Food on Fridays, Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Making the Perfect Tempura

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Meat and Taters Around the World—France

Okay…I’ll admith…I have been on another of my tangents away from the main purpose of this blog—crawling my way up the Raw Foods Pyramid bit by bit—to taslking about such forbidden topics as deep frying and beef stew…

But potatoes are a vegetable, and vegetables are a major element of the Raw Foods Pyramid…

And deep frying is a cooking method…and another of our goals right now is to learn more about the dfifferent cooking methods…even though we are using the Raw Foods Pyramid as a guide…(don’t ask…just go with it).

Baeckeoffe is a hearty casserole or stew that consists of a simple mixture of lamb, beef, pork and potatoes that is typical in the French region of Alsace, which is situated on the border between Germany and France.

Legend has two reports of ho this dish originated…

First of all, many say that the housewives of this region made the dish on Mondays, the official designated “laundry day,”…(hey wait, lucky them, seems like every day around here is laundry day)… when they knew that they would have no time later that day to cook dinner and the took the dish to the baker who then sealed the pot with a flour-and-water paste and slow-baked in in the falling temperatures of his wood-fired oven after he finished baking his bread.

Others claim that the women would prepare this dish on Saturday evening and then leave it with the baker to cook on Sunday while they attended the typically lengthyLutheran church services of that day…(guess the Baptists and Methodists beat the Lutherans to Golden Carral and left them nothing on the buffet)…They would then pick up their casserole along with a loaf of bread on their way back from church…providing their family with a meal that was in line with the strict Lutheran rules of the Sabbath.

The term literally translates to the words “bake oven.”

The perfect baeckeoffe is a rich, warm, and aromatic casserole which containes the perfect combination of potatoes and vegetables, herbs, and perhaps marinated meat—such as pork, beef or mutton—that has been tightly sealed with a ring of dough, then simmered in the oven until juicy and tender.

 

Honestly this can be a rather time-consuming task…and actually a two-day ordeal…but it’s well worth it.
So here’s what to do on the day before…
Mix all your spices—such as garlic, bay leaves, juniper berries, thyme, parsley, 1-1/2tsp salt, and 1tsp pepper—with the white wine.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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THE POTATOES

Wash and peel your potatoes. Slice about the thickness of a quarter or your thumb. Set the peeled and sliced potatoes in a bowl of cold water so that they will not turn brown.

 

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THE VEGGIES
Cut your veggies…
Artrichokes
Break the stems off and remove the hearts by using a very sharp knife to peel the bottom of the artichokes around the stem and then pullnug the large leaves away from the base of the artichoke. With the knife, remove the large leaves, slice the perimeter, and slice the small tender leaves above the choke. Remove these small leaves so that only the base of the artichoke remains and squeeze lemon juice on top to prevent browning.
Carrots
Peel and dice.

Herbs…such as fresh parsley, thyme, and rosemary
Rinse.
Leek
Trim and wash. Dice.
Lemon
Rinse in cold water. Remove the white part, keeping only the peel. Cut the peel into large squares. Bring the water and sugar to a boil, stirring until sugar is dissolved, to make a syrup. Place the squares of preserved lemon into the syrup and let them cook for 10 minutes. Remove and drain of excess syrup.
Onion
Chop into rings.
Tomatoes
Remove the stems. Cook the tomatoes in boiling saltwater for about fifteen seconds. Then peel, and cut them into quarters, removing and discarding the seeds.—such as onions, leeks, carrots—into small pieces. and
Combine these chopped veggies with your spices in a large bowl or very large Ziploc bag.
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THE MEAT
Cut the meat—your choice of beef, pork, pig’s feet, oxtail
You could also leave out the meat and make this a vegetarian-friendly dish if you’d like.or lamb—
into bite-sized pieces and add to the bowl or bag…(Plan on using about a third to a half pound of meat per person)…
MARINATING
Pour white wine over the top of the ingredients until covered.
Cover the bowl. R
Refrigerate overnight, stirring or flipping the bag over occasionally while marinating..

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE LAYERS

Layer the ingredients into a 4″ deep Baeckoffe terrine,…oops…I forgot to pick one of those up the last time I went to Walmart, right?!)  in the following order…

  • potatoes…making sure each potato overlaps the last
  • ¼C of the vegetables
  • salt, pepper and parsley
  • 4oz meat

Repeat the layers one more time.

Then finish layering with potato and two tomato slices.

Pour wine to cover.

Salt and pepper every layer, especially the ones with the meat and the potatoes.

 

 

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THE SEAL

Now traditionally is the time to make the seal of dough to put around the edge of the dish. This helps to keep the aroma of the wine from escaping and the cooking liquid from evaporating.

To do this, mix together enough flour and water as necessary to form a firm dough.

Roll the dough out into a long rope….long enough to wrap around the casserole.

Place the lid of the casserole over the dish. Press the dough around the joint between the lid and the casserole…making sure it tightly joins the casserole dish and lid.

Brush the egg yolk over the dough.

You could also use a band of heavy aluminum foil…(much easier, right?!)

 

 

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Cooking

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cook for an hour.

Lower the oven temp to 300. Bake for an hour to an hour–and-half.

 

Place the sealed dish on the center rack of the oven. Cook for three hours.

Reduce the heat to 350 degrees. Cooki for 1-1/2 hours more.

Melt butter in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the meat. Cook for about five minutes or until browned all over. Transfer to a bowl.

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SERVING
Serve from the same casserole dish that you baked it in…along with salad. a loaf of crusty bread, and the rest of the white wine that you used for making the marinade….assuming you still have some left and haven’t already downed it while cooking the dish