22 July 2008

Red, White or Swiss: Rösti and veal and mushrooms in white wine

or Rœstis et emincé de veau, sauce au vin blanc et champignons...

or Kartoffelrösti und Zürcher Geschnetzeltes

About a week and a half ago, the lovely
Zorra of Kochtopf sent out a note saying she was homesick for her beloved Swiss homeland. Swiss National Day is on 1 August and she'd appreciate if we'd help her celebrate by blogging about dishes that were red, white or Swiss by 29 July.

I must admit that my knowledge of Switzerland and Swiss things is rather spotty:
- Its provinces are called cantons
- It's a landlocked nation with a good defensive army who supply mercenaries to the Pope
- The first Swiss-related food I had was Nestlé's chocolate something or other, the next was Swiss cheese, and the next was rösti--grated potato cakes.
- There are four official languages (German, French, Italian and Romansh)
-The Von Trapps fled the Austrian Nazis for Switzerland
-I've flown over parts of it, so I can tell you the Alps are pointy (which means the mountains are relatively young).
- The
Swiss Rocket Man is pretty cool
-The once-popular
Helvetica font is named after the rootword that forms Helvetii, a tribal group found in that area
- Their humanitarian tradition includes The Red Cross
- The Geneva Convention
- The League of Nations was based in Geneva
- Napoleon conquered the Swiss army in the late 1700s, imposed a new and unpopular national constitution, but within a quarter century Swiss independence was regained and the other European powers recognized the nation's neutrality through the 1814-1815 Congress of Vienna
- Sir Roger Moore lives there

When it came to cooking for this event, I decided to make some Swiss foods. Unfortunately, the only thing that came to mind was rösti--absolutely delicious, but a bit predictable. Sigh...what to do, what to do...

As luck would have it, I was invited to friends' for supper last week...and one of them is Swiss.

After a delicious meal that included gazpacho and barbecued venison, I told them of the event and asked for some suggestions--but not rösti...I'm sure there will be several versions of it for the event. I left with a borrowed copy of
Schweizer Küche/Cuisine Suisse/Swiss Cooking by Michael Klein and Yvonne Tempelmann, a trilingual (German, French and English) book featuring traditional home cooking from the mountainous country.

After flipping through the pages, and pausing over all the cheese-ladened goodies (Appenzeller fried cheese fritters, spinach gnocchi with Schabziger cheese, potato-tomato bake), I decided on a mushroom and veal dish, swathed in a white wine sauce...which is recommended to be served over...umm...rösti.

Really, was there a doubt that the fried potato cakes would be absent? If there was, take a look at this post's title...it kindasorta gives it away.

Both dishes were very easy and quick to make. The rösti is a very quick and simple way of doing away with a few extra boiled potatoes from last night's supper. And I'm seriously thinking of encasing the veal dish in a puff pastry or a shortcrust pie the next time I make it...

Veal Strips from Zürich
adapted from Swiss Cooking by Michael Klein and Yvonne Tempelmann

Olive oil
500g thinly pounded veal, cut into strips
a spoonful of flour
1 minced onion
200g finely sliced mushrooms
1 tsp white wine vinegar
100ml white wine
100ml beef stock
200ml heavy cream
1 Tbsp cornstarch
finely chopped parsley, for garnish (optional)

Fry the veal, remove to a bowl; sprinkle with salt, pepper and flour.

In the same pan, sauté the onions and mushrooms, adding extra oil if necessary. Add the vinegar and wine; reduce the liquid to half. In a measuring jug mix together the stock, cream and cornstarch; add to the pan a stir well. Bring it to a simmer. Tip in the meat and juices, stir well and let the sauce thicken a bit. Season to taste. Garnish with parsley if desired.

adapted from Swiss Cooking by Michael Klein and Yvonne Tempelmann

600g day-old boiled potatoes, grated
1 minced onion

Season the potatoes and set aside.

Sauté onions in butter. Tip in the potatoes and stir--you want to heat through the potatoes, so this will take a few minutes.

At this point you could either
  • Pat all the potatoes into a cake and fry over a medium flame until the potatoes become a crisp brown.


  • Remove the potatoes to a bowl. Take out one quarter, shape into a cake and fry as above, frying as many cakes at once as will fit in your pan.


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joanne at frutto della passione said...

That looks really tasty. I have to admit that although it is only 90 odd kilometres away and we do visit often, I am not as well versed on Swiss cuisine as I should be. My first experience was a bit of a disappointment (long story, may have to blog about it someday) but I think I'll give this a try !

Jenny said...

Wow, technically I've been to Switzerland (camping as a child) but you know alot about it that I never knew!
Btw, I tagged you for both a meme and an award. Come and get 'em! :-)

Natashya said...

I have recently completed a project for my son, I mean helped him with a project.
In it I learned that Marcel Marceau and his brother led children to the Swiss border, posing as boy scouts while only teens, to their rescue from the Nazis.
This is a most intersting country and I am interested in learning more about it.
I have been stumped as to what to prepare for this challenge, you have made a great choice.

glamah16 said...

VEal and mushrooms! I like. I used to visit Geneva quite frequently in school, but all I remember was the Rosti and raclette.

zorra said...

Wow, Jasmine you know more facts about Switzerland than me. ;-)

Züri Geschnetzeltes, a dish from Zürich, is one of my favorite Swiss dish and I make it often.

Thank you for your participation.