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Baeckeofe or Alsatian-Style Lamb Recipe
Baeckeofe or Alsatian-Style Lamb
Émile Jung, anc. chef propriétaire Au Crocodile, Strasbourg
Émile Jung, anc. chef propriétaire Au Crocodile, Strasbourg
Flavors of Alsace
Total time: more than 2 hours

Preheat the oven to 180° C (350° F)
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Marinating time: preferably overnight
Cooking time: 2 hours

Difficulty: Easy
Chef's Note

Baeckeofe was once considered a poor man's dish in the days when meat was rare and every cut was used. Each family would take advantage of the opportunity to use the baker's oven. Today baeckeofe has become a dish of gastronomic renown.

Baeckeofe is a uniquely Alsatian take on leg of lamb or lamb shoulder boulangère, cooked in the oven in an earthenware dish. These two recipes are prepared with the same ingredients and using the same method: a layer of thick potato slices, then thinly sliced onion, and finally pieces of meat, all covered with another layer of potatoes. But after that, the plot thickens! Because Alsace is wine country, lamb is always marinated in white wine which harmonizes with it perfectly - white wine respects the lamb's delicate flavor better than red. On the other hand, stock is preferred for making potatoes boulangère - frankly, it's more neutral (you could say it's a gratin dauphinois without the cream).

Presenting the earthenware dish at the table is the first delight. The second is having all the wonderful aromas waft out once the lid is removed… but the greatest is when your guests taste the sophisticated flavors of the baeckeofe!

For 6 servings

- 500 g (18 oz.) lamb shoulder, boned and tied
- 500 g (18 oz.) veal loin, tied
- 500 g (18 oz.) pork loin
- 1 pig's foot
- 1 kg (2 1/4 lb.) BF15 Potatoes
- 3 medium onions
- 1 bouquet garni
- 1 egg
- 3/4 bottle of dry white wine (preferably Alsatian)
- A little peanut oil
- Salt and pepper

Luting paste
- 300 g (10 oz.) flour
- 150 ml (10 tbsp.) cold water
  1. Marinate the meat a day ahead: season the lamb shoulder, veal and pork loin with coarse salt and pepper and place in a large non-reactive container; add the bouquet garni and white wine, cover and marinate in the refrigerator, turning the meat after 5 hours.
  2. Prepare the luting paste: gradually blend the cold water into the flour with a wooden spoon to form a soft paste.
  3. Drain the meats, reserving the marinade and bouquet garni.
  4. Heat a little oil in a skillet, add the meat and brown on all sides.
  5. Peel the potatoes, wash and drain them, and cut into large slices. Peel and slice the onions thinly.
  6. Preheat the oven to 180° C (350° F).
  7. Place half the potato slices in the bottom of a large earthenware casserole, season with coarse salt, add the sliced onions, then the pig's foot (cut into 6), the marinated meats, the bouquet garni, and finally the remaining sliced potatoes.
  8. Pour in the marinade and add enough cold water to come to about 2-3 cm (1") below the second layer of potatoes; season these with coarse salt, cover, and seal the casserole with the luting paste. Brush the luting paste with beaten egg.
  9. Cook in a 180° C (350° F) oven for 2 hours.
  10. When the baeckeofe is cooked, break the seal, take off the lid, remove and slice the meats, arrange them in the casserole on top of the potatoes, and serve.

Photo: la Cantinière Cookware

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