Adapted from Quiches, Kugels, and Couscous: My Search for Jewish Cooking in Franceby Joan Nathan
A RÖMERTOPF, A PORUS CLAY POT developed in the 1960s by a German company, is often used in Alsace and southern Germany for long- simmering stews. These stews may be akin to Alsatian baeckeoffe, a pot of meat (usually beef, pork, and veal along with calf or pig feet) mixed with potatoes, marinated in white wine, and cooked in the oven all day long, on Mondays, when the women traditionally do the wash. Agar Lippmann (see page 258) remembers her mother in Alsace making the Sabbath stew in a baeckeoffe, using a mix of flour and water to make a kind of glue to really seal the lid.
When I was having lunch at Robert and Eveline Moos’s house in Annecy, they used a Römertopf to make a similar lamb stew for me. Eveline ceremoniously brought the dish to the table, and in front of all of us, took off the top so that we were enveloped in the steam and aromas of the finished dish.
1 5- pound shoulder of lamb, deboned
2 cups white wine
2 onions, cut into chunks
4 pounds potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
4 zucchini, cut into chunks
4 tomatoes, peeled and quartered
5 cloves garlic
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil, or 1 teaspoon dried basil
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Marinate the lamb in the white wine overnight. Drain, saving the marinade.
Soak the Römertopf, if using, in cold water for about 1/2 hour. Then drain but don’t dry.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.*
Place half the onions and potatoes in a Dutch oven or Römertopf pan. Cover them with half the zucchini, half the tomatoes, 3 cloves of garlic, and a bay leaf. Add the lamb, and cover with the remaining onion, potatoes, zucchini, tomatoes, garlic, and bay leaf.
Add the wine marinade, sprinkle on the spices, and salt and freshly ground pepper to taste, cover, and bake for 3 hours. Bring to the table in the pot, and then cut the meat and serve.
Yield: 4-6 servings
*If using a Römertopf, KosherEye suggests to not preheat the oven. Place the Römertopf into a cold oven, as suggested by the manufacturer.