What the heck are Maultaschen? Literally it translates from German to “mouth purses.”  Originally from Swabia in southern Germany, this dish is a meat and spinach filled noodle, similar to ravioli.  A meat-and-spinach-filled little purse of happiness for your supper!

Quoted from Wikipedia (which we all know is totally correct):

In Swabia, Maultaschen are the traditional dish associated with the Lenten commemoration of Maundy Thursday and Good Friday. During Lent, Catholics and other Christians are encouraged to refrain from eating meat. However, in a moment of German irony and humour, Maultaschen are associated with these days because the meat in the dish is concealed under the pasta dough and cannot be seen by God. Among the anecdotal stories regarding the origin of the dish, one claims that Maultaschen were created by the Cistercianmonks of Maulbronn Abbey for that purpose.[3] Indeed, a Swabian German nickname for the dish, Herrgottsbescheißerle, means “Little cheaters on God”.

The original recipe involves creating pasta by hand and rolling it out or using a pasta machine. Eh. I have not got that much time. So I did a little cheating of my own and used Wonton wrappers. It worked like a treat! We have Nasoya brand in our Safeway locally. I bought the square ones, but any shape will do.

I found a recipe on this website, but modified it a bit for my own tastes and for efficiency. If you don’t plan to make the pasta yourself, just skip right to the filling part and follow my steps.

Pasta Recipe

3 eggs
pinch of salt
for each egg, half an eggshell of water
360-400g wheat flour

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.

Filling Recipe

400g fresh spinach (About 2 cups, cut small)
20g diced bacon (1/2 oz.)
20g butter (1/2 oz.)
1 small onion, finely chopped (or, use a shallot)
3-4 stale rolls, crusts removed (I used three slices of whole-wheat sandwich bread)
150g ham or cold meat, diced (I skipped this)
250g ground meat (pork or beef) (About a cup)
2-3 eggs (I used two)
a pinch of salt, pepper and nutmeg
boiling saltwater or meat broth (6 cups chicken or beef 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. If you like your filling to be more like ravioli, process the meat mixture in your food processor for a few pulses. I didn’t do this step and found the filling to be tasty, but I think I would like the texture better when finely ground.

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First, soak two slices of bread in a little milk. We use Almond milk in our house, but any milk will do. Put just enough milk on the bread to soak, but not to swim.

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Cook the ground meat and onions along with the seasonings and bacon.  Cook until the meat is no longer pink.

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Let the meat mixture cool and taste for salt. Add in soaked bread and eggs (I used two) and mix really well by hand, squeezing the mixture together to form a paste. At this point, you could grind it in the food processor to make the mixture smoother. Add a little water, as needed, so the mixture is thick, but not dry.

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Next, get your mise en place ready. That’s fancy wording for lay out everything you need.  You will need: a cutting board, knife, beaten egg and pastry brush, wonton wrappers opened and covered with a damp towel, baking tray lined with waxed paper or parchment and a towel for wiping your fingers. It may seem a bit neurotic to lay everything out, but believe me, it makes your life easier if you have everything to hand and a landing place for your filled pillows of goodness.

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I made two at the time, once I got the hang of it. My supervisor is a friend’s dog we were dogsittiing. Yes, he is very dirty after all the playing in the yard and hikes we took with him! He approved of my methods.


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Fill the pillow with a scant teaspoon of meat filling. Yes, that is teaspoon! If you put too much in, the pillow will just explode and you’ll have noodle and meat filling floating around separately in your soup later.  Brush three edges of the won ton with egg and then fold over the wrapper so the edges meet perfectly. Press the edges all the way around, ensuring there  are no air pockets around the meat. Go ahead and squash away – you can’t hurt it.  After you fill the won ton, place it onto the baking sheet so it’s not touching another Maultasche.  They will stick together if you let them touch now.

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Continue to fill, egg wash, wrap and place the Maultaschen until you have used all the meat filling and your tray is filled to bursting with your lovely pillows.

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At this point, you can place the tray in the freezer and freeze the pillows until solid, then place them in a Ziploc freezer bag and store for up to 3 months.

If you want to eat your Maultaschen right away, heat up six cups of chicken broth with 1 teaspoon of dried thyme in a large pot.  Once it comes to the boil, drop in the Maultaschen one at the time, stirring after each addition. You will be able to cook about half the recipe at once. Fill the pot with Maultaschen until there is enough for your needed servings, but don’t overcrowd the pot.

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Cook for 8-10 minutes, or until the noodles are tender. Take one out after 8 minutes and test it.  Add salt and pepper to your liking.

I served it in a soup bowl with plenty of the broth. I also added some fresh spinach to the bottom of my bowl before adding the Maultaschen and soup, to make a hearty supper.

Lass es dir schmecken! (bon appétit!)

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