Swiss Meat Loaf (Hackbraten)

Hackbraten (Swiss meat loaf) is a classic Swiss dish; in my family it used to a firm favourite for Sunday lunch. When I was a child, we used to buy ours at a butchery in Winterthur. It was  by far the best Hackbraten around, but sadly, like so many other butcheries, this one had shut down some years ago. Here’s my recipe for a Swiss Hackbraten. I think it’s a great dish for dinner parties – it’s a nice looking meat dish but comparably cheap because it’s made with minced meat. What’s more, you can prepare it in advance, store it in the fridge and let it bake away in the oven while you entertain your guests.

The Swiss way of eating Hackbraten is with brown sauce and any side dish, I like it with mashed potatoes, homemade Knöpfli pasta or some nice noodles.

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Recipe for 4 people

  • 1 onion
  • 1 carrot
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 3 slices of white toast bread
  • 0.75 dl milk
  • 2 sprigs of rosemary
  • 2 sprigs of thyme
  • 600g mince, either beef or beef and veal mixed
  • 1 tsp sweet paprika powder
  • 0.5 tsp curry
  • 1.5 tsp salt
  • pepper

Method
Chop the onion, carrot and garlic. In a frying pan, heat up some olive oil and fry the onion, garlic and carrot until soft. Remove the bread crusts (you can use them for making breadcrumbs later on), chop the bread and mix it with the milk and let it rest until the milk is soaked up. Finely chop the herbs and chop the milky bread until it resembles mashed potatoes.

Preheat the oven to 180 C. In a bowl, mix the meat, vegetables, milky bread, spices, salt and pepper. Knead the mixture for about 2 minutes. If you don’t mind tasting raw meat, taste it and add more salt if needed. Form mixture into a long, round shape and place into a baking dish lined with baking paper. Bake for about 40 minutes until meat is cooked.

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