Cauliflower Paprikash with Homemade Spaetzle
I ran across this recipe in a Moosewood Cookbook that featured fast and easy weeknight meals. I’ll tell you, I thought I must’ve picked up a book with a misprint. Homemade noodles made from start to finish in 30 minutes or less? Weeknight meal worthy? No. It couldn’t be. Could it?
So I rolled up my sleeves and got cooking. Yes. I timed myself. Yes, dinner was finished in under 30 minutes. No, I do not keep a little hidden sous chef elf in my kitchen. Here is the result: Hungarian Paprikash with homemade wheaty spaetzle. With time leftover to do the laundry.
I had a few thoughts as I read over the recipe before starting the 30 minutes countdown timer. And the summation of my emotions after reading the recipe was the feeling of being ripped off. Who ripped me off? Not Mollie Katzen. Not this Moosewood Recipe. A quick google search indicated that this recipe stayed truer to tradition than my other paprikash recipe.
What’s my bone of contention? My other recipe calls from tomato sauce! Can you believe it? Instead of relying on a heavy dose of pure imported Hungarian Sweet Paprika, this recipe feigned authenticity by turning your noodles blazing red with tomato sauce, an ingredient that should not be included in paprikash. Ugh. The horror. In fact, I need to rename that other blog post to Pasta with Tomato sauce and some Sour cream stirred in.
Read the recipe thoroughly beforehand if you plan on making both the spaetzle and the paprikash. It is written so that you can juggle the two dishes simultaneously. Don’t blow your cookies and start chopping cauliflower until instructed!
Cauliflower Paprikash (serves 4, if you are having dessert)
1 medium onion, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
1 green bell pepper, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
3 tbsp sweet paprika
1/2 cup dry sherry
1/2 cup water
1 cup chick peas
pinch of salt
1 large head of cauliflower
1 cup sour cream (I used light)
salt and ground black pepper to taste
In a large soup pan or saucepot, saute the onions and peppers in oil for 2-3 minutes. Stir in the paprika, sherry, and water and cook on high heat for a minute. Add chickpeas and pinch of salt to draw out the juices. Lower the heat, cover, and cook for five minutes while you cut the cauliflower into florets.
Mix in the florets and simmer until the cauliflower is tender but still firm, 7 minutes. Remove the pan from heat and stir in the sour cream. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cover the paprikash and keep it warm until ready to serve, but prevent it from simmering or it may curdle.
Spaetzle (4 servings)
1 1/2 cups unbleached white flour
-I used 3/4 cup white, 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp salt
pinch of freshly ground nutmeg
pinch of ground black pepper
2 large eggs, beaten
1/2 cup milk
4 qts salted water
2 tbsp butter (optional)
Before you begin the paprikash, prepare the spatzle batter: combine flour, salt, nutmeg, pepper, eggs, and milk in bowl, and stir well. When you begin to saute the onions and pepper, start boiling the water in a large pot. After you add the cauliflower to the paprikash, place the thick spaetzle batter into a colander with large holes (or your handy-dandy spaetzle maker).
Set the colander on the rim of the pot of boiling water and using the back of a wooden spoon, push the batter through the holes into the boiling water. Lower the heat to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes, until firm but light. Remove the spatzle with a mesh strainer or large slotted spoon and place in serving dish. Add butter, if desired. Serve immediately.