Swiss Hash Browns: Discovering Rösti

Have you ever heard of the Swiss dish, rösti? Before moving to Switzerland, I hadn’t. From my experience growing up in the United States though, rösti most closely resembles what I know as “hash browns”—grated potatoes fried in oil and served for breakfast. According to the official website of Switzerland tourism, the Swiss consider rösti as their national dish.

Even though rösti is popular throughout Switzerland, people use this dish to describe an invisible line dividing the German-speaking and French-speaking parts of the country. The Swiss refer to this line as the “Röstigraben”or “Rösti Ditch” (for details, check out this map showing the regional distribution of language in Switzerland). Apparently this division goes beyond language or cultural differences to also include voting habits.

Regional Rösti Differences

Along with the regional differences in language, culture and voting habits in Switzerland, so goes the rösti. Here are just a few examples of Swiss rösti, which is no longer just for breakfast.

  • Alpensee Rösti: Made with smoked trout and eggs. I love this video (in German) from Betty Bossi, which gives a good intro to rösti and looks and sounds oh, so Swiss!

Lately I’ve been making an oven-baked rösti with bacon that’s free of our son’s allergens—milk, eggs and almonds. This week, I tried it with sweet potatoes instead. My little guy loves sweet potatoes, and refuses to eat white potatoes (even French fries with loads of ketchup!?). Sweet potatoes seem less common here, but I can still find them in larger grocery stores around us.

 

Sweet Potato Rösti

Adapted from a recipe for “Oven-Baked Rösti” in The Swiss Cookbook, 2010.

Serves 4
(dairy/egg/nut-free)

4-5 medium-sized sweet potatoes
1/2 to 3/4 cup chopped bacon
3 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon salt
pinch of nutmeg
pinch of pepper
several small pats of vegetable-based margarine

1. Wash, peel and grate sweet potatoes—by hand or with a food processor.  Put sweet potatoes in a large bowl and mix with flour, salt, nutmeg and pepper.

2. Spread sweet potato mixture in a thin layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Sprinkle with chopped bacon and scatter a few slivers of margarine on top.

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3. Bake at 200°C/400°F for about 35-40 minutes, until sweet potatoes are tender, slightly browned and a little crispy. Serve immediately.

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Please note: You can use this same recipe with waxy, white potatoes. If so, the cookbook I use recommends serving it with cranberry or lingonberry jam.

 

I need to try making a stove top rösti! If you have other Swiss rösti versions for us to try, please let me know. Just leave a comment below or email me at dairyfreeswitzerland@gmail.com. Thanks, and bon week-end!

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2 thoughts on “Swiss Hash Browns: Discovering Rösti

  1. Stephanie says:

    Do you find good prices for your sweet potatoes? At our local Migros they are usually nearly 6 fr. a kilo, which is out of my budget! (I haven’t looked at Coop, where it’s usually more expensive anyway.) I finally found them at Aldi a few weeks ago for under 3 fr. / kilo. I was thrilled, and my Swiss husband enjoyed trying this typically American starch!

    I’ve found that coconut oil makes a good stovetop Rösti. My Swiss German mother-in-law will sometimes mix potatoes with other veggies (carrots, leeks, cauliflower, etc.) for a veggie Rösti. I’m still mastering the basics myself, but my husband is a rösti pro and can flip it with the toss of a skillet! 🙂

    • dairyfreeswitzerland says:

      Hi Stephanie! I usually buy sweet potatoes at Coop or Migros. One time, I picked up some bio ones at our farmers’ market, and I was astounded by the price. They’re one of the few veggies my little guy will eat willingly, so I have to ignore the cost sometimes.

      I bought some coconut oil, so I’ll have to try that for my stovetop rösti. I’m impressed with the flipping method! Not sure I’m ready for that yet… 🙂 As always, thanks for the helpful feedback. Hope all is well. – Heddi

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