Catholic Recipe: Zuercher Ratsherrentopf
Also Called: Zurich Councillors' Casserole
Many different versions of this simple stew exist. Some are dressed up by having the meats cooked separately, bound with a sauce and served with an accompaniment of sauteed potatoes. This simple, homey version of the dish is assembled and baked until the meats are fork-tender and the vegetables are melting. This recipe is loosely based on one in Nika Hazelton's Swiss Cookbook (Athaneum, 1967), long out of print, but easy to find in used book stores and in on-line auctions. — Inside Switzerland
1. Set a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees.
2. Season the meat all over with the salt and pepper, using at least 2 to 3 teaspoons of salt and a teaspoon of pepper. Place a layer of half of each meat in the bottom of the pan and cover with half the vegetables. Repeat layering with remaining meat and vegetables.
3. Pour in about 2 cups water or stock, to come halfway up the meat and vegetables in the pan. Place over low heat and bring to a simmer.
4. Press a piece of parchment or wax paper directly against the top of the stew in the pan, then cover with the pan's lid. Place the casserole in the oven and bake for about 2 hours, checking occasionally to make sure the stew is only gently simmering and adjusting oven heat accordingly. Cook until the meat is very tender.
5. Uncover the pan and taste for seasoning, adding more salt and pepper if necessary. Keep the stew loosely covered until serving time, then reheat over very low heat before serving.
6. To serve, pour onto a deep heated platter and sprinkle with chopped parsley.
Note: To round out the menu, serve a large mixed salad first, then Engadiner Nusstorte (it can be made days in advance), for dessert.Recipe Source: My Switzerland, E-Newsletter , Switzerland Tourism, My Switzerland.com, 2004