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A taste of Alsace

A taste of Alsace

Some years ago, I went with a party of clients to the fairytale land of Alsace in the autumn time when the Alsatian larder was at its best. We went for dinner at the Michelin starred Auberge du L’Ill in Illhaeusern and it was magnificent. However the lunch on the first day was truly memorable in a small restaurant in Ribeauville, a picturesque village close to the winery of Jacques and Laura Sipp in Hunawihr. 

The highlight of the lunch was the traditional Baeckeoffe, a hotpot as we would call it and made from a variety of meats and vegetables in a truly rustic style. It’s just the thing for a big lunch or hearty dinner on a cold day or evening as Autumn comes on. Traditionally it was cooked in the bakers oven after the bread had been made but for home cooking, it’s a true slow cooked casserole. 


Ingredients

I large onion, chopped

I fat clove of garlic

2 cloves

1 Bay leaf

1 small bunch of thyme

½ a bunch of parsley

50 cl Pinot Blanc

Seasoning.


500g Boneless shoulder of Lamb

500 g Boneless Pork Loin

500 g Braising steak

2 pigs trotters

1.5 Kg potatoes such as Maris Piper

4 large onions

2 leeks

3 carrots

1 bouquet garni

30 cl Pinot Blanc

100 g plain flour

Seasoning


Method

Cut the meat into moderately large pieces and marinate overnight with the chopped onion, garlic, cloves, bay, thyme, parsley and the 50cl of Pinot Blanc.

The following day, peel and roughly, chop the onions. Rinse and slice the leeks into roundels. Peel and chop the carrots and potatoes. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C. Drain the meat, discard the herbs and spices and arrange half of the chopped onions in the bottom of a large casserole. Layer the meat and vegetables on top of the onions, add the bouquet garni and season with salt and pepper.  Add other layers until all is used ensuring you finish with a layer of potatoes. Sprinkle over the white wine. Mix together the flour and some cold water to make a paste and roll it into a rope form. Seal the casserole with this and the lid so no air can escape. Bake in the oven for 2 and a half hours. The meat should be meltingly tender and your thirst should be enormous!! Serve with a good Alsace Riesling.

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