Local food – pork and bacon dishes
Pork, bacon and ham are universal staples in many Luxembourgish dishes. The Grand Duchy is also fond of the broad bean, and of course, their unique version of dumplings – kniddelen, served here with a bit of bacon.
You'll need a hearty appetite for both these local dishes.
Judd mat Gaardebounen
Considered by many to be the national dish, this simple recipe consists of smoked collar of pork (soaked overnight), cooked with leeks, carrots, celery, and herbs, and served with broad beans in a wine sauce. It’s a dish best cooked slowly, and the tender pork is then sliced and served with the beans in a sauce and boiled potatoes. The addition of savory (a type of herb that comes in winter and summer varieties) adds a natural peppery taste to the beans.
It’s associated specifically with the village of Gostingen in the commune of Flaxweiler to the south-east of the country, whose inhabitants, known as Bounepatscherten, are renowned for growing the best broad beans.
The origin of the word “judd” has been researched by Jean-Claude Muller who presides over the Genealogy Centre Luxembourg, and is thought to have come from the Spanish word “judia”. In fact, a similar recipe is made in Galicia. Muller suggests that it is possible that the dish was brought to Luxembourg in the 16th and 17th centuries by Spanish troops.
- 1.5kg smoked pork collar
- 1kg fresh shelled broad beans (the season starts early summer but you can use frozen or tinned ones)
- 4 cloves of garlic, crushed
- 1 leek chopped
- 1 carrot chopped
- 1 onion
- 4 cloves
- 4 celery stalks, chopped
- 125ml Moselle wine (Elbling is recommended)
- 50g butter
- 50g flour
- 2 bay leaves
- 15g summer savory herb (if you can’t find this, use a mix of sage and thyme)
This dish requires a bit of pre-work in that you should soak the smoked pork collar in advance for about 8 hours, changing the water every 2 hours or so, to lessen the salty taste.
When this has been done, put the collar together with the chopped vegetables in a large pot and cover with water. Peel the onion and stud with the cloves, and also place this in the pot with the bay leaves and bring it to the boil, then turn the heat down and simmer for 2 hours.
For the beans, boil them first in salted water for five minutes, then blanche them (put in cold water) to retain their flavour. To make the sauce, melt the butter in a pan and add the flour and mix on a low heat until you create a dark roux. Then add 250ml of the meat/vegetable stock from the pot with the vegetables and pork collar. Simmer until the sauce thickens, then add the savory (or alternative herbs) and the wine, and simmer for another 10 minutes, finally adding the broad beans.
When the pork is tender, remove from the pot and cut into thick slices. Serve with the beans in sauce accompanied with boiled potatoes and sprig of parsley to garnish.
Where to buy smoked collar of pork
Kniddelen mat Speck
Speck is smoked pork belly and is essentially a version of bacon or lardons. The word “speck” is thought to have become popular in the 18th century replacing the older German term “bachen”.
Kniddelen are another beloved Luxembourgish dish. Made with flour, eggs and milk, and cooked like dumplings in boiling water, they are not unlike gnocchi or spaetzle.
- 3 eggs
- 350g wheat flour
- 200ml milk
- 150g smoked lardons or finely diced smoked bacon
Sieve the flour into a large bowl and make a well. Whisk the eggs and milk together and poor in the well, then season with salt and pepper and work into the flour to make a dough. Fill a pan with several litres of boiling water and some salt and bring to the boil.
Using two teaspoons take a small amount of dough and slide it into the water. After a few minutes the dumpling should rise to the surface (which means it's cooked), and you can remove it and place in a dish.
When you’ve cooked all the dough into kniddelen, fry the bacon or lardons in butter and pour over the dumplings. If you prefer, you can add the dumplings and fry them a little too. For extra flavour, you can put rosemary into the dough mix before you cook it.