Maultaschen are a Swabian (Baden-Württemberg, Germany) specialty food, consisting of an outer layer of pasta dough with a filling traditionally made of minced meat, smoked meat, spinach, bread crumbs and onions and flavored with various herbs and spices (e.g. parsley and nutmeg). Similar in appearance to Italian ravioli, Maultaschen are usually larger, however, each Maultasche being about 8-12 cm (3-5 inches) across.
Maultaschen are traditionally eaten either geröstet (cut into slices and fried in a pan with onions and scrambled eggs) or in der Brühe (simmered in vegetable broth), or geschmälzt (dressed with butter and onions), usually with potato salad.
pinch of salt
for each egg, half an eggshell of water
360-400g wheat flour (1½ to 1¾ cups)
Mix eggs with salt and water. Sift flour into a bowl and make a well in the middle. Break the eggs into it and blend all the ingredients together. Take out of the bowl and then knead the dough on a board until air pockets can be seen when the dough is cut. You can knead by hand or with a mixer.
Depending on the flour, if the dough is too thick add a little water or an egg white. The dough shouldn't be too soft. Form a ball and place on a board. Cover with a cloth and leave to rest. Now you can prepare the filling.
400g fresh spinach (1¾ cups)
20g diced bacon (about 3 strips)
20g butter (4 tsp)
1 small onion, finely chopped
3-4 stale rolls, crusts removed
150g ham or cold meat, diced (5 oz)
250g ground meat (pork and/or beef) (9 oz)
a pinch of salt, pepper and nutmeg
boiling saltwater or meat broth
Clean the spinach well, wash and blanch it briefly in boiling saltwater. Rinse with cold water, let it drain and chop coarsley. Braise the bacon in butter for a couple of minutes, add the chopped onion and spinach and braise for a couple more minutes. Soak the stale rolls in water until soft. Squeeze out the excess water and chop the rolls into pieces.
In a large bowl mix the above prepared ingredients with ham and ground meat. Add the eggs and season with salt, pepper and nutmeg.
On a floured surface roll out the noodle dough into rectangular sheets (about twice as wide as you want your Maultaschen to be). Use a tablespoon of filling at equally spaced 3 inch intervals all down the middle of one side of the sheet of dough. Fold the plain half of the sheet of dough over to cover the filling and press firmly on the spaces around the pockets of filling. Use a pastry wheel or cookie cutter to cut into 3 inch squares.
Put them into boiling saltwater or meat broth and let simmer (not boil) for 10-15 minutes depending on the size.
You can serve these hot in a bowl with a little of the cooking broth with chopped parsley, or topped with melted butter and sauteed onions. My favorite way to eat them is geröstet... cool the maultaschen, then slice into strips about 2 cm (3/4 inches) wide. Slice two small onions into rings and quarter rings, then melt butter in a pan and saute onions until soft. Add a little more butter and place maultaschen slice into pan with onions. Sautee until heated through, then add 1 beaten egg mixed with milk to the pan (I like to season my egg with onion powder, salt, pepper, and a small spoonful of Thai red curry paste). Stir mixture until egg is cooked but still soft, about 1.5 to 2 minutes. Serve!