It’s a stew, not a bake-off…
Baeckeoffe is a delicious Alsatian stew that we discovered during our trips to Alsace, France. It is a hearty meat-eater’s delight, combining beef, lamb, pork, Alsatian Riesling, all baked in a dough-sealed crock. Our Christmas-eve dinner may be your next winter evening treat. Join Marian with a glass of Fino and keep reading.
Chef Hubert Keller and Alsace
We use Chef Hubert Keller’s Baeckeoffe recipe. You might have seen Chef Keller’s “Secrets of a Chef” cooking show on Create. Keller hails from Ribeauville, in Alsace France, where his family owned a patisserie. Alsace is on the eastern edge of France, bordering Germany and Switzerland. The food and wine share French and German influence, and are fabulous.
When Marian and I visited Ribeauville, we stayed in a nearby inn in Riquewihr, just a vineyard stroll away. Ribeauville is a beautiful little village that claims to be the home of kugelhopf, a delicious brioche-like bread full of raisins and nuts. Great with coffee, or toasted with butter for breakfast. The vineyards are full of Riesling grapes that when vinified in Alsatian style makes some of the best white wine around. Alsace is all about friendly people, great food and great wine, so no surprise here… Chef Keller’s Baeckeoffe recipe is a winner.
You bake it in a pastry-sealed crock for about 3 1/2 hours and something delicious comes out of the oven and onto your plate. We chose a 2012 Zind Humbrecht Riesling. Zind Humbrecht is one of our favorite Riesling producers. Try a wine tour in Alsace. Your opinion of white wine will change forever.
While Chef Keller’s website has many great recipes, this one is not present on the site. I’ve taken it from The Cuisine of Hubert Keller, by Hubert Keller with John Harrisson, 10 Speed Press, Berkeley, Calif, 1996.
- 2 onions, minced
- 2 small leeks, white and green parts, julienned
- 1 carrot, cut into 1/8th inch thick slices
- 2-3 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon juniper berries
- 1 sprig fresh thyme
- 3 tablespoons finely minced fresh parsley
- 3 cups of dry white wine (use Alsatian Riesling!)
Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 pound beef chuck roast, cut into 1 1/4 inch cubes
- 1 pound boneless pork butt, trimmed and cut into 1 1/4 inch cubes
- 1 pound boneless lamb shoulder, trimmed and cut into 1 1/14 cubes
- 1 pound of pig’s feet (optional… but worth using!)
- 3 pounds of Yukon gold or other yellow potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/8th inch slices
Salt and pepper to taste
- 3/4 cup flour
- 5 tablespoons water
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
Prepare the marinade ingredients in a non-reactive bowl Add all the meats and toss gently. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
Pre-heat your oven to 350 F.
Season the potatoes with salt and pepper and lightly spray a large earthenware ovenproof tureen or casserole with olive oil. Cover the bottom of the tureen with half of the potato slices. Remove the meats and vegetables from the marinade and reserve the marinade. Arrange the mixed meats over the potatoes and then place the vegetables in a layer over the meats. Cover with a layer of the remaining potato slices and our the marinade over them. Add enough extra white wine or water to just cover the top of the potatoes. Place the lid on the tureen or casserole. [Stu’s Note – We used Willm Riesling in the stew. at $12.95/bottle, it is a delicious pour and cooking with it won’t break the bank.]
Mix all the pastry seal ingredients together in a mixing bowl and form into a rope shape long enough to wrap around the tureen’s lid. Press the dough onto the rim of the tureen. Place the lid on top of the dough and press to seal completely. This seal will prevent any of the cooking liquid from escaping.
Place the dish in the oven and cook for about 3 1/2 hours. Remove the dish from the oven and bring to the table. Cut under the lid to break the pastry seal and remove the lid. Serve the Baeckeoffe out of the tureen onto warm serving plates. [Stu’s Note – make certain the tureen lid has a small hole to allow steam to escape! If not, you will be baking a time bomb. I also suggest you place your crock or crocks atop a baking sheet. In case the seal breaks or any leakage, it will save you hours of cleaning your oven.]
Winter is here. We await the 2015 Jazz Fest, and expect to visit some of our Long Island and New York City museums. Perhaps we’ll see you on our next trip around town.
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