Swabian Cuisine – Maultaschen 3 Ways
I thought it was time to present you more of our Swabian cuisine, and today it’ll be Maultaschen. Maul is a not so nice word for mouth, and Taschen means pockets. So a literal translation would be mouth pockets. The origin of these apparently stems from Cistercian monks trying to cheat God during Lent, a time where they weren’t supposed to eat meat. They decided to just wrap the meat in pasta so God wouldn’t see it, hence their nickname Gottesbscheisserle, which literally translated amounts to little God cheaters.
While I called our Schupfnudeln the Swabian gnocchi, you could say that Maultaschen are the Swabian version of ravioli. Wrapped inside the pasta dough you’ll typically find a mixture of minced meat, sausage meat, spinach, bread crumbs and onions, flavoured with pepper, parsley and nutmeg. These days you can get all kinds of varieties, though, from vegetarian filling to cheese filled ones to fancy ones made especially for BBQing.
If you buy Maultaschen at the supermarket you want to get the ones from the number one producer, who happens to be located just 5 minutes from where I live. If you’re a proper Swabian Hausfrau, though, you make them yourself, naturally 😉 .
A couple of years ago our office team took a Swabian cookery course together, and one of the things we made was Maultaschen. There are three ways to cook Maultaschen, and today I’ll show you the basic version, which is the one you can also make into soup. The pasta dough is filled with the meat mixture, folded and cooked in salted water. After cooking you can either use them to make versions two and three – which I’ll show you in the next couple of weeks – and you can also freeze them at this point.
The typical way to make version number one, though, is to cook them in beef or vegetable stock instead of salted water, which is the most common way to eat them – Maultaschensuppe.
As I still haven’t got round to buying a new pasta machine, I used ready made pasta dough – supplied by the company that I mentioned above as the main producer of Maultaschen.
So let’s get cooking – I hope you’ll like this little gem of Swabian cuisine!
I used salt sparingly on purpose because you’ll either be cooking the Maultaschen in salted water or stock, which will also contain salt.
The dough : filling ratio is a matter of taste, but after making these I decided that next time I would use more dough per Maultasche, not in width but in length, so that rolling them / wrapping them up, the dough would go around the filling about 2½ times instead of 1½ times.
Maultaschen should not be flat like ravioli – they need to look like they’re bursting with filling. When they cook they will get wrinkly, but that’s exactly how they’re supposed to be.
What takes up the most time making this dish is cleaning the spinach and the chopping, so you might want to do that in advance.
I cooked my Maultaschen in vegetable stock instead of salted water.
1 bunch flat parsley
400 g fresh spinach leaves
400 g minced meat [beef, pork, or mixed]
500 g sausage meat
2.5 tsp salt
1.5 tsp pepper
1.5 tsp dried oregano
1.5 tsp dried marjoram
3-4 rasps nutmeg
2 tsp Dijon mustard
pasta dough [use your favourite homemade pasta recipe, or buy ready-made]
beef or vegetable stock
Peel and chop the onion, then sauté in butter. Set aside.
Wash parsley and chop finely. Wash spinach leaves and dry well. Cut out any thick stems, then finely chop the leaves.
Place chopped herbs, chopped spinach, mince, sausage meat and spices in a large bowl and mix well for a few minutes.
Roll out pasta dough and cut into rectangles, making the short sides face you. Place about a medium-sized ice cream scoop of filling on the top third of dough, flatten a little with a spoon [it can spread almost to the edges] and fold from the top down [see picture] until it’s a little parcel. Fold up the sides and press them together with a fork.
While you’re assembling the Maultaschen, bring your cooking liquid to a boil. You can either cook the Maultaschen in slightly salted water or in beef or vegetable stock. [see tip below!]
When you’ve folded all your Maultaschen and your stock is boiling, slide them into the stock – preferably in batches of not more than 10 at a time – and cook for 12 minutes. When each batch is done, remove them with a slotted spoon and set aside.