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Swiss Apple, Pear, Potato, and Bacon Braise

Served throughout German-speaking Switzerland with all sorts of veal and game dishes, this hearty braise would be most often made with the mellow, beech-wood-smoked bacon known as geräucherter speck. Of course, versions of the dish vary from region to region, but since Switzerland boasts such superior apple varieties as Zapfenapfel and Grossmutterapfel, and such luscious pears as the brown-skinned Kaiser Alexander and small Eierbirnli, it’s not unusual for cooks to combine both fruits, as in this classic recipe. Speck is available in all of our German markets and delis (and in some upscale food shops), but if you must substitute slab bacon, just make sure that it’s double-smoked.–James Villas

Swiss Apple, Pear, Potato, and Bacon Braise Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 30 M
  • 1 H
  • Makes 4 to 6 servings

Ingredients

  • One 10-ounce piece German speck or double-smoked slab bacon (rind removed), cut into small chunks
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 cooking apple, peeled, cored, and sliced
  • 1 firm Bosc or Seckel pear, peeled, cored, and sliced
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 pound potatoes, peeled and roughly chopped
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream

Directions

  • 1. In a large, heavy saucepan, fry the bacon over moderate heat till almost crisp and pour off all but about 2 tablespoons of the fat.
  • 2. Add the butter to the fat, add the onion, and stir till softened, about 5 minutes. Add the apple and pear, sprinkle the sugar over the top and stir.
  • 3. Add the potatoes plus enough water to barely cover, bring to a low boil, reduce the heat to moderate, and simmer till most of the liquid has evaporated, about 30 minutes.
  • 4. Add the salt and pepper and cream, stir well, and let simmer about 5 minutes longer. Serve hot.
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