Hard-Boiled Swiss JesusHome >> Recipes
This is a boutefas [boot-fah], a very popular sausage in my parts of Lake Geneva, Switzerland. They make it with ground pork meat stuffed in pig's gut and cold smoked for hours. Then they hang it by the dozen in the butcher's shop like Chinese lanterns until somebody buys it. The surface has a wonderful smokey taste that makes you want to rub your nose on it. A very obscene sausage when you come to think of it. Believe me, you don't want to know exactly which part of the pig's guts was used to stuff the meat. Suffice to know that it is somewhere after the stomach down that long line between the mouth and the sticky end. In the Jura mountains they call it a 'Jesus'. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust.
There is but one way to cook a boutefas or a saucisse aux choux, its longer cousin. Fill a pot with water, bring to the boil, plunge the sausage and reduce the heat to the lowest setting to let it simmer for 90 minutes. How many times have I seen my mum kill a sausage by boiling it on high heat? The sausage will break open if you do it. And if you stick toothpicks in the sausage to prevent any explosion, it will leak its fat into the water (good) and replace it with water (bad). So if you bring one of them boutefas back from Switzerland, heed my words and let it simmer really gently. I just placed my pot in the oven at 70°C / 160°F.
The traditional accompaniment for a boutefas is papet vaudois, the national of the canton Vaud.
Papet vaudois [pah-pay vaw-doah]
Trim the leeks and dicard damaged leaves. Slice then lengthwise and wash carefully to remove the dirt stuck within the leaves.
Papet purists only use leek green. If your heart is pure, discard the white part or save it for another use. Leek green has more taste and stands up better to the sausage's strong smokey taste.
Slice the green part in 2 cm / 0.8'' segments.
Melt the butter in a large pot ...
... and add the leek. Let the leek sweat over medium high heat, turning frequently. The idea is to soften the leek and let its water evaporate. It will take about 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, start peeling the potatoes...
... then dice them coarsely...
... and finally let the potatoes join the leeks.
Pour in the white wine (I'm using Valaisian white wine rather than Vaudois, but don't leak this!).
Let the wine bubble until there is no alcohol left. You'll know it when it stops smelling like alcohol. Toss the leeks and potatoes, reduce the heat to low and cover. Leave to simmer for 60 minutes, turning from time to time.
The potatoes should be mushy. Crush them to a pulp. Proper papet is not made from crunchy vegetables in clear juice; it is more like a very thick soup. The fine people of Vaud use the word papet pejoratively for something that ought to be hard but is not. Snow that has been rained upon, ice cream or chocolate left in the sun ... you get the picture.
I will now leak the final secret to a really successful papet. Take the pot off the fire and add an extra piece of butter. Drizzle on top a little of your best white wine vinegar. The acidity helps restore interest in an otherwise rather bland leek and potato dish. Even if, like myself, you don't care for vinegar, do this and taste the difference.
Bring the boutefas out of the pot and tell him his hour has come.
Place it on a carving board.
At last the boutefas reveals its mystery. At 40% pig fat and 15 grams of salt per kilogram of meat, it is no poster boy for any diet. But as any vaudois will tell you, «It is not the boutefas that makes you fat. It is what you eat with it.»
Place a slice of of boutefas on top the papet and serve.
Delicious! The bland but deliciously buttery leeks and potatoes contrast sharply with the sausage's pungent smokey porkiness. This is Swiss slow comfort food and a very popular family dish in the canton of Vaud (North coast of Lake Geneva).
If you are a cowboy who lives in a chalet with no electricity and could use some extra calories to keep you alive through the night, then you can cook the boutefas directly on the papet to let some of its fat mix with the vegetables. Otherwise, this traditional way is just not recommended as you risk overcooking the vegetables, and there is plenty of fat to go on anyway. If you buy one of these sausages while visiting Switzerland I think you can safely bring it home to cook it later, it is designed to keep for weeks.