Local Swabian Food

Local Swabian Food

Swabi­an food is sim­ple, hearty fare that relies on ingre­di­ents that were his­tor­i­cal­ly avail­able in every sea­son. That’s why there are so many dish­es based on meat and home-made egg noo­dles. Today many chefs have cre­at­ed veg­e­tar­i­an ver­sions of some of these clas­sics, but they remain stick-to-your-stom­ach fill­ing.

We’ve cho­sen to high­light the dish­es that are most rec­og­niz­able as Swabi­an, all of which remain pop­u­lar in Stuttgart to this day.

Maultaschen

Maultaschen

Maultaschen are per­haps the most dis­tinc­tive­ly Swabi­an dish. They are essen­tial­ly large ravi­o­li, tra­di­tion­al­ly filled with meat, onions and spinach. They are var­i­ous­ly served in a savory beef broth, pan-fried, steamed, or cut up over a sal­ad. Mod­ern ver­sions include maultaschen served burg­er style and veg­e­tar­i­an spinach-and-cheese maultaschen.

Maultaschen have an irrev­er­ent his­to­ry. It seems they were invent­ed by the monks of Maulbronn Monastery as a way of cir­cum­vent­ing the ban on eat­ing meat dur­ing Lent. Sup­pos­ed­ly God would only see the noo­dle “purs­es” and not notice the meaty fill­ing... or at least wink at it.

Käsepätzle

Käsespätzle

Spät­zle are noo­dles made from a sim­ple vis­cous dough of flour, egg and water. The dough might be scraped in small pieces into a pot of boil­ing water, or squeezed through a spe­cial press also known as a spät­zle.

Käs­espät­zle is noth­ing like your typ­i­cal Amer­i­can “mac & cheese.” The fresh-made noo­dles are lay­ered into a casse­role with caramelized onions and grat­ed Emmen­tal cheese, then baked in the oven. It’s often topped with crispy fried onions, as pic­tured here.

Linsen & Spätzle

Linsen & Spaetzle

This dish is as sim­ple as its name: lentils are soft-boiled with vine­gar then served over the tra­di­tion­al Swabi­an egg noo­dles: spät­zle. It is a favorite dur­ing the long cold months in Stuttgart.

For the meat lovers, a cou­ple of long Sait­en sausages are usu­al­ly served on top. For good mea­sure, a large slice of Rauch­fleisch, smoked pork bel­ly, may be added as well.

Zwiebelrostbraten

Zwiebelrostbraten

Direct­ly trans­lat­ed as “onion roast,” this roast beef is cooked in a rich gravy fla­vored with gar­lic and of course, onions. Although the dish is not unique to Swabia, here it is usu­al­ly served with the local spät­zle or fried pota­toes. It is tra­di­tion­al­ly served for Sun­day din­ner, but you can try it in any Swabi­an restau­rant.

Stew up some ox meat in broth, boil some pota­toes and spät­zle, and you have a thick stew fit for a ... sol­dier! Here’s how the sto­ry goes: the stew got its start in Gais­burg, now a dis­trict in Stuttgart. It was so pop­u­lar among sol­diers that even remote­ly sta­tioned men were will­ing to make the long march back to Gais­burg to enjoy it. For­tu­nate­ly today it’s avail­able all over the region, so no march­ing is nec­es­sary.

Although spät­zle are by far the most pop­u­lar form of Swabi­an pas­ta, schupfnudeln are quite spe­cial to the region. The dough is made half from nor­mal wheat flour and half from pota­to flour, in addi­tion to egg and water. This is an exam­ple of cost-sav­ing efforts: when peo­ple ran out of flour, they made do with pota­toes.

The name schupfnudeln comes from the rolling motion use to cre­ate the fin­ger-sized pieces. They can be first boiled or else direct­ly pan-fried. Schupfnudeln are com­mon­ly served with sauer­kraut, as pic­tured here.

Saure Kutteln

As with so many region­al spe­cial­i­ties, Saure Kut­teln is a dish that was once a way of eat­ing very eco­nom­i­cal­ly. Lit­er­al­ly trans­lat­ed as “sour tripe,” it is made from rumen, one of the stom­achs of a cow. The tripe is sliced, fried in but­ter, and dust­ed with flour. Then it is cooked in a sauce made sour with wine and/or vine­gar and tra­di­tion­al­ly fla­vored with bay lau­rel, juniper, and pep­per.

Laugengebäck

Brezeln

Every­one asso­ciates Brezeln, pret­zels, with Ger­many. How­ev­er, you might be sur­prised to learn that “Brezel” describes only the shape – the sig­na­ture looped knot. These large soft pret­zels are sold with but­ter smeared inside the largest curve, topped with cheese and bacon, and around deli sand­wich­es.

More broad­ly, all “pret­zel dough” baked goods are called Lau­genge­bäck. They come in a huge range of shapes, each with their own name (pref­aced with Lau­gen-). The crack­ly exte­ri­or and soft chewy inside makes them under­stand­ably pop­u­lar at any time of day.