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A Visit from Andreas Caminada

The chef at Michelin-starred Schloss Schauenstein makes us dumplings

Bet you didn't know it's capuns season.

Unless you hail from one of the remote, lost-in-time Alpine villages of Switzerland's Graübunden canton, there's a pretty good chance you've never heard of these hearty, Swiss chard-wrapped dumplings.

Swiss chef Andreas Caminada introduced us to these little meat-filled treasures, poached in dark broth and topped with cheese and brown butter (see the recipe).

Maybe you haven't heard of Caminada either, but that's about to change: His restaurant Schloss Schauenstein, a hotel and restaurant in a castle somewhere high in the misty mountains, landed at #42 on the World's 50 Best Restaurants this year, and Caminada is the only chef in Switzerland with three Michelin stars to his name.

Caminada dropped by our Test Kitchen to show off the latest issue of Caminada, the impressively artsy food magazine he publishes in his free time. He was in New York to do a story on friend and fellow countryman Daniel Humm, who offered this succinct assessment of Caminada: "He's young, good looking and super passionate." (Judging by the general stir his presence caused in the kitchen, TT staffers seemed to agree.)

But back to those capuns: They're great for using up the odds and ends in your refrigerator. And in Graübunden, Caminada says, the tradition is to make and freeze a big batch to keep through the winter.

Roll up these little Swiss bundles using our step-by-step guide.

This isn't tweezery, Michelin-chef food. It's hearty, stabilizing fare--exactly what you want stored away for a cold day.

"I don't do stuff like this in the restaurant, obviously," Caminada said, grating cheese over the warm, gooey green bundles. "But it's still my favorite kind of food to eat when I'm cooking for me. At home, all the mamas and the grandmamas make capuns."

We helped ourselves to thirds, realizing only too late, after the handsome Swiss visitor had left to return to his castle, that we'd forgotten to ask the most important question: What do they call Swiss chard in Switzerland?

  • Slice off the bottom portion of the leaf so you are left with a 6-inch pointed leaf top.

  • Trim the sides on a bias so you have a triangle-shaped leaf that is 5 inches wide at the base and 6 inches tall.

  • Turn the leaves so the tips face you and place a scant tablespoon of the batter on the lower third of each chard leaf.

  • Fold the sides in. 

  • Then, roll to enclose (like a burrito).

  • Secure with a toothpick, and you're ready to simmer these little bundles of joy.

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