Okay okay this article isn’t about some tacticool new gadget or breath-taking revelation of the current drama du jour. Nope it is about food.

Wednesday, I asked MrsMac at breakfast what she wanted for dinner that night. Her reply was an old family recipe called sour meat. My grandmother taught me to cook, bake, sow, can fresh food, and many other cool things and one of her recipes was sour meat. She was of Pennsylvania Dutch heritage and married into a German family so many of her recipes took on flavors from the hinterlands.

I went down to the basement and pulled out 2 1/2 -pounds of stew meat. Put the meat in the microwave hit the defrost setting and while the microwave was whirring away, I went into the pantry to grab some wide egg noodles. Damn! I looked and looked but no noodles. A major part of having sour meat is putting it over noodles or spatzle as my grandmother would usually do. Not flustered by this recent development I went back to the cabin’s recipe box and pulled out my grandmother’s recipe for spatzle.

Spatzle is a noodle made with eggs, flour, and milk or water which seems to have come out of southern Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Hungry, Slovenia, Alsace, Moselle and South Tyrol. MrsMac has accused me more than once of being “a cesspool of worthless information”. I will move on….

My grandmother use to put the spatzle dough onto a small floured wooden board and quickly chop the dough into strips as it fell into the boiling water to cook. Me being of a more modern and gadget driven generation I use a spatzle cutter.

Spatzle cutter sprayed with vegetable oil

The recipe is simple. In a mixing bowl whisk two eggs. Then add 1/2-cup of milk or water and a good pinch of salt maybe two. Mix in two cups of flour and mix. If the ingredients are to dry add some more water, a tbsp at a time till you end up with a grout type consistency. (Serves four)

Spatzle dough ready – Grout like consistency

Grab a 4+ quart pot, fill with water and bring to a boil. Throw into the water a hand full of salt and bring the water back to a boil again. Once the pot of water is bubbling away again it is time to load up the hopper of the spatzle cutter but first spray the cutter with vegetable oil spray. Cleanup will be so much easier if you do this step. Once sprayed, load up the cutter’s hopper. Place over the boiling water and run the cutter back and forth. The hopper moving back and forth will force the dough through the cutting holes and fall into the boiling water.

Cutting Spatzle

Once the spatzle floats to the top it is cooked. Remove from the water using a slotted spoon and place on paper towels or a clean dish cloth to drain. After a minute take the spatzle off the towel and place in a bowl with some butter. The butter adds flavor and keeps the spatzle from sticking together.

Cooked spatzle floats to the top


Drain spatzle with paper or cloth towel

Viola! You now have Germanic style egg noodles. All told from the first egg going into the bowel to taking the first spatzle out of the pot it takes about 15-minutes. Since you took my advice and sprayed the spatzle cutter before you put the dough into the hopper with vegetable oil spray cleanup is a breeze.

Finished product dotted with butter and ready to serve

Put the spatzle on a plate and liberally cover with your stew. Pour a glass of Riesling wine – I like Chateau St. Michelle – and add a colorful vegetable like broccoli or carrots to the plate.  Left over spatzle can be reheated in a frying pan with butter. I do this and serve with my Wiener schnitzel or Schwein schnitzel recipe.

Thank you Nana, for all that you taught me.


Freedom Through Self-Reliance®


Here is my Nana’s sour meat recipe with a few JohnyMac twists. This stew is not for the faint of heart as it is sour and sweet at the same time. I use this recipe with beef, elk, or venison. Enjoy.

Kurz Sour Meat Recipe – Serves four

2 to 3 pounds of beef, elk, or venison cubed 3/4″         1 chopped large sweet or Spanish onion

2 cups beef broth                                                           1 cup apple cider vinegar

1 tsp pepper                                                                   2 Bay leaves

Flour                                                                               1 cup dry red wine

3 tbsp Olive or vegetable oil                                          1 tsp salt

Salt and pepper meat then douse with flour. Put oil into skillet and fry meat till a caramelized point. Remove meat and throw into hot skillet chopped onions and cook till translucent. Add wine and boil down a bit – Maybe 25%. Put meat into a porcelain Dutch oven (Not cast iron as vinegar will react with the pot) or slow cooker. Add the onion wine mixture to the meat along with bay leaves and beef broth. Cover and cook on the stove at a very low simmer or in the slow cooker at the 4-hour setting for a total of time for 4 to 5-hours. About the 3-hour mark, take a potato masher to the stew to break down the meat further. At the 4-hour mark taste the stew to see if it might need a tsp of sugar or not. When you use a sweet onion this probably will not be necessary. When done, serve over egg noodles or homemade spatzle.