You don’t need to travel to Munich to eat this traditional German spaetzle dish called Jägerspätzle! This Bavarian classic is often served at the Oktoberfest and makes for a seriously exciting family dinner.
They are small dumplings made from flour, eggs and milk. The sauce is a delicious rich Mushroom gravy, perfect for fall!
My recipe was handed down to me by my Bavarian grandmother, so it’s 100% authentic and tastes simply amazing.
Are you ready for Oktoberfest? Beer, Bratwurst and bad hangovers? Let me confess something to you: Even with all my glorious Bavarian heritage I have never been to any kind of Oktoberfest party in my entire life.
Though I was in Munich one time they were setting up for it. Totally counts, right? No? Oh well, it was worth a try.
Now you’d think that with a Bavarian grandmother (and having spent most of my pre-kindergarten life with her and my grandad) I’d be somewhat a specialist when it comes to German food.
But believe it or not: My grandmother hates German food, especially of the Bavarian kind.
She never tires of telling me how much she despised all the heavy meat dishes and endless supply of fatty foods as a child and instead basically lived off of vanilla pudding.
But take this with a grain of salt, my grandma tends to exaggerate (I guess we know where I picked up that trait, huh?).
Now there is one Bavarian thing my gran loved to cook for me when I was little and that was Spätzle with Jägersauce.
If you’ve never had them before you’re in for a treat!
They are basically a pile of small but insanely delicious dumplings which have the wonderful tendency to pretty much smother themselves in any kind of sauce you let them play with.
It’s a bit more work than throwing pasta into the water (and I suspect that’s why my grandma insisted on my grandad helping her making them every time) but the extra effort is absolutely worth it!
The batter needs to be beaten with a wooden spoon (preferably one with a hole in the middle) until bubbles form.
Then, after some rest, it needs to be turned into spaetzle.
While my gran had this cool special thing she could put onto the pan to make Spätzle I use a coarse metal grater and it works like a charm!
I mean, you could always go pro and get yourself a spätzle grater if you wanted.
All you want to do is bring some water to the boil, salt it well and pop your grater right on top of the pot.
Use a large spoon and drop about 1/3 cup of batter onto the grater. It will run through on its own but you can gently push it through by gliding over the grater with the back of your spoon.
Once the Spätzle float on top of the water remove them with a slotted spoon and drop them right into a hot pan with some melted butter.
Now there’s two rules you must absolutely obey to avoid ending up with one big glob of Jägerspätzle:
First and foremost you MUST do this in batches. Don’t drop more than that 1/3 cup of batter into the pan at once or the Spätzle will immediately start sticking together and if your pot is on the small side I suggest reducing that amount to 1/4 cup.
And the second thing: Guys, I’m sorry to say this but you really can’t be shy with the butter here. It will help your Spätzle brown nicely and keep them from giving each other too much love. And seriously, the butter just makes them taste even better!
And just in case you were wondering: Yes, Jägersauce does indeed mean “hunter sauce”.
And don’t worry about all the butter and cream in there either, this is an incredibly classic sauce and Escoffier highly approved of it. See? It’s all good.
(And if you don’t know who Escoffier was I suggest doing a bit of Google work if you’re at all interested in food. Hint: He invented the Peach Melba – and I’m kind of sort of obsessed with him!)
Jägerspätzle: German Dumplings with Mushrooms Recipe
For the Spätzle:
- 2 1/2 cups flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/3 cup water
- 1/3 cup milk
- 3 eggs
- Butter for finishing
!For the Sauce
- 5 tablespoons butter divided
- 1 shallot finely chopped
- 1 1/2 pounds mushrooms sliced
- 1 ounce white wine
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 2 cups broth
- 1/2 cup cream
- Bunch of flat leaf parsley chopped
To Make the Spätzle
- In a large bowl mix together the flour and salt. Add the water, milk and eggs to a measuring cup and whisk together well.
- Pour into the bowl with the flour and immediately start vigorously stirring the batter with a wooden spoon until there are no more lumps and you start seeing bubbles forming. Cover and rest for 30 minutes.
- When ready to make the Spätzle bring a large pot of salted water to the boil. Heat a large frying pan over medium heat and add a knob of butter to it.
- Place a coarse metal grater (or a special Spätzle maker if you own one) over the pot. Add about 1/3 cup of batter on top of the grater and gently stroke over it with the back of a spoon. Remove the grater and let the Spätzle cook until they come to the surface. Remove with a slotted spoon and drop into the hot pan. Proceed the same way with the remaining batter, adding more butter to the pan as needed.
To Make the Sauce
- Heat a large frying pan over medium high heat and add three tablespoons of butter to it. Add the shallot to the pan and cook until starting to brown.
- Add the mushrooms and continue to cook until softened. Deglaze with the white wine and cook until reduced. Add the broth and tomato paste, reduce to a simmer and cook until reduced to a thick sauce. Finish with the remaining two tablespoons of butter and the cream.
- Serve on top of the Spätzle and garnish with chopped parsley.
If you don't have a coarse grater you can use a wooden chopping board instead: Place some batter on it and push small amounts into the pan with the help of a knife. It's a bit more work and they are a bit oddly shaped but still as delicious!