Maultaschen on mixed mushroom ragout – Maultaschen auf gemischten Pilzen
Region – Swabia (Baden-Württemberg)
I love Maultaschen (Maultasche without the “n” is singular).They are definitely one of my favourite German foods. In a way they are a little bit like Italian Ravioli, only larger (8-12 cm (3-5 inches) across) and much better. They are pasta pockets stuffed with a variety of fillings, including ground meat, spinach, crème cheese, onions and a variety of herbs or spices. They can also be used to make a sweet desert.
While it is difficult to literally translate the word Maultaschen, it can be said that the word consists of two German nouns: Maul = mouth of an animal or derogatory for human mouth, and Taschen = Pockets.
They are said to have been invented by the Monks of the Maulbronn Monastry as dough pockest with a meat filling to conceal that they are eating meat in the fasting period during the 6 weeks leading to Easter. This has given them the alternative and more humorous term of “Kleiner Herrgottsbescheißerle” (literally translated: little pieces to cheat the Lord).
Since 2009 the European Community categorized Swabian Maultaschen as a true regional specialty with significant cultural heritage and only those manufactured in Baden Würtenberg or Swabian speaking regions of Bavaria can be called Maultaschen. That puts them on the same level as Champagne; imagine that! (Means nothing to me, I love them no less.)
Here is my variation of the Swabian Maultaschen:
Serves: 4 Difficulty: Medium Preparation time: 60 mins.
- 8 ready to use German Maultaschen (buy at your local German specialty grocer or use the instructions to make them yourself at the end of this recipe)
- 2 litres (8.5 cups) of (instant) chicken broth
- 250g (8.5 oz) of fresh Chanterelle mushrooms
- 250g (8.5 oz) of other mixed mushrooms (e.g.: penny bun, portobello, oyster mushrooms or others you can get and enjoy)
- 4 TBS pork lard
- 6 fresh scallions, chopped into fine rings
- 100g (3.5 oz) fine bacon bits
- 150g (5.3 oz) cherry tomatoes cut into halves
- 100g (3.5 oz) sour cream
- Splash of dry white wine
- 5 TBS of grated pizza cheese (e.g. Emmenthaler Cheese)
- 2 TS fresh or dried thyme
- 2 medium sized onions
- 1 TBS of sugar
- 1 TBS corn starch mixed in 3 TBS cold water
- Freshly ground nutmeg
- Freshly ground salt and pepper
- 2 TBS fresh parsley, chopped
Clean all the mushrooms with a medium soft brush or paper towel. Do not clean them using water! Cut into smaller chunks.
Rinse 6 whole scallions and cut into fine rings. Cut 150g (5.3 oz) cherry tomatoes into halves. Grate cheese (unless you use pre-packaged grated cheese) to yield about 5 TBS, chop fresh thyme (unless you use dry thyme) to yield about 2 TS. Cut 2 mediums onions into thin rings
Place 100g (3.5 oz) bacon bits into a cold frying pan and crank up the heat. Let bacon bits dissolve. Add 1 – 2 TBS of pork lard if too dry. Once dissolved add scallions and glaze for three minutes while constantly stirring.
Add all the mushrooms and more pork lard if needed. Add 2 TS fresh or dried thyme.
Stir for 5 minutes on high heat. Add a splash of white wine and 100g of sour crème. Remove from heat and stir until you have an even sauce. If the sauce is to thin, add some of the starch/water mixture and bring to a short, mild boil. Season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg to taste and remove from heat. (Don’t worry if it cools off… it will get hit in the oven later.)
Preheat oven to 240° or grill setting.
(If you don’t have access to ready to use Maultaschen, refer to Maultaschen recipe below, prepare them accordingly and continue from here onJ)
Bring two litres (8.5 cups) of instant chicken broth to a boil. Once boiling, remove from heat. Add Maultaschen to broth and let soak for 3 minutes. After three minutes, remove from broth and rinse with cold water. Let excess water drain in a strainer.
In a frying pan, melt 1 TBS of pork lard on medium heat. Add Maultaschen and fry several minutes turning them regularly until they have a golden brown crust.
Remove Maultaschen and set aside. Add 1 TBS of pork lard if needed and stir fry onion rings until they begin to turn brown. Add 1 TBS of sugar, and let onions caramelize for two minutes. Remove from heat.
On a plate, arrange mushroom ragout and Maultaschen. Decorate Maultaschen with the caramelized1 onions. Sprinkle cheese over it and place plates in heated oven for a few minutes until cheese is melted and golden brown.
Sprinkle with half a TBS of chopped parsley per plate.
Serve immediately (careful, plates are hot).
(Yeast) Beer, a dry white wine, or a very light red wine will go well with this dish.
Can’t find true Swabian Maultaschen… no need to panic… make’em yourself:
- 250g (8.8 oz) Flour
- 3 Eggs, plus one egg white,
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 1 TBS of Butter
- 100g (3.5 oz) frozen plain spinach
- 4 TBS finely chopped parsley, wild chives
- 1 clove of garlic
- 100g (3.5 oz) ground meat (preferably pork)
- 2-3 TBS of very fine bread crumbs
- freshly ground pepper and nutmeg
- flour for rolling the dough
- Fresh herbs you have available (be creative)
- 250 g of flour,
- 2 whole eggs;
- ½ TS salt,
- 3-4 TBS cold water
and knit well using the dough hooks of your mixer. Remove from bowl and knit with your hands until you have an even and smooth dough.
Wrap in saran film and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Glaze 1 finely chopped onions and 1 clove of garlic in a cooking pot. Add 100g or 3.5 oz ground meat. Stir well for 5 minutes. Add frozen spinach and let melt. Cover with lid and let simmer for 8 minutes while stirring occasionally until everything is soft. Drain the spinach/onion/garlic mixture well and press out any excess liquid (careful: hot). Season with freshly ground salt, pepper, nutmeg and any fresh herbs you have available.
Remove dough from fridge, knit one more time with your hands and roll to a thin dough with a square surface of about 40 x 40 cm.
Cut 25 Squares of 8 x 8 cm (3.5 x 3.5 inches) with a knife or a dough cutter wheel.
Place about 1 TBS of filling in the middle of each dough square. Use egg white and paint edges of the dough.
Fold over one corner in a diagonal so you have a triangular Maultasche and press down the edges with a fork so they are nice and tight.
Heat up chicken broth with 2l ((8.5 cups) of (instant) chicken broth. Once boiling, remove from heat and add Maultaschen. Soak for 3 minutes. Remove from broth and rinse with cold water set aside.
Your Maultaschen are ready. Now return to the section of the receipt where we preheat the oven.
Freeze any excess Maultaschen for later use.