clear, is that it’s budget friendly, simple, and a delicious form of dumpling.
It’s really as simple as mixing everything in a bowl, and picking out tiny pieces with a spoon, or pushing it through a colander. If you are using spoons, make the pieces as small as possible, as they puff up when boiling. Toss a little olive oil into the water to help them not to stick together. They aren’t the prettiest dumplings out there, but they are goooood.
- 1/4 cup butter + 1 Tab
- 2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 1/2 cups chicken broth
- 3 Tab paprika
- 2 Tab flour
- 1 cup sour cream
Cut chicken into bite sized pieces. In a bowl, combine flour, paprika, salt and pepper and whisk.
Heat large skillet over medium heat. Melt 1/4 cup butter. Add chicken and saute until chicken is lightly browned on each side. Remove chicken from pan.
Add remaining 1 Tab butter to pan and saute onion until it is translucent. Return chicken to pan. Add chicken broth and gently simmer over low heat until chicken is cooked through. Remove chicken (leave broth) from pan and tent loosely with foil.
Stir 2 Tab flour into the pan and boil until the sauce has thickened to your liking. Add sour cream and return chicken to the pan and coat with the sauce.
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 4 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1/3 cup milk (not fat-free or light)
In a bowl, stir the flour, eggs, milk, and salt until smooth (dough will be very wet, this is what keeps them moist, resist the urge to add more flour).
Put on medium pot of water to boil. Take serving spoon and dip into hot water. Take small amounts of spaetzle mix and drop into water. (or alternatively, pour dough into a colander coated with cooking spray, place over boiling water, push dough through in small pieces drop into boiling water). Cook for two minutes or until dumplings are tender and float. Remove with a slotted spoon, toss with butter.