Ghackets und Hörnli
My Grosi never made Ghackets and Hörnli. In fact, she never made anything with ground beef because she said that she had eaten enough mince for a lifetime, during the war.
When my mother moved to Canada, she began adding ground beef to her repertoire with such North American favourites like chilli, tacos, spaghetti and meatballs, and shepherd’s pie. But the Swiss classic, Ghackets und Hörnli, never crossed her mind until her Swiss friend Claudia came to visit.
“It’s what my kids like to eat” she told my mum, who then rolled the recipe into her canon.
Claudia was right. I loved Ghackets and Hörnli too, and it became a regular meal at our table.
When my Canadian friends were invited for dinner, my mum made this crowd-pleaser, which we’d refer to as Swiss Hamburger Helper.
“But yours is better, Mrs Pilot,” they told my mum.
My mum’s version didn’t have leeks—it had fewer vegetables in general—but I’ve upped the veg in this version and don’t serve a salad on the side, as my mum often did. She also never served apple sauce with hers, though my husband (and toddler) are adamant that this was a mistake.
I used some beautiful Edelweiss pasta I found at our local Coop, but usually macaroni is the noodle of choice.
500 g ground beef
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp thyme
1 tbsp tomato puree
1 leek, thinly sliced
2 carrots, thinly grated or diced
half a celery root, thinly grated or diced
500 ml beef stock
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper to taste
500 g pasta
In a large frying pan over medium heat, brown the beef.
Add the garlic, thyme, tomato puree, and leek, cooking for a few minutes.
Add the carrots and celery, and cook, stirring, for a couple minutes.
Add the beef stock and bay leaf. Simmer for about 10 minutes or until the vegetables are tender and the meat is cooked through.
Meanwhile, in a large pot of salted water cook the pasta according to the time on the package. Once it is tender, drain.
Either mix the pasta and beef together, or serve the pasta separate, with the beef spooned over top.
Serve with apple sauce.
You can swap out the leek with an onion. Same goes for the celery root with celery stalks
I finely grate the carrot and celery using a mandolin. You could also dice the veg.
This version is veggie-heavy. More traditional versions often scale back on the carrots and celery, and use an onion instead of a leek.