Bio – for the love of food and a healthy constitution
Biologically-friendly food production is becoming more important for all generations. Using bio products and supporting their manufacture is an approach to life. The main ingredient for the successful kitchen at the Biohotel Leutascherhof: a better sense of wellbeing using natural products.
If you eat in a biologically-friendly manner, you eat differently. Whether you are a gourmet, a culinary expert or suffer from allergies, healthy eating is becoming more important these days. Biologically-friendly food cooked in the right way does wonders for the body and, within a short period, noticeably increases your sense of wellbeing. The decisive reason for the change in the kitchens of the Biohotel Leutascherhof was a food intolerance experienced by a family member. A preference for regional products and the personal contact with suppliers were also important factors. Senior chef Otto Wandl switched to a 100 % bio-cuisine in 2008. “The preparation of the food in the kitchen became more humanised again, with a slower pace and people seemed to eat in a more relaxed way,” he says.
But not all ‘bio’ is biologically-friendly. To qualify for this label, there are strict quality controls which cover purchase and certification and inspections several times during each year. There are no partly-cooked or prepared products. From jams through to croquette potatoes everything is freshly-produced in-house. “If you don’t live in a biologically-friendly way, it is impossible to try to implement it in the kitchen,” says Otto Wandl.
Curious about this thoroughly ‘bio’ menu: Cabbage strudel with parsnips followed by a tasty saddle of venison from the Karwendel* in a poppy-seed crust with grape and balsamic vinegar glaze and pumpkin gnocchi. I follow chef Otto Wandl into the kitchen. On with the aprons and off we go!
*(In biologically-friendly food production ‘Wildfang’ (‘caught in the wild’) means an animal that has been caught in the wild and not raised in a biologically-friendly way)
Appetiser: Sauerkraut Strudel* with Parsnips
For the Strudel Pastry mix all the ingredients together and work them into a smooth pastry. Cover and leave to rest for around 30 minutes. For the Sauerkraut filling fry the onions, walnuts and croutons in the oil until they are golden. Add the dried apple, physalis, orange zest and thyme and mix them briefly with the other ingredients. Press the sauerkraut to remove excess moisture and add it, the crème fraîche, salt and pepper. (The filling should not be too liquid.) Roll out the strudel pastry and add the filling in a straight line before rolling it up into a strudel shape. The strudel should be baked for 30-40 minutes in an oven preheated to 180°C.
Peel the parsnips, quarter them lengthways and cook in the oil for 20 minutes on a low heat. Add the sesame seeds and maple syrup and cook until they are lightly caramelised. All that remains is to arrange the strudel and tasty parsnips on a plate.
Main Course: Saddle of Venison in a Poppy Seed Crust with a Grape-Balsamic Vinegar Glaze and Pumpkin Gnocchi
Saddle of Venison:
Prepare the saddle by removing any skin and all veins. Remove the bones, chop them into smaller pieces and roast them in oil. Dice the root vegetables, the onion and the apple and add them to the bones. Deglaze a few times with the red wine. Add the cranberries and sufficient water for a sauce and leave to cook for an hour. Thicken with cornstarch.
Divide the saddle of venison into four, add herbs and dip the upper side in the ground poppy seeds. Fry the meat for a short time in the sunflower oil with the poppy seed side downwards. (Take care that the poppy seeds do not burn.) Now roast the venison for 4-5 minutes in an oven preheated to 170°C and leave to rest in a warm place for around 10 minutes.
Grape-Balsamic Vinegar Glaze:
Cook all ingredients: balsamic vinegar, grape juice, cane sugar and 1 pinch of rock salt until they form a thick sauce.
Wrap the potatoes in kitchen foil and bake for around an hour in an oven preheated to 200°C. The pumpkin (with skin) should be cut into walnut-sized pieces and arranged on a baking tray covered with foil. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, garlic, thyme, chili powder and coriander, cover with another sheet of foil and bake for 30 minutes in an oven heated to 160°C.
Once the potatoes are cooked, remove the skins and mash. Mix the pumpkin pieces together and rub through a coarse sieve. Knead the pumpkin, potato and the cumin, flour, egg and egg yolk into a dough. Form them into strips (around 1cm in diameter) and cut them into pieces to form the gnocchi. The gnocchi are cooked in boiling water – as soon as they start to float, they are ready.
I’m always open for anything new from the kitchen and the succulent cabbage strudel was a real highlight. Even during the preparations, I was nibbling away at the fresh ingredients. As a hunter and passionate fan of game I was looking forward to the main course of saddle of venison. Delicate, pink meat that melted like butter on the tongue and an unbelievable combination of flavours added by the balsamic vinegar glaze. The subtle pumpkin gnocchi rounded off the main course perfectly. ????????TIP: Vegetables always fit as a side dish ????.
‘Bio’ is a healthy way of life and enjoyable to cook. This point of view is one of the core beliefs in the kitchen of Biohotel Leutascherhof. Not only with the tasty dishes, but also with the entertaining and happy nature of the chef and his team.
Photos: Heidi Jehle