Savory Gâteau from Sugiez

In December, I visited the home of a regional Swiss cake: Gâteau du Vully. While I’ve made the sweet version before, this was my first time seeing the savory version, so I tried making one at home (recipe below).

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When my in-laws were visiting us over Christmas, my husband and I got to steal away for a night in Murten sans les enfants. After strolling along the rampart walls at dusk, we found a restaurant later that evening and tried flammkuchen with melted Gruyère cheese. For dessert, we had meringues covered in Gruyère double cream and served with ice cream. Only if we had been drinking milk along with our meal, could we have had more dairy!

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A view of Murten’s Old Town at dusk

The next morning, we ventured to the town of Sugiez. A friend had recommended this small village as the home of Gâteau du Vully, so we had to check it out. We quickly found the award-winning Boulangerie-Pâtisserie Guillaume, which was filled with this delicious, yet simple Swiss cake.

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The home of Gâteau du Vully: Sugiez

The sweet version of Gâteau du Vully has cream and sugar. The savory version has smoked lardons and cumin seeds. Both contain dairy and eggs.

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Gâteaux du Vully: sucré and salé

After we bought some Gâteau du Vully in Sugiez, we drove to the top of its namesake mountain: Mont Vully (653 m). It was a beautiful winter day, despite the absence of snow. We ate the cake as we walked around the summit and enjoyed the view.

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Pastures below the summit of Mount Vully

Below is my version of a savory Gâteau du Vully, which took a few tries. While they were with us, my in-laws were unfortunately subjected to one made with coconut milk that didn’t quite turn out. My reinvented cake more closely resembles focaccia bread, as I’ve replaced the butter and egg with olive oil.

 

Savory Gâteau du Vully

(dairy, egg and nut-free)

Dough:
2 teaspoons yeast
2/3 cup + 1 tablespoon soy or rice milk, very warm
2 cups flour
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt

Toppings:
2 tablespoons olive oil
lardons fumés or chopped bacon
cumin seeds

1. Mix the yeast and rice or soy milk together in a large bowl. Let set for a few minutes until the yeast has dissolved.

2. Stir in the olive oil, flour, and salt. Form into dough. Knead for about 5 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic.

3. Roll out the dough into a circle about 9-10 inches across (22-25 centimeters). Place on a baking tin or sheet lined with parchment paper. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for about 1 hour.

4. When the dough has risen, make deep dents with your fingertips in the dough. Pour the olive oil carefully and evenly over the cake, taking care not to spill it over the sides. Then, sprinkle the cake evenly with the lardons and cumin seeds.

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4. Bake in a preheated oven for about 20 minutes at 220°C/425°F until golden brown. It’s best eaten the day it’s made, especially when it’s still a little warm.

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A friendly reminder… Don’t forget to check the expiration dates for your epinephrine auto-injectors, if you carry them. We’ll be getting new ones for my son this week.

La Jacquerie Neuchâteloise: Sauerkraut and Snails (or Chicken?)

After seeing the huge pot of steaming choucroute (sauerkraut) at Fête des Vendanges, it reminded me that I wanted to make a chicken and sauerkraut recipe from The Swiss Cookbook. However, I didn’t realize until I read the description more closely that the recipe was inspired by another local dish, Jacquerie Neuchâteloise.

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According to my cookbook, Jacquerie Neuchâteloise is a “tasty chicken and sauerkraut stew” that’s “a must at Neuchâtel’s Fête des Vendanges.” After talking with a few lifelong residents of Neuchâtel, it seems this dish may not be as common as my book suggests. Also, I found several sources indicating this dish more typically pairs sauerkraut with escargot instead of chicken. The little snails are nestled in a bed of sauerkraut and dairy products, like butter and cream.

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While I have yet to try escargot—something I can easily purchase at our local grocery stores—I decided to take on a dairy-free version of Betty Bossi’s reinvented Jacquerie Neuchâteloise: Stuffed chicken breasts wrapped in bacon. I used store-bought sauerkraut flavored with a few juniper berries. Even though I generally associate sauerkraut with German-speaking Switzerland, it apparently has a long history in French-speaking Switzerland as well.

This modernized recipe may not be an entirely accurate interpretation of Jacquerie Neuchâteloise, and my 2-year old wasn’t thrilled by it, but I’ll definitely try making it again. I think it would be a good make-ahead dish for when we have dinner guests.


Bacon-Wrapped Chicken Stuffed with Sauerkraut

Adapted from Betty Bossi’s “The Swiss Cookbook” (Zurich, 2010).

(dairy/egg/nut-free)

Please note: This recipe calls for cooked sauerkraut. I planned to make it one night for dinner, but realized too late that my “choucroute crue” needed to be cooked in advance for about 60 minutes. Therefore, please remember to budget extra time for this dish if you have the raw stuff.

150 grams cooked sauerkraut, drained and pressed
1 boiled potato, peeled and diced
1 shallot, finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon salt
A pinch of pepper
4 chicken breasts
12 slices of bacon (3 for each chicken breast), uncooked
about 1 tablespoon dairy-free margarine

1. Mix together the first five ingredients in a large bowl.

2. Make a deep slice along the long side of the chicken breast, without cutting all the way through. Open up the breast and pound to flatten with a kitchen mallet or rolling pin. Spread the filling on one half and close it up. Wrap 3 pieces of bacon around each stuffed chicken breast.

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3. Melt the dairy-free margarine in a large pan and fry the chicken breasts over medium-high heat for about 2-3 minutes on each side until browned. Next, place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

4. Bake for about 20 minutes at 200°C/400°F.

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Have you ever heard of or tried “La Jacquerie Neuchâteloise?” I’m curious to learn more about it. Bon week-end, everyone!

Updated: September 28, 2014

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!