This Swiss braise is mix of apple, pear, potato, onions, and speck or slab bacon, and is finished with a touch of cream. Traditionally in the canton of Aargau, it’s served with all sorts of veal and game dishes, but it pairs well with chicken and pork.
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
Pairing Pork and Fruit
Yes! Bacon and fruit. It might seem an odd concept at first, but you’ll be hooked on one mouthful of this salty-sweet braise. The great news is, once you’re a convert, there are plenty of other ways to get your bacon-fruit fix. How about bread stuffing with bacon and apples? Or pork chops and pear chutney? And if those aren’t hardcore enough for you, try some of the strong stuff – cheddar, bacon and apple grilled cheese. You’re welcome.
Swiss Apple, Pear, Potato, and Bacon Braise
- One 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Add the salt and pepper and cream, stir well, and let simmer about 5 minutes longer. Serve hot.
Originally published February 11, 2018