I decided to give up on downhill skiing. It’s an expensive sport to keep trying to enjoy and I just don’t think I will ever get there. The process alone of putting on the uncomfortable boots and carrying the skis to the lift starts the day off all wrong for me. For most people, getting to the top of the mountain makes that part all worth it, but for me, looking down the mountain turns my stomach in knots, inches my shoulders up to my ears, and tenses up my whole body. I wish I enjoyed it, but I don’t and I’m learning to accept it (and so is Jon). The best part about skiing for me has always been lunch on top of the mountain, preferably outside with the sun shining on me. And guess what? I don’t have to ski to do that! I can have my morning as usual, filled with some yoga and a chai tea, and take the gondola up once the clock strikes noon.
I’m sure glad I figured this out, because we have spent a lot of time in the mountains this winter. There are so many cute Swiss mountain towns and even though we’ve been to a handful, we haven’t begun to see all of them. Our first visit to the mountains was to see the Matterhorn in Zermatt. And this year, we have been to Davos, Andermatt, and most recently, Lenzerheide.
Each town has their own unique charm, but there is one thing that is always the same; Swiss comfort food.
Since fondue and I are no longer on speaking terms, I have started trying everything else on the menu that I might get along with. Some of my favorites include the bratwurst with a nice onion gravy and pommes, goulash soup, rösti (hashbrowns with different toppings), and of course, the g’hacktes mit hörnli.
The first time I tried g’hacktes mit hörnli was at our friend’s ski apartment in Lenzerheide. The location of their apartment could not be more convenient for skiers. It is a mere ten steps to the ski lift that gets you on the mountain, which makes it easy for the skiers to pop in for a quick lunch. My friend made this meal the last time we were there and we loved it. The sauce is a perfect change of pace from your average Bolognese sauce, and in addition to the nice meat sauce atop macaroni, it’s served with applesauce (apfelmus). My sweet and savory loving taste buds were happy.
This past weekend, we were back in Lenzerheide and on day two (after I got in my lunch in the sun on the mountain), Jon requested the “muesli thing” for lunch. Muesli is in fact a mixture of cereals, oats, and fruit…that he never eats. But somehow, in knowing him for the past five years, I knew exactly what he really wanted.
The –li on the end let me know he really wanted the other thing with the –li on the end: hörnli. So I figured it was time to give this Swiss favorite a whirl…
…and I can happily report that with a meal like this, it’s worth having lunch inside every once in a while.
- 1 lb// 400g ground beef
- 1 carrot, peeled and finely diced
- 2 medium celery sticks, finely diced
- 1 medium onion, finely diced
- 1 cup // 250mL red wine
- 1 cup// 250mL beef stock
- 3 tablespoons tomato puree
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 lb// 450 grams macaroni
- 2 cups//400 grams applesauce
- Saute the beef, onions, carrot, celery, and carrot together until the beef is browned and the onions are transparent, about 5-7 minutes. Add in the wine, stock, tomato puree, paprika, and thyme to the pan. Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer for 30 minutes, or until all the vegetables are soft. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- In a separate pot, boil water with dash of salt and prepare the macaroni according to the package. Drain the macaroni and portion into bowls.
- Spoon the beef mixture on top of the macaroni. Serve with applesauce.
- Optional: Sprinkle parmesan cheese on top of the beef sauce.