Sunday, June 22, 2014

An Alsatian Speciatly

My mom and I traveled to France last year. We visited Strasbourg which is the capital of the Alsace region in Eastern France. Like many of the other cultural aspects of this region, the cuisine of Alsace is a mixture of French and German.

 
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One of the regional specialties is a hearty meat and potato casserole called Baeckeoffe. My mom ordered it in one of the restaurants we ate in, and she really enjoyed it. I decided to recreate the dish, but I wanted to make it a simple after church lunch. Baeckeoffe means "baker's oven", and it is typically baked in the oven. I wanted to make it for lunch after church, so I adapted the recipe to simmer away in the crockpot. The crockpot may not be traditional, but historically Baeckeoffe was a meal served after church on Sundays. The Alsatian women would prepare it on Saturday night and drop it off at the baker's to cook while they sat through service. By the time service was over, the oven would have cooled, and their lunch would be complete.

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Baeckeoffe
1 pound beef or lamb, cut into 1" cubes
1 pound pork, cut into 1" cubes
2 yellow onions, sliced
2 pounds potatoes, sliced 1/4" thick
3 carrots, sliced 1/4" thick
1/4 cup chopped parsley
10 sage leaves
1 cup Riesling wine
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
salt and pepper, to taste

In a large crockpot, layer half of the potatoes along the bottom. Top with half the onions, half the carrots, and half the herbs. Add in the meat, and top with the herbs, onion and carrots, and then potatoes. Pour the wine and broth overtop. Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours. Enjoy with a nice loaf of French bread and fresh salad.

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I also made some homemade bread and a simple French salad to go along with the heavy casserole. Here is my recipe for a delicious baguette of French bread. Harper really loved the salad. It was the first time I had ever seen her eat lettuce the way she did. She has been so adventurous!


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Simple French Salad
1 head iceberg lettuce
1 head green leaf lettuce
1/2 cup white wine vinegar
3/4 cup olive oil
1/4 tsp salt

Wash and dry the lettuce. Tear it up and place it in a large bowl. Whisk the vinegar, oil, and salt together. Toss with the salad to serve.

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We all liked the baeckeoffe, but agreed that I did not allow it to cook long enough. Since I made it in the slow cooker, it needed a few more hours of simmering. We left it running until dinner time, and the meat was so much more tender. The taste was delicious, and the accompanying salad and bread tied off the meal.

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