Swabian maultaschen (or literally “pockets”) are a local German delicacy that you’ve probably never heard of. Although it’s common fare in the Swabia region of Germany, it is relatively unknown outside of the area around Stuttgart.
A savory meat-and-spinach filling is wrapped in delicious pasta dough, and then cut into appealing pockets. A touch of freshly ground nutmeg adds an unexpected but totally pleasant bit of spice. Enjoy them plain, roasted, or as an addition to your vegetable soup.
When it comes to local specialties, Swabian cuisine has a lot to offer. There are many recipes that derive from this region, and Swabia is known throughout the German-speaking region of Central Europe as a foodie hotspot.
If you have read about Swabian Spaetzle, you might remember the distinct history and tradition connected with that recipe. This dish also has a story behind its name that is worth being told.
If you look at a whole “pocket,” you can’t see what’s inside and you don’t know for sure what you are about to eat. It is said that this was an important fact for the monks of the Cistercian Monastery in Maulbronn.
The monks developed this meal to eat during various fasting periods, and hid the meat in the pocket’s dough so that God could not see their secret filling. I would describe this as a fairly clever idea, not without a big pinch of cheekiness.
Well, one has to admit that the idea of filling pasta dough with meat or vegetable isn’t completely new. Just think about Italian ravioli or tortellini.
If you then consider that religious refugees from Northern Italy were living in area surrounding the Maulbronn Monastery, it’s possible that they could in fact be of Italian origin.
There are different variations of how to serve them, and of course you are not bound to these ideas and can create your very own pocket dish however you like.
One possibility is to add them to your vegetable soup or broth like a potsticker. Another idea is to either roast the whole pockets in butter and serve with roasted onions, or slice them up and then roast the pieces.
If you can’t eat all of the pockets that you produce using the recipe outlined below, you can freeze them and use them as needed. Also, you may be creative when it comes to the filling. Try a vegetarian version with pureed vegetables or hummus instead of the ground meat. Either way, you’ll need a blender or a food processor to speed up the process.
About Nina-Kristin Isensee
Nina lives in Iserlohn, Germany and holds an MA in Art History (Medieval and Renaissance Studies). She is currently working as a freelance writer in various fields. She enjoys travel, photography, cooking, and baking. Nina tries to cook from scratch every day when she has the time and enjoys trying out new spices and ingredients, as well as surprising her family with new cake creations.