Alsatian Baeckeoffe

Alsatian Baeckeoffe

Well, we’ve now reached the end of my tribute to Top Chef: Masters.  As you may know, the show drew to a close last week and even though Rick Bayless was crowned the champion, I wanted to honor all three chefs that made it to the finals.  I have already tackled Quinoa Pasta with Salsa Verde from Michael Chiarello, which you can see here, and two different salsas by Rick Bayless, which can be seen here.  All that is left is to take on my favorite of the three, Hubert Keller.

During the final episode, the contestants had to make a dish that reminded them of their childhood, or more specifically, their first “food memory.”  Hubert knew instantly what he was going to make, a type of pot pie/stew called Baeckeoffe (Baker’s Oven).  The critics raved over the dish and it looked awesome… just one little problem.  For some reason, Bravo didn’t post the recipes from the finale, so I was lost as to how to make this dish.  Luckily this is also one of Hubert’s favorite dishes and he had shared the recipe in a book called “Beef for All Seasons” about 10 years ago (which was then reposted here).

Alsatian Baeckeoffe

Alsatian Baeckeoffe - The name is different, but the taste is amazing!

Oh yeah… that is good (and very comforting) stuff!!  The smell this has while it is cooking is incredible… I will give you a quick tip, though.  This takes about 3.5 hours to cook.  Three and a half hours.  Why am I spelling it out?  Well, let’s say I misread and thought it took 1.5 hours and ended up eating at 9:00 PM.  I’m trying to save you that heartache!

There are some changes in my version versus the original, the biggest being the pastry seal.  My ceramic casserole dish didn’t have a lid, so instead of a thin rope of dough, I doubled the dough recipe and stretched it over the entire dish to seal it.  It ended up working really well, so I’m going to post that recipe (as that is how I made it).  Now then, let’s cook!!

Ingredient Breakdown:

Meat and Marinade

  • 1 Onion, minced
  • 1 Leek (small), julienned (white and light green parts only)
  • 1 Carrot, cut into 1/8-inch slices
  • 2 Garlic Cloves, finely minced
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 1 tsp Juniper Berries
  • 1 Thyme sprig
  • 1.5 Tbs Parsley (finely minced)
  • 1.5 c Alsatian Riesling (or another dry white wine)
  • 1/2 lb Beef Chuck Roast, cut into 1 1/4-inch cubes
  • 1/2 lb Pork Butt, boneless, trimmed and cut into 1 1/4-inch cubes
  • 1/2 lb Lamb Shoulder, boneless, trimmed and cut into 1 1/4-inch cubes

Other Veg & Spices

  • 3 lb Yukon Gold Potatoes (or other yellow potatoes), peeled and cut into 1/8-inch slices
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste

Pastry Crust

  • 1 1/2 c All-Purpose Flour
  • 10 Tbs Water
  • 2 Tbs Olive Oil
  • 1 Egg, beaten (for glaze)

Alrighty… now be sure you have a decent sized ceramic casserole dish (I’m assuming you don’t have a lid, like I didn’t) and let’s get started.  This is a marinade, so you must start the night before.

Instructions:

Marinade (night before)

  1. Combine all of the marinade ingredients in a large bowl.
  2. Add the meats and toss gently so it is all covered.
  3. Cover with lid or plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

Prep the Veg and Meat (day of)

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  • Season the potatoes with salt and pepper, then lightly oil a large ovenproof ceramic casserole with olive oil.
  • Cover the bottom of the casserole with half of the potato slices.
  • Remove the meats and vegetables from the marinade (a strainer helps) and reserve the marinade.
  • Arrange the meat over the potatoes, then place the vegetables over the meat.
  • Cover with the remaining potato slices and pour the marinade over them.
  • Add enough additional white wine, chicken stock or water to just cover the top of the potatoes.
  • Set aside and make the pastry crust

Pastry Crust

  • Mix together flour, water, and olive oil in a mixing bowl until it comes together.
  • Place on a lightly floured surface and roll out until it can cover your dish all the way around (about 1/8″ – 1/4″ thick).
  • Press the dough onto the rim of the casserole and stretch to cover.
  • Squeeze the dough around the edges to make sure it is sealed.  Poke a small hole or two to allow steam to escape.
  • Brush the pastry crust with egg.

Cooking

  • Place the casserole on the middle rack in the oven (I suggest placing a pan underneath, incase of spill over) and cook for about 3-1/2 hours.
  • After 1.5 hours, check to make sure the crust is not too dark.  If the crust starts to get darker than you’d like, place a tent of foil over it.
  • Remove the casserole and allow to cool for 15 minutes.
  • Cut through the pastry lid and remove it completely.
  • Scoop the baeckeoffe out of the casserole onto warm serving plates and serve with a slice of the pastry crust (don’t eat the bay leaf, be sure to toss it out when you find it, but the juniper berries are edible).
  • Eat!!

That’s it! As I usually try to do, here are some random shots from the cooking:

2

The wine

3

The veg

4

The meat

5

Golden brown

This is a very filling and comforting dish and I think most everyone will enjoy it.  I was worried that not having a lid would dry the dish out, but it really didn’t thanks to my modified pastry crust.  If any of you make this, please let me know how it turned out!  Also, if you have any other comforting stew-like dishes, we’d love for you to share!!


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2 Comments

  1. […] the article here: Alsatian Baeckeoffe | Food Geekery AKPC_IDS += "771,";Popularity: unranked […]

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  2. At http://www.claybourg.com we sell the Alsacian clay pot that we need to cook the baeckeoffe the traditional way and that’s the only place you can find them in the USA. Hubert Keller did not have it during the competition and he used a cast iron pot but the taste is much better when it’s cooked in clay.

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