Oktoberfest @home – Das Abendessen
A More Healthful Spätzle
While Oktoberfest 2020 may be cancelled, we can still celebrate Germanic food and drink at home. Oktoberfest has been celebrated in Munich since 1810 when it was held to celebrate the marriage of the crown prince of Bavaria (who became King Louis I) to Princess Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen. Eight years later, in 1818, booths serving food and drink were added to the festivities. By the 20th century specialty food and drink halls are constructed which hold up to 6,000 people! Every year, the mayor of Munich taps the first keg to open the festival. About two million gallons of beer are consumed at the festival yearly and other festivities include folk music, dance, and costumes; amusement rides; parades, and more.
This year the festival in Munich has been cancelled due to health and safety concerns related to COVID-19. But, we can take part in the fun at home. German food may not be as popular in the USA as American, Italian, Chinese, or Thai cooking, however, you can find an entrée or drink that is sure to suit your taste. What's more, when dining at home, we can choose healthier options that fit our dietary needs.
Mushroom and Onion Spätzle with Asparagus
Makes four servings
1 tablespoon butter
1 small red onion, chopped
1 teaspoon minced garlic
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sage
½ teaspoon nutmeg
½ teaspoon allspice
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 cups vegetable or chicken stock
½ cup fat-free half and half
2 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
8 stalks asparagus, chopped into ½ inch pieces
16 ounces chopped white mushrooms, divided
16 ounces dried spätzle or egg noodles
1 tablespoon carrots tops or fresh parsley
1 green onion, cut into ¼ inch pieces
Melt butter in medium pot. Add chopped onion and garlic and cook until onion starts to look transparent. In a small bowl, mix together salt, sage, nutmeg, allspice, ground cloves, and freshly ground black pepper and add to onions and garlic and coat them with the seasoning. Add stock to pot and bring to a boil. In a pyrex measuring cup, measure fat-free half and half and ladle a scoop of hot stock into it. Whisk in flour and cornstarch a little at a time to prevent lumps. Whisk flour mixture into stock. Allow to remain at a low boil until the sauce thickens. Once the sauce has thickened, whisk in the balsamic vinegar. Stir in eight ounces of chopped mushrooms. Keep warm on very low heat. While the sauce is boiling, prepare your spaetzle or egg noodles as directed on package.
Grease a frying pan with olive oil spray and heat. Toss the other eight ounces of mushrooms and asparagus in pan to coat with olive oil spray. Season the vegetables with freshly ground black pepper. Cook the vegetables on low to medium heat until they become slightly soft but while remaining crisp.
To serve, place a serving of spätzle on plates. Ladle sauce over the spätzle. Garnish with carrot tops or parsley and green onions. Place asparagus and mushroom around the spätzle with sauce.
For more Oktoberfest @Home ideas see:
Janae J. Almen is a professional music instructor, composer, sound artist, and writer. She has a BA in Music/Education from Judson University and a MM in Computer Music/Composition from the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University. She is the founder of Perennial Music and Arts and is passionate about sharing her love of music and arts.