Cultural Cuisines – Alsatian Vegetarian Baeckeoffe



Sarah, the most “all-American” eater in my family, raves about the Alsatian food she delighted in while living in Strasbourg for the entirety of last year. Often, when I get excited about cooking and ask my family for new recipes, Sarah has little to add other than her go-to list of favorites from le nord de France: Coq au Reisling and Baeckeoffe. Granted, the Baeckeoffe she remarks about is an intense three meat dish. The Baeckeoffe (“Baker’s Oven” in the German Alsatian dialect) I prepared was a starchy vegetarian dish. I was just excited to finally find a recipe for this dish in the latest Cooking Light magazine! An even more exciting realization was that I already had most of the ingredients. I had to go to the local Whole Foods Market for a few special ingredients: turnips, Yukon potatoes, and fresh thyme. I started this casserole dish an hour before the 5 o’clock mass on Sunday and did not finish it until nearly two hours AFTER mass ended! Nevertheless, it was an enduring cooking process – but well worth the long wait 🙂

PLUS** I had leftovers for the entire week! Nothing beats good leftovers for a college student.

Recipe adapted from Cooking Light Magazine: available online at http://find.myrecipes.com/recipes/recipefinder.dyn?action=displayRecipe&recipe_id=1949712



Ingredients

* 1 tablespoon butter
* 1 pound sliced mushroom caps
* 1 teaspoon minced garlic
* 1 cup low sodium chicken broth
* 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
* 1 large thyme sprig
* 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
* 2 tablespoons cream cheese or melting cheese of choice (mozzarella, goat cheese)
* Cooking spray
* 2 cups vertically sliced onion (I used 1/2 of a yellow onion and 1/2 of a red onion)
* 3 small Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into (1/4-inch-thick) slices
* 1 cups packed baby spinach leaves
* 1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
* 1 small turnip, peeled and cut into (1/8-inch-thick) slices
* 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
* 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream or half and half
* 1/2 cup (2 ounces) shredded Gruyère cheese

Preparation

1. Preheat oven to 350°.

2. Melt butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms to pan, and sauté 2 minutes or until lightly browned. Stir in garlic; sauté 30 seconds. Add wine; cook 2 minutes. Add parsley, thyme, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes. Uncover and cook 6 minutes or until liquid almost evaporates. Remove from heat; discard thyme. Add (melting) cream cheese, stirring until cheese melts. Remove mushroom mixture from pan. Wipe pan clean with paper towels.

3. Heat pan over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add onion; saute for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Reduce heat to medium; continue cooking for 15 minutes or until deep golden brown, stirring frequently. Set aside.

4. Coat a 6-cup baking dish with cooking spray. Arrange potato slices in dish, and top with spinach. Sprinkle 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper evenly over spinach. Spoon the mushroom mixture over black pepper, and arrange turnip slices over mushroom mixture. Top with caramelized onions; sprinkle with remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, remaining 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, and thyme. Pour whipping cream over thyme, and sprinkle evenly with Gruyère cheese. Cover and bake at 350° for 40 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 20 minutes or until vegetables are tender and cheese begins to brown.

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