Pastetli Mit Brätkügeli (Swiss Pasties With Sausage Meat)

From special occasion food to retro food

Pastetli are a bit of a retro food in Switzerland these days. When I was a child in the 1980ies, my mum made them regularly, mostly on Sundays or when we had guests over, but these days this is one of the Swiss meals that has been replaced by many modern families with more exotic choices such as a Thai curry or Mexican fajitas. But, the Pastetli are still around and they’re still part of the Swiss food landscape. The Pastetli itself is a basket made of puff pastry. You can buy them in any Coop or Migros, probably not in Aldi or Lidl. There are the regular sized ones and the tiny, bite-sized ones. The tiny ones are great as party food, filled with whatever savoury filling you like, for example cream cheese and salmon. The regular sized ones are mostly filled with either a creamy Brätkügeli sauce or a creamy mushroom sauce. When I was younger, the traditional filling was veal sweetbreads, but these days not many people still eat those parts of the calf. Photo source: Migros

How to cook Brätkügeli

The Brätkügeli (see photo) are small sausagemeatballs and still very popular. They’re traditionally made of veal, but other versions are available too. There are many recipes for Brätkügeli, for example the below sauce but with rice instead of puff pastry baskets, or with rice and a Swiss style curry sauce. Photo source: Migros

The origins of Pastetli

Pastetli were invented in France where they’re called vol-au-vent, French for ‘windblown’ to describe its lightness. The first time they appeared in a cookbook was in 1739. While they’re served as an appetiser in France, they’re eaten as a main meal not only in Switzerland but also in Belgium and the Netherlands. It is also from the Netherlands where our Swiss name Pastetli origins from. The Dutch call them pasteitje (little pastry). From there it came to the German Pastete. Just to add a little complication though, a Pastete in Switzerland is rectangle cake shaped puff pastry pie filled with sausagemeat, mushrooms and other things. The Pastetli, meaning little Pastete, is the French vol-au-vent. Confused? We are too.

Recipe for 4 people

  • 1 onion
  • 2 tbsps butter or oil
  • 150g button mushrooms
  • 3 tbsps flour
  • 1 dl white wine
  • 2 tsp beef stock powder
  • 1.5 dl cream
  • 600g Brätkügeli
  • 8 Pastetli
  • Some parsley or chives
  • Salt and pepper

Method

Pre-heat the oven to 160 degrees C.

Heat the butter or oil in a saucepan. Add the chopped onions and fry gently until soft. Add the chopped mushrooms and fry until the mushrooms are soft. Add the flour and fry for two minutes while constantly stirring.

Then add the wine, 4 dl of water and the stock powder. Bring to the boil and let it cook for 5-10 minutes while stirring regularly.

While the sauce is cooking, heat the puff pastry baskets in the oven for 5-10 minutes.

Add the cream and salt and pepper to taste. Add the Brätkügeli and cook until they’re hot. Chop the chives or parsley and stir it into the sauce.

Place the Pastetli baskets onto plates, fill them with the sausage meat and sauce and serve with either a salad or steamed vegetables. Enjoy!

2 Comment

  1. Kat says: Reply

    Hi! I wanted to try this but meatballs here are a suspicious mix of something I’m not sure I want to eat and preservative so I needed a home made meat ball recipe. I found one that should be good from the Annamarie Wildeisen site which I think should work. Except it calls for Kalbs brat which, I think is ground veal, which we can’t get here. I may try a mix of chicken and pork. Then I will have it all worked out for next Christmas.

    1. Little Zurich Kitchen says: Reply

      Oh that‘s a tricky one. The Kalbsbrät is very different to ground beef or veal, it‘s more like the sausage meat of a German bratwurst. A German butchery might be your best bet, either ask for Kalbsbrät and make little balls out of it or buy a German bratwurst (the white sausages) and make balls from that sausagemeat.

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