Beckenoffe-Tourte Lorraine

Meat-Potato Casserole

Beckenhoffe means to bake in a baker’s oven and usually in a baking dish, or a round casserole. In Alsace this recipe is made with pork, mutton, and potatoes and has no custard sauce. In Lorraine it is called a tourte, which also means a round casserole or pan. Its recipe calls for pork and veal, and it has a custard but no potatoes. It is similar to other Quiches Lorraines, except that it has a top crust and so becomes a meat pie.

The following recipe is not a true Alsacian Beckenoffe, or a true Lorraine Tourte. It is a combination of the two dishes and was given to me by a Paris friend who came from the Alsace-Lorraine region. It is, as she said, “the way my mother made it and I don’t know if it is Alsace or Lorraine.” It is, to my way of thinking, better than either the Alsace or the Lorraine casseroles.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound pork tenderloin
  • 1 pound lean veal
  • 6 red potatoes
  • 3 onions (medium size)
  • Salt and pepper
  • cups Moselle, or white wine
  • pound butter
  • 3 eggs
  • cups whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons minced parsley

Method

  1. Cut all fat and tough skin from meats. Cut into ½-inch cubes. Peel potatoes and onions. Slice ready to use. Size of the potatoes and onions will determine how many you will need.
  2. Arrange a layer of potatoes in the bottom of a 2-quart casserole with a lid. (If you don’t know the casserole size and can’t guess at it, measure water into it.) Add a layer of meats, sprinkle with salt and pepper and add a layer of onions. Repeat these layers until the meats are used, but end with onions. Add the wine and dot with butter. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 2 hours. Do not lift the lid to check the dish. The wine, as it evaporates, gives flavor to the ingredients. To lift the lid would allow the fumes to escape. However, if you think it has cooked dry, it is better to check.
  3. At the end of 2 hours the casserole should be moist but with no liquids left. (If there are liquids, remove the lid and cook another 15 minutes to volatilize them.) Take from oven, remove lid, and let casserole cool while mixing the custard. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees.
  4. Mix the eggs with a whisk. Add the cream and parsley. Add salt and pepper to season (taste) and mix well. Pour into the casserole, filling it to the top of the onions. Do not cover. Set into the 325-degree oven and let it bake for about 20 minutes, or until the custard is set. Serve from the casserole.

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