This meal takes a long time to make, dirties every pot and pan in the house, uses tons of butter, and is completely worth it!
Over the years, I’ve learned how to prepare parts of the meal ahead of time so I can rest, then come back to finish it up. That way, I don’t end up exhausted when we sit down to eat 🙂
First: Mix the Swedish meatballs (using Pan #1 and Dish #1). I chop the onions as small as possible, and saute them in butter. (Butter Usage #1). We ran into a pork problem today, and ended up using a brat and an Italian sausage instead of unseasoned ground pork. The result was tasty, but richer than usual.
Second: Measure out the spatzele ingredients, one batch per bowl, reserving the milk. We fix about one batch per person, expecting leftovers. (Dishes #2, #3, #4) One trick is to mix the milk in just before it’s time to press it into the boiling water (Pan #2). Another trick is to get the texture of the batter just right- thin enough to press through the ricer, but thick enough to maintain it’s shape as it’s shaken into the water. One batch of batter fits perfectly into our ricer.
We scoop it out with a slotted spoon. Typically, it should be browned in butter right away. My newest energy-saver is to scoop it directly into a large bowl, then cover with a damp towel and leave in the fridge until I’ve rested. Actually, the spatzele should be mixed up, cooked, and browned right before eating.
Third: Melt some butter in a large pan. (Butter #2. Pan #3).
Make a gravy (this is the best part!) with the drippings, flour, and vegetable broth (or any kind of broth). Pour the gravy over the meatballs. Now they can be refrigerated until ready to finish baking. I sometimes do this a day ahead, although I only make the spatzele up to a few hours ahead.
Fourth: take a break! Clean up the dishes and pans. Rest.
Fifth: about an hour before dinner, put the meatballs in the oven.
Melt some more butter in a pan. (Butter #3, Pan # 4). Start browning the spatzele in small batches. Add more butter for each pan-ful (Butter #4, 5, 6…). Keep the spatzele warm before serving (Dish #6).
The guys all put ketchup on their meatballs and spatzele.
I think it’s gross, but the good news is the gravy is all mine!