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CHEF'S CORNER

 
Zweibelkuchen
By Angelo DeCecco

 

After more than twenty years of traveling the globe as a military officer, I have decided to let my wife be the breadwinner, while I dedicate my efforts to living la dolce vita. We are now living in Bonlanden, a picturesque small village outside of Stuttgart, Germany, and while my wife helps keep the world safe for democracy, I intend to do my best to make the world safe for decent food - and to share with you the joys of European cuisine and lifestyle.
 
While my culinary compass will normally point me south towards Italy or west towards France, for this, my first contribution, I offer my observations of one of the most enjoyable aspects of living in Germany - the Fest. As we enter the Fall harvest season many Germany towns schedule festivals to celebrate the bounties of the German countryside. Here in our neighborhood, this past weekend marked the celebration of Kraut at the world's largest salute to cabbage in Leinfelden-Echterdingen (visit web site).
 
One of the most enjoyable ways to sample the distinctive pointed local cabbage, known as "Spitzkohl," or "Filderkraut" is as "Krautschopfnudeln." This dish is a combination of Filderkraut and the local noodles, known as "Spaetzle," cooked together in a huge pan over an open fire. When paired with glass of the local beer or the delicious local wine, a visitor is truly immersed in the Swabian culture and "gemuetlichkeit."
 
Another great dish to enjoy at a local Fest is "Zwiebelkuchen," or German onion pie (visit web site). This is a popular year-round food, a variety of which, torte l'oignon," is also prepared in the Alsatian region of France. This is an easy dish to prepare at home. If you are not feeling like a pastry chef, you can also make or purchase a standard pie crust. This allows you to prepare an excellent Zwiebelkuchen with only a little effort.
 
If you decide to make a Zwiebelkuchen, I suggest that you pair it with a German or Alsatian white wine. A Riesling or a pinot blanc is always an excellent choice. Vintners here in the Swabian region of southwest Germany (Baden-Wurttenberg) also make an excellent light red wine. One especially good choice from this area is a wine called "Trollinger mit Lemberger," a wine commonly produced from the hillside vineyards in Wurttenberg that line the Neckar River. Challenge your local state store to find this tasty, light, unusually dry red wine that matches well with Zwiebelkuchen, and is great as a sipping wine on a lazy Sunday afternoon.
 
So do as the Germans do! Take advantage of the last rays of the autumn sun, go for a walk in the woods, and afterwards, enjoy your Zwiebelkuchen with a fine glass of Trollinger wine.
 
Look forward to future articles on Thanksgiving in Rome, food pairings with British Real Ale, and Christmas delights from Austria.
 
From the front lines of good food, your correspondent,
 
Angelo
 
Zweibelkuchen - Serves 8
Onion Pie

 
Serve as a snack, appetizer, or light lunch with white wine
 
Oven: 375
 
Ingredients:
 
PASTRY (can substitute a standard 9" pie crust, if desired)

  • 2 cups self-raising flour

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 6 oz butter

  • 1 egg, beaten

  • 1 tablespoon cream (optional)

  • 1 egg white, lightly beaten

  •  
    FILLING
  • 8 oz onions, chopped

  • 2 slices bacon, diced

  • 2 tablespoons butter

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • 1 teaspoon caraway seeds

  • 1/2 tablespoon flour

  • 1/2 C cream

  • 2 eggs, beaten

  •  
    PASTRY
    Combine flour and salt. Dice the butter and cut into the flour until the mixture is the consistency of breadcrumbs. Add the egg and blend until the dough is pliable. Add the cream if the dough is not sufficiently moist. Roll out the dough and press it into the bottom and sides of a 9" pie or tart pan. Brush the egg white over the bottom of the dough.
     
    FILLING
    Saute the onions and bacon in the butter until soft. Add the salt and caraway seeds. Stir in the flour and slowly add the cream. Remove from the heat. Add the beaten eggs and mix well together. Pour into the pastry lined dish. Bake until the pastry is golden and the filling is firm.
     

    Angelo a Penn State Grad, has had the great fortune of seeing the world with the US Army over the past 25 years. He currently lives in Rome, Italy where he spends the day contemplating making and eating food.
     
     
     
     

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