This dish brings back memories of my great grandmother’s kitchen. It was tiny but functional. That kitchen even had an honest to goodness washboard and clothes wringer that I loved when I was a little girl. On Sunday nights, when the whole family was in town, she’d make a dish she pronounced “schneider’s fleck.”
Though her family were German Michiganders, I’m sure the dish had acquired the nickname over the years after the orignal name was lost. The closest I can figure is “schneider fleisch”, which means meat cutter. It was a wonderfully fragrant stew made with cut pieces of chicken and homemade noodles that we’d roll and trim with a ruffle-edged cutter. Often she’d serve it with big platters of fried chicken and bowls of homemade applesauce. Her recipe for schneiders fleck was simple. Chicken pieces. Onion. Salt. Pepper. Nutmeg. Noodles. Water. That’s it. Cook it and you’re done.
So enjoy this flavor interpretation of two of my childhood favorite tastes. This combination of ingredients for the spaetzle best duplicates the taste of her “a pinch of this and a pinch of that” recipe for noodles. I tried to follow the recipe she eventually wrote down, and they came out like lead! So try this one instead! The fresh nutmeg is key . . .
2 1/4 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2/3 cup milk
butter to taste
1. In mixing bowl, combine dry ingredients.
2. Add egg and milk and mix well.
2. Allow dough to rest and thicken for about half an hour.
3. Into 6 quarts of boiling water, drop dough through an extruder/spaetzle maker in small batches and cook. When spaetzle float after 2-3 minutes, remove to a serving dish.
4. Butter, season and serve as a side dish, or incorporate into soups.
This makes very soft spaetzle. If you prefer a chewier texture, add an additional 1/4 cup flour to mixture. For a more flavor-rich noodle, add a second egg and reduce the milk to 1/2 cup.
Substitution note: Water may be substituted for milk for a less rich dumpling.
1 pound veal, pork or chicken cutlets, pounded thin
1 cup flour
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup seasoned bread crumbs
salt and freshly ground black pepper
olive oil for frying
1. Assemble breading station with three bowls containing one ingredient in each: flour, beaten eggs and bread crumbs.
2. Dredge the meat in the flour and shake off excess.
3. Dip floured meat in beaten egg.
4. Coat meat with seasoned bread crumbs.
5. Heat oil in skillet over medium-high heat until hot but not smoking.
6. Fry cutlets in small batches until golden brown and remove to serving platter. Season to taste.
Substitution note: Choose your favorite meat for this sure-fire method of preparation. For an eggier coating, repeat steps one and two before breading. Excellent with homemade apple or cranberry sauce!