Monday, September 12, 2011

Grandma's Fried Noodles (Spaetzle with Carmalized Pearl Onions)

When I first started dating Jay, our first big family dinner was Christmas Eve. We had been together about three months, and I had only met his parents. I was introduced to new traditions and cuisine. Jay is Polish and Christmas Eve dinner is a really big deal. It really is wonderful food, very fatty food, but very delicious. Of course there was Pierogi, but one dish I became obsessed with was Jay's Grandmother's fried noodles.

The fried noodles are firm but tender, sauteed in a massive amount of butter and onions. They were the perfect starchy side dish for the dinner. Then I found out, we only get them at Christmas. WHAT?!? Grandma makes them during the holidays. She makes them ahead of time and brings them on Christmas Eve to his parents, which are then re-heated. It seemed to be a mystery.

Over the years, I always took some home for leftovers. Jay and I would fight over them. After many conversations with Grandma, she said she would teach the women how to make them. Well last year, my mother-in-law learned, but I was out of town for the lesson. Seeing I will be out town for a while, I realized, I won't be able to learn the recipe. Bummer :(

Then a few months ago, while talking about the fried noodles, I learned they are spaetzle. What is a German dumpling doing at a Polish dinner? Anyhow, I found a box of spaetzle in the international food aisle at the grocery store. Perfect!!! I can make them myself.

I did it. Not to sound boastful, but they came out pretty darn good. Not knowing the exact amount of butter, onions, etc, I winged it. It is a perfect side dish to chicken, fish, or sausage. So here is my version of Grandma's fried noodles.

recipe (serves 6)

1 box of spaetzle (10.5 oz, found in the international food aisle)
4 tbsp. butter
1/3 cup pearl onion
salt and pepper to taste

Boil spaetzle according to manufacturers instructions. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, carmalize onions with 2 tablespoons of butter. This takes about 15 minutes or so over medium low heat. When the noodles are tender, drain and add to onions. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, salt and pepper to taste (about 1/2 tsp. salt & 1/4 tsp. pepper). Saute in butter for about 3 to 5 minutes until the noodles turn a nice golden brown.

They re-heat easily in the microwave or skillet. If they are a little dry just add another tablespoon of butter when heating.

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