I have had the most wonderful week with my little 9 year old niece – Jade. Spending time with her, I am reminded of the wonder of childhood. Her sparkling mind and eyes have illuminated my home and her eagerness to cook with me has been so inspiring. Jade is adept in the kitchen – rattling off her “cheese puff” recipe it soon becomes quite clear that this little lady is fearless in the kitchen. After a short debate she encouraged me to make something new – that I had never made before and we would make it together, our own adventure. So – Spaetlze it is!
I have had my eye on these babies for a while – to my utter joy and delight Spaetlze were served with the lamb shanks that we ordered at The Goat Shed at Fairview. To my amazement they are not the same as pasta as I had always imagined – they are rather like little angel’s giggles ……. They are soft and light and willingly carry the flavour of their host dish on their delicate transparent angel wings.
Jade had chosen – cotolette (crumbed chicken breasts) for dinner – so with the addition of exotic mushrooms in garlic and herbs – we had the makings of a good meal. I had a ball at the wine farms in Cape Town – how I long to spend days and days wandering from farm to farm sampling their vino’s and food! What a treat it is to go wine tasting. I had some Meerendal Chardonnay 2007 (R70.00 at the farm shop) nicely chilled in my fridge – ready and waiting to cut through the creaminess of the Spaeztle. I think that my pallet has matured somewhat – I am beginning to enjoy certain lightly wooded chardonnays! My home is brimming with some handpicked, totally wonderful wines now, so I shall happily share my wine pairing experiences with you over the next few weeks …… until they are all gone!!
Cotolette di Polo
Crumbed Chicken Breasts
For the Cotolette – Crumbed Chicken Breasts.
The secret of cotolette is to cut your chicken breasts transversally and to bash them nice and thin. If you do this they cook in literally two minutes and from one pack of chicken breasts you will yield a whole pile of cotolette.
Monique – churns these out by the dozens – literally! I buy large packs of de-boned chicken breasts – Monique crumbs the lot – and packs them away in freezer bags of 6 at a time. They de-frost in a jiffy – and are ready and waiting in your freezer to save your bacon when unexpected guests arrive or for those days when you have neither the time nor the inclination to cook!
4 de-boned chicken breasts cut in half – if they are juicy plump organic breasts you can cut
them in half transversally – if not just cut in half and bash thin.
1/2 cup of flour
2 cups of bread crumbs
2 eggs – beaten and mixed with a dash of milk
salt and pepper – to season the egg mixture
Using a meat hammer – bash your chicken until nice and thin. Be careful though – don’t pulverise the chicken! If you are taking out the days frustrations on the poor unsuspecting chicken – it’s a good idea to place a piece of cling film over the chicken – to protect it.
Dip the breast into your flour and coat each side
Then dip it into the egg wash
Then into the bread crumbs – use your hand this time to flatten the chicken into the crumbs – this way you get a good coating of crumbs!
Crumb the lot and put them in the fridge for about half an hour – this stops the bread crumbs from falling off when you fry them.
You can season the bread crumbs if you like too – i like to finely chop fresh rosemary and add some origano – salt and pepper.
For spicey bread crumbs add chopped thyme, 1/2 tsp of coriander, 1/2 tsp of cumin and 1/2 tsp of chilli powder.
For a lemon version – add the zest of two lemons to some finely
The combinations are endless!!!
Now for the Spaetzle.
2 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1 cup milk
a good grating of nutmeg
100g melted butter
a good splosh – approx 200ml fresh cream
freshly ground black pepper
I adjusted this recipe as I found that the batter was too thick to go through
my colander, which in the absence of a Spaetzle Hex (a Spaetzle making gadget)
was my Spaetlze making machine.
Combine the flour, nutmeg and salt.
Whisk the eggs and milk together and
making a well in the middle of the flour – add it to the flour
and mix well.
Jade cracking eggs like a pro!
Pour the batter into your colander and using a soup ladel
stir the mixture – small amounts of the batter dribble
through the holes – into a bath of boiling, salted water.
They need literally a minute or two in the water to cook.
Remove them with a slotted spoon and
plop them into some melted butter – which keeps them nice and moist.
Soft – gentle little Spaetzle – which means Sparrow in German.
Add a generous grinding of black pepper and fresh cream
and you are in store for a treat!
Crumbed Chicken Breast with Spaetzle and Exotic mushrooms – and an ice cold
glass of Meerendal Chardonnay!
What a fabulous meal we had!
Always serve the cotolette with lemon wedges!
Next post – Jade and I made a Roast Loin of Pork in Plum Sauce!