THE ASCHER HUT. BELGIAN-PAZNAUN FRIENDSHIP.

The view from the Ascher Hut is incredible. The paths up to the summits of the Samnaun group are amongst the most beautiful you can take from here. And award-winning Belgian chef Arabelle Meirlaen has contributed a delicate, light dish to the hut’s menu.

The hut dates back to the time when the Austrian and German Alpine Clubs still acted as a joint association. In 1896, the Section Asch built the hut under the Blankakopf at a height of 2 256m. You can read more on the history of the Ascher Hut here.

The hut can be reached from See on a hike of around four hours, or alternatively you can climb up from Pifang over the Medrig Alm, which takes four hours for an experienced hiker, and five walking at a more comfortable pace. From Tobadill the climb takes around six hours.

A whole range of mountain peaks can be reached directly from this hut, which has been described by many hikers as one of the most beautiful places in Paznaun. In two to two-and-a-half hours you can reach the Rotpleiskopf, (2 936m), the Furgler (3 004m), the Gamsbergspitze (2 839m), the Blankakopf (2 892m), and the Kübelgrubenkopf (2 870m). It takes longer to get up to the legendary Hexenkopf (3 035 metres), between five and six hours, in fact, depending on your level of fitness.

It’s also, of course, a great experience to simply sit on the terrace of the Ascher Hut and eat a meal there – for example, the dish that award-winning Belgian chef Arabelle Meirlaen has created for the Culinary Way of St James.

For everyone who has to stay at home, here’s the recipe:

Lentil risotto
with maize-fed chicken and spices

Serves 4

I N G R E D I E N T S

4 maize-fed chicken breasts
Thyme, rosemary
Olive oil, salt, pepper
Chicken stock

100 g red lentils
3 cloves of garlic
20 g ginger
Tumeric, cinnamon, sea salt

250 g leaf spinach
Olive oil
Sea salt


P R E P A R A T I O N

Marinate the chicken with the herbs and olive oil, vacuumize, cook at 65 °C for 20 minutes in a water bath sous vide, and season with salt and pepper to finish. Brown the chicken briefly in olive oil and garnish with a handful of wild herbs to serve.

To make the stock, brown the chicken pieces, add root vegetables, garlic and ginger and pour in the white soya sauce. Finally add the bay leaves, parsley and thyme, top up with water, season and leave to cook for two hours, before straining.

For the lentil risotto: glaze the thinly-sliced garlic and ginger, then add the lentils, pour on the chicken stock to a depth of 1cm above the lentils, season and leave to simmer for six minutes. Finally leave the lentil risotto to cool, warming it up directly before serving.

Pluck the spinach leaves, remove the stems and toss the leaves in olive oil and sea salt.

Arrange the lentil risotto on a plate with the spinach leaves, place the chicken breast on top and garnish with marinated wild herbs.