Baeckeoffe

Serves: 10
Prep. time: 1 hours and 15 minutes
Cook time: 4 hours and 30 minutes

The word ‘Baeckeoffe’, in the Alsatian dialect, simply means ‘baker’s oven’. Baeckeoffe is a dish that was traditional eaten by city-dwellers, on Sundays. Since bakeries were few and far between in the countryside. Most rural dwellers would bake their bread in batches, once every two or three weeks. Meat was a rarity in poorer households, more often than not they were obliged to exist on a diet of potatoes with quark cheese during the week, and eggs with béchamel on Sundays. There is still some uncertainty about the origin of the dish, but there are those who believe it could actually be Strasbourg. On Saturdays, thence, in Strasbourg, or elsewhere in well-to-do households, the mistress of the house would prepare the Baeckeoffe. It would be left to marinate overnight, and then the next day, before going to church, it would be given to the baker (to make use of the warmth from the cooling ovens after he had finished baking his bread) to bake. The three types of meat used to make this hearty dish represent Alsace's religious traditions: beef for the Catholics, pork for the Protestants and lamb for the Jews