Maultaschen are German dumplings filled with spinach, ground meat, onions, and bread. They are from Schwaben (Swabia) in eastern Baden-Württemberg and part of western Bavaria.
The most common legend explaining the creation of these dumplings involves Cistercian monks from the Maulbronn Monastery in the 1600s. The monks were given some meat during the famine, but it was also Lenten season and meat was forbidden. They finely chopped the meat and mixed it with spinach and herbs as a disguise. Then, they covered the mixture with pasta to hide the meat further.
More information on the history of Maultaschen.
Maultaschen are normally large and rectangular shaped, but I have also eaten them as small slices in Munich. The above photos on the right show this way of preparing them. Create a long, thin sheet of pasta and spread with a layer of filling. Wrap up tightly length-wise and refrigerate for 30 minutes to an hour to let settle. Slice into 1/2 inch pieces and boil in broth until heated through.
The photos below show the maultaschen prepared this way. The photo on the left is Maultaschen in ox broth served at the Münchner Suppenküche in the Viktualienmarkt in Munich, Germany. The photo on the right is sliced Maultaschen pan-fried with onions, eggs, and cheese in Füssen, Germany.
Of all the dumplings, Maultaschen are my favorite. This recipe makes quite a few Maultaschen and I freeze the extra. They still never last long. I especially love the way they were prepared in Füssen, pan-fried with onions, egg, and cheese. Chad liked them in München, boiled in ox broth. This was a great way to get Evan to eat spinach too.