I know you might think my timing is a bit off in sharing a German recipe that’s also proper comfort food. Pre-Oktoberfest, like the German pancake soup I shared then, would seem to make more sense. However it was when I was working on that recipe that reminded me about some of the other yummy dishes I used to have for lunch when we visited Germany and Austria when I was as a child. It just took me a little while to get round to it. Spaetzle, whether plain or herb spaetzle, was a common side to many dishes which I loved. However some places also served it as a dish in itself, particularly versions like this bacon onion spaetzle. Loaded up with tasty bacon, caramelized onions and a little bit of cheese, it’s quite definitely a meal in itself. And a delicious one too.
Using up leftovers
I made this bacon onion spaetzle for lunch one day as we had leftover spaetzle from the night before. Since I didn’t want to waste it, I knew I wanted to make bacon onion spaetzle the next day. It made a delicious lunch, great for a cold day but really anytime, as I used to have it in the summer in Austria. I realized this would also work with other small pasta as well, if you ever have any leftover before you cover with sauce, just follow the same basic recipe and add eg macaroni, orzo or whatever you have.
This is a dish I had now and again in mountain huts in Austria when we went there when I was little. We had many a hiking trip where something like this was just what you needed to get your energy back. Given the cooler weather at the moment, the comfort factor of this bacon onion spaetzle was just what I needed when I made it for lunch. Plus the fact the house smelt of bacon and caramelized onion for the next hour or so can never be bad either. I will admit, covering spaetzle with bacon and cheese doesn’t lead for the healthiest of dishes, but hey, now and again it’s worth it.
How it’s made
Caramelizing onions does take a little bit of patience. You really need a good half hour to get those lovely, slightly crispy bits on both the onion and the bacon. However I’d call it time well spent. Plus, it’s not as if you have to do all that much, just stir now and again as they cook. Once the onions are gently brown, you add in the cooked spaetzle (or other small pasta, if using), cook a few more minutes then add the cheese. Top with a few chives then serve.
Bacon onion spaetzle is such a simple but tasty, comforting dish that’s perfect for colder days. It’s a great way to use up leftover spaetzle, or other small pasta. But now I’ve reminded myself of the dish, I would also happily cook extra on purpose just to make this. Delicious flavors, it’s a slight indulgence that I for one need now and again. Try it and you may find the same.
Bacon onion spaetzle
Cheesy and comforting, and with bacon (because it makes everything better).
- 2 oz smoked bacon 55g (streaky, approx 2 rashers)
- 1 onion small
- 1 1/4 cups cooked spaetzle 170g (see other recipe, or use a small pasta)
- 1/2 cup gruyere 10g, finely rated, or other similar hard cheese
- 2-3 chives , finely chopped
Cut the bacon in to thin slices and finely slice the onions. Warm a small skillet over a medium heat and add the bacon.
After a couple of minutes, it should start to render some fat. At this point, add the onions. Continue to cook, stirring now and then, until the bacon is starting to crisp and the onions are turning a caramelized brown. This will take probably 25min or so. Don't let them burn - reduce the heat if you need to and if you are short on fat, add a little but there should be enough from the bacon.
Once the onions are nicely brown, add the spaetzle and cook another minute or two. Add the cheese, mix through, then serve with the chives sprinkled on top.
Try these other German/Austrian comfort foods:
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