Here’s How Gabriel Kreuther Makes His Intricate, Traditional Alsatian Baeckeoffe

Talk about a centerpiece.

Last week, Grub Street and Gabriel Kreuther teamed up for a special dinner and tour of the new Kreuther Handmade Chocolate. Organized as part of New York by New York, and hosted at Gabriel Kreuther’s Kitchen Table, the private dinner was anchored by a dish never before served at the restaurant: the traditional Alsatian casserole known as baeckeoffe. A farmer’s dish, it takes two days to make and, in Kreuther’s recipe, incorporates pork shoulder, lamb shoulder, and veal trotter. Here, the chef breaks down how he makes the classic dish:

“The day before, you cut your pieces of meat, maybe an inch by an inch, and you marinate them in white wine. Because it’s an Alsatian dish, it’s Alsatian white wine, but it could be any old white wine. You put carrots, thyme, rosemary, bay leaf, an onion, leek, and you let it marinate overnight, or 24 hours.”

Photo: Liz Clayman/Liz Clayman

“The next day you take potatoes, peel them, and slice them. A good potato would be Yukon Gold. Wash them to take a little of the starch away, and season them with salt, pepper, and a little bit of chopped garlic.”

Photo: Liz Clayman/Liz Clayman

“Normally, the casserole mold is terra-cotta. It’s not steel. It takes the heat in a different way. It doesn’t cook as fast. [Kreuther used a dish made of enameled cast iron.] You start with potatoes on the bottom.”

Photo: Liz Clayman/Liz Clayman

“Then you add the meat. Put a layer of meat with a little carrots and onions. Every layer, you season the meat: salt, pepper, a little bit of crushed coriander, some people put a little bit of juniper berries in. It varies from family to family — it’s a very open recipe.”

Photo: Liz Clayman/Liz Clayman

“You want the layers to be as even as possible, but it’s not a perfect science. The idea is to cook everything together. Some people will not even layer it, just mix everything in. But I think when it’s layered, it looks better when you open it.”

Photo: Liz Clayman/Liz Clayman

“It’s meat with carrots and onions, then another layer of potatoes, and you keeping going like this, layer by layer, until the mold is full.”

Photo: Liz Clayman/Liz Clayman
Photo: Liz Clayman/Liz Clayman

“When you’re done layering, you put the marinade — the white wine that was used to marinate the meat — and pour that on. A little bit more than three-fourths full, then you cover it.”

Photo: Liz Clayman/Liz Clayman

“You cover it with the lid and do a simple dough, just water and flour. You can add a little bit of oil but that makes it less hard. That’s how you seal the lid.”

Photo: Liz Clayman/Liz Clayman

“The temperature you cook it at all depends on the size of the casserole, but you want it in the oven somewhere between two-and-a-half and three-and-a-half hours, at about 300 degrees or maybe 325 degrees. The oven shouldn’t be too hot.”

Photo: Liz Clayman/Liz Clayman
The finished baekeoffe. Photo: Liz Clayman/Liz Clayman
The baeckeoffe, after plating (and a final garnish of chives). Photo: Liz Clayman/Liz Clayman
How an Acclaimed NYC Chef Makes a Classic Alsatian Baekeoffe