This recipe comes to us from the authors of several fascinating books on food philosophy, John Thorne and Matt Lewis Thorne. You can subscribe to their bimonthly food newsletter called "Simple Cooking". Visit them online at Outlaw Cook
- 1 pound boneless stewing pork
- 1 pound shoulder of lamb
- 1 pound stewing beef
- 2 pig's feet, split in half (optional, see "helpful hints" below)
- For Marinade:
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1/2 tablespoon black peppercorns
- 1 spring fresh, or 1 teaspoon dry thyme
- 2 bay leaves
- 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1-2 springs fresh celery leaves, chopped
- several sprigs fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
- 1/2 bottle dry white wine (preferably an Alsatian Riesling)
- For Casserole:
- to grease baking pan, butter or lard
- 3 pounds waxy potatoes, peeled and sliced
- 2 onions, chopped
- 2 leeks, trimmed and sliced
- 4 carrots, peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces
- For Luting (Sealing) Paste:
- 1 scant cup flour
- 5 tablespoons water
- 1 tablespoon cooking oil
Serves / Yields
The day before: Cut the meat into bite-sized pieces and put them in large nonreactive container with the pig’s feet. Toss with the salt, pepper, herbs, garlic, celery leaves, and parsley. Moisten with the wine. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
Assembling and cooking: Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Select a large ovenproof casserole with a lid. Grease the bottom and sides with the butter lard. Lay the pig’s feet on the bottom and cover with half the potatoes, onions, leeks, and carrots. Remove the meat from the marinade and add, covering it with the remaining vegetables, ending with the potatoes. Strain the marinade through a sieve and pour the liquid over the contents of the pot. If necessary, add some extra wine or water to bring the liquid barely to the top of the vegetables.
Work the sealing paste ingredients into a dough and roll this out into a rope long enough to wrap around the casserole. Press it firmly against the join between the lid and the casserole. Put the sealed pot intro the oven and cook for 1 hour. At this point, reduce the heat to 350 degrees F and continue cooking for 1 1/2 hours more.
For the most dramatic presentation, bring the casserole to the table, set it on a trivet, and break away the seal with the edge of a table knife. Otherwise, of course, this can be done in the kitchen and servings of the baeckeoffe brought to the table in shallow bowls. Serve with green salad, a loaf of crusty bread, and some of the same white wine used for making the marinade.
The pig’s feet provide a gelatinous cast to the baeckeoffe’s juices. Oxtail is another traditional option, as is nothing at all. The luting paste is meant as much as it is to keep the wine’s vaporous aroma’s from escaping as it is to keep the cooking liquid from evaporating. A band of heavy aluminum foil will work almost as well.