Most people are familiar with creamy beef stroganoff served over egg noodles. I modeled this version on what I learned from chef Alexander Wolf at the Ritz-Carlton in Atlanta. He’s a German chef from Baden-Baden, and finger noodles are specific to that region. Finger noodles are almost like the love child of spaetzle and gnocchi. You make a dough from mashed potatoes, knead it real good, then cut off chunks and roll them into little ropes the size of your finger. They’re panfried in butter, which gives the noodles a delicious crunchy surface. Then you toss the noodles with strips of pork loin sautéed with onions and mushrooms in a brandy and sour cream sauce. What’s not to love?
4 tablespoons butter, or as needed
40 Finger Noodles (recipe follows)
1/4 cup finely minced onion
8 ounces maitake/hen-of-the-wood mushrooms, trimmed
8 ounces boneless pork loin, well trimmed, cut into 1/4-inch slices, then into 1/4-inch strips
2 tablespoons brandy
1/2 cup Chicken Stock
2 teaspoons whole-grain mustard
1/2 cup sour cream
4 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
In a large heavy sauté pan over medium heat, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter until the foam subsides and it starts to smell nutty and get golden brown. Working in batches, add the finger noodles so they are not crowded and sauté until all sides are browned. Add more butter to the pan as needed between batches. Transfer the noodles to a paper towel–lined plate.
If all of the butter is gone from the pan, add just enough extra to cover the bottom. Increase the heat to medium-high and sauté the onions and mushrooms, breaking up any large clusters of the mushrooms, until just starting to brown on the edges, about 1 minute. Add the pork and stir, cooking for another 2 minutes, just until the pork starts browning. Remove from the heat, add the brandy, and carefully tilt the pan away from you, toward the flame (if you have a gas stove), to ignite the brandy. You can also ignite the brandy with a long match. Let the brandy burn off, and then add the stock and cook until most of the liquid evaporates, about 3 minutes.
Lower the heat to medium and stir in the mustard and 1/3 cup of the sour cream. Stir in 2 tablespoons of the parsley, the lemon juice, and the salt and pepper.
Remove from the heat and fold in the finger noodles. Serve garnished with the remaining sour cream and the remaining parsley.
Makes about 80 noodles
1 1/4 pounds russet potatoes, about 2 medium
1 bunch chives, finely chopped, about 1/4 cup
1/2 cup all-purpose flour + more for dusting
Bring a pot of water to a boil and salt the water. Boil the potatoes whole, with skins on, until fork-tender, 35 to 40 minutes. When cool enough to handle, peel the potatoes and pass through a ricer or food mill into a large bowl. You want to have 3 1/2 cups of riced potatoes.
In a small bowl, whisk the egg and stir in the chives. Stir the egg mixture into the potatoes, sprinkle in the flour and 1 teaspoon salt, and mix to form a dough. Turn the dough onto a floured work surface and knead for about 1 minute to develop the gluten. It will feel fairly soft.
Divide the dough into 4 even pieces, cut each piece into eighths, and then pinch each piece in half. Flour your hands and roll each piece into a 4-inch noodle, kind of like rolling Play-Doh. Each one will look sort of like a slug, a little fatter in the middle than on the ends. You’ll get about 80 noodles. Any noodles you don’t use, you can spread out on a baking sheet, freeze, and transfer to a zip-top freezer bag and store in the freezer for up to 2 months.