A few days ago Lara over at Wandering Fork posted a spaetzle dish and it totally gave me a spaetzle and cheese craving. Then I started thinking spaetzle, cheddar...aha brats. We had some Gigawatt Brats in the fridge from Bar 5 Meat. They had a nice heat from jalapenos and red pepper which I think added a lot to the dish. At the last minute, we decided to add some spicy brown mustard to the sharp cheddar sauce which added another perfect flavor layer.
So, why do we call it Wisconsin Spaetzle and Cheese? Well, to us, it just seems like a combination of foods we relate with our neighbor state all rolled into one big helping of comfort food. All it needs is a cold bottle of New Glarus Beer and I think you have a meal that would make any one from the Dairy State happy.
A note on making the spaetzle: The original Tyler Florence recipe says to push the dough through a large sieve or grater to make the spaetzle. There was no way this was happening with this loose sticky dough. Matt even tried pushing it through the garlic grater which just made a huge glob. I ended up just using my hands and dropping small pieces of dough into the boiling water. Try to keep the pieces thin an about 1/2-inch long.
Wisconsin Spaetzle and Cheese
(adapted from Tyler Florence)
1 1/2 c all-purpose flour
3/4 t salt
pinch of pepper
1/2 t dry mustard
pinch of nutmeg
3 large eggs, beaten
1/4 c + 2 T milk
Mix the flour, salt, pepper and mustard together. Mix in eggs and milk until you get a thick, smooth batter. Let sit 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, bring a big pot of salted water to a boil. Drop the spaetzle dough in a little at a time in small pieces. When they float to the top scoop out of the water with a strainer. Rinse with cool water and drain. You'll have to do this in a few batches and may have to add more water to the pot as you go.
Mustard Cheese Sauce
1/2 T unsalted butter
1 T all-purpose flour
1/2 c milk
1/4 c heavy cream
4 1/2 oz sharp cheddar, cut
pinch of salt
few grinds of fresh pepper
1 T spicy brown mustard
In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the flour and cook while stirring for 1 minute. Whisk in the milk and cream. Whisk while cooking until smooth and slightly thickened. Add the cheese & stir until completely melted. Stir in the salt, pepper and mustard.
Assembly and Cooking
2 brats, cooked and sliced into rounds (we used a spicy brat & I highly recommend that bit of spice)
a little grated cheddar (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 F.
Mix the spaetzle, sliced brats and cheese sauce together. Pour into a casserole dish. Top with the grated cheese.
Bake for 25 minutes until the cheese is melted and the top is golden.
Makes 4 servings.
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