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The meat of battle— Switzerland

Preface

It is a country renowned for its neutrality, but there is nothing hands-off about Swiss Army life where their in-demand food is concerned.

Swiss, army, cooking, military

The Swiss military forces have a saying: “No food, no battle.” It’s an aphorism that Warrant Officer Reto Walther (pictured above), headteacher at Switzerland’s school for military kitchen chefs since 2003, knows well. Before joining the army, Walther learned his skills in Davos, where he cooked through three World Economic Forums. For the past nine years he has taught the secrets of traditional Swiss cooking to thousands of young men – and occasional women who volunteer to serve – completing their mandatory military service.

As part of his duties…

Army beef stew (Pot-au-feu)

1.5l water
1 beef stock cube
1kg cubed beef
2 laurel leafs
4 cloves
120g leeks
250g carrots
150g cabbage
250g potatoes
Salt, pepper

The method
Peel vegetables where necessary and cut into cubes. Bring water to boil and season with beef stock. Add meat and let simmer for 45-60 minutes. Add vegetables and potatoes, boil until potatoes are soft. Season with salt and pepper. Serve in soup bowls.

Recipe 02

Swiss Army cheese crouton

240g cheese mix (60g each of Emmentaler, Greyerzer, Tilsiter and Appenzeller)
40g chopped onions
1 garlic clove, chopped
100g plain flour
160g milk
1 egg
500g bread
Frying oil
Salt, pepper
Pinch of paprika
Pinch of nutmeg

The method
Mix cheese with onion, garlic and flour. Season with spices. Add milk and egg and set aside for 1 hour. Cut bread into 1cm slices and spread the cheese onto them about 5mm thick. Heat oil in a frying pan and deep-fry the bread slices (cheese side first) until golden brown. Serve immediately.

Monocle 24

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