Recipes from Our Kitchen
The Phineas Swann gourmet breakfasts are something to behold and even better to taste. But, in addition to letting you in on our secret to our banan walnut pancakes, we’re also passing on the recipe to a couple of our evening dishes (Beef Burgundy Stew and Alsatian-Style Sausage Casserole) just because we love them!
Alsatian-Style Sausage & Chops Casserole
Sauerkraut originated, I learned while living in Paris, in an area that is now in France—the Alsace region. The area was a part of France, then a part of Germany, then a part of France, then Germany, and now, again, France. The food there is spectacular and this dish is extremely popular. The trick to this recipe is ensuring the sauerkraut is treated correctly. It should not be bitter but sweet when properly cooked. Don’t go for the canned kraut when making the dish—almost all the markets now carry fresh sauerkraut in foil or plastic bags. This is not a dish for the faint hearted—it is a hearty, filling dish. The amounts I have shown here will easily serve 6 hungry folks, or four if Jay is eating.
You will need:
- 4 pork chops (about ¼” to ½” thick)
- 4 German style white sausages (bratwurst or “weisswurst”)
- 4 Bockwurst or red sausage
- 1 large ham steak cut into quarters
- ½ pound bacon
- 1 pound potatoes, peeled, parboiled and thickly sliced (a little less than ¼" thick slices)
- 2 pounds of fresh sauerkraut, thoroughly rinsed, drained, and squeezed dry
- 2 medium-sized Granny Smith apples, peeled, pared, and diced
- ½ cup dry white wine
- Salt, pepper, and Caraway seeds
Start by frying up the bacon till crisp and setting it aside. Leave the bacon fat in the pan and brown the pork chops, then the bratwurst, and finally the Bockwurst. Make sure they are all nicely browned on all sides and set them aside.
While the fat in the pan still piping hot, throw in the sauerkraut. Turn down the heat a bit, and sauté the kraut in hot fat for about 8 to 10 minutes, mix in the caraway seeds and set it aside. Next, sauté the diced onions and apples for about 5 minutes—just until the onions are soft and the apples have taken on a nice golden color. (You may need to add a bit of extra fat to sauté the apples and onions.) When done set these aside.
You are now ready to assemble the casserole. Using a large deep casserole dish with a tight fitting lid, start by layering two thirds of the kraut onto the bottom, then a layer of half of the onion/ apples mixture, followed by all the potatoes. Next, layer all the meats tightly into one layer and top them with the remaining sauerkraut. Cover tightly, and bake in 375° oven for 1 to 1-¼ hours. While the casserole is in the oven, crumble the bacon and set aside.
When ready, remove from the oven, lift the layer of meats to the top of the kraut, and sprinkle the dish with the crumbled bacon bits. I knew I had this recipe down pat, when I was living in Germany, and my German friends asked for my recipe!
Walnut Pancakes with Vermont Maple Syrup
Here is one of my recipes for pancakes that our guests usually rave about. Jay, my “professional taster”, got rather tired of eating pancakes until I finally got this one right. But then, he really loves pancakes! (My stuffed French toast recipe is pretty nice too, but I want our guests to have some surprises when they come!) I wanted a recipe that allowed me to do as much in advance as possible, but still had all the flavor of just having whipped it up. I have listed the ingredients for about 10 pancakes. (As you can imagine, I increase the amounts quite a bit when we have a full house, as we often have over 20 guests at a time.)
The night before combine into a bowl:
- 1¾ cups all purpose
- ¼ stone ground cornmeal
- 3 teaspoons granulated light brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoons baking soda
- 2 tablespoons grated orange zest
The next morning, beat together and add to the dry ingredients:
- 2 large eggs
- 1½ cups buttermilk
- ½ cup milk
- 4 tablespoons melted butter
- 1 teaspoon banana extract
Finally, add to the batter:
- 2 bananas, very thinly sliced
If you really want to have almost nothing to do the next morning you can just finish the batter the night before, except for the bananas, but, if you do, make sure you take the batter out of the refrigerator an hour before you start breakfast otherwise the pancakes won’t cook evenly. I keep eggs at room temperature (since I go through so many), so I mix up the liquid ingredients in the morning.
You can’t add the bananas until you are ready to cook the cakes (or the bananas can turn brownish). The bananas also need to be sliced very thinly to ensure the batter cooks completely without burning the bananas.
Preheat your griddle; grease it very lightly, and pour about a ¼ cup of batter onto the griddle for each pancake. Before you serve a stack, throw a few slices of banana and sprinkle whole walnuts on top of the stack. As you can imagine, I always serve these with pure medium to dark amber Vermont maple syrup.
Hearty Beef Burgundy Stew
This is a simple dish, which I like to serve to guests on a cold wintry afternoon. It is one of Jay’s favorites, which is fine by me, since it is incredibly simple and easy to make. You will need:
- 2 pounds of stewing beef, cut into 1" cubes
- 4 medium carrots, peeled and cut into thick rounds (about ¼" thick slices)
- 5 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into ½" pieces
- 2 medium sized onions, peeled and diced
- 2 cans of condensed tomato soup
- 2 cans of low sodium beef broth
- ¾ cup dry red wine (I prefer red Bordeaux)
- 2 teaspoons of salt
- ½ teaspoon of pepper
- ½ teaspoon dried basil,
- ¼ teaspoon oregano,
- 1 teaspoon sugar
Using a large Dutch oven, brown the meat in hot fat, and set it aside. Pour out any remaining fat; add the meat back to the pot, the two cans of soup, the two cans of broth and all the remaining ingredients. Bring to a simmer, and cook for 1-½ to 1-¾ hours. About half way through, be sure and taste to season for additional salt, basil, oregano or pepper. Like I said, this dish is easy! You may need to add a little water if it looks like it is drying out.
About 20 minutes before serving, if it looks a little too thin for your liking (Jay likes thick stews), you can always add a little roux in the last 15 minutes on the stove.
As a meal, (as opposed to an afternoon snack for skiers) I like to serve this stew with a romaine lettuce salad, German potato dumplings and hot bread.
I hope you will try some of my dishes. The most important ingredient, in all of these recipes, of course, is a large dose of active tasting. The more you taste along the way, the more you are sure to have it just right when it hits the table.