Showing posts with label Veal. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Veal. Show all posts

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

How to make Genovese sauce



The origin of this sauce is unclear.

Though its name implies a specialty of the port town Genoa, the capital of the Liguria region, good luck finding it anywhere near the place. Rather, the onion-based ragu can be gotten in the Campania region of Italy, specifically around the province of Naples.

Don't ask me why.

Anyhow, my family's roots just happen to be planted around Naples. And so when the time came to use my newly harvested garden onions to try making this Genovese sauce, I did the sensible thing to seek guidance: I dialed up my Aunt Anna.

"Didn't I just talk to you a day or two ago?" she asked.

Anna and I speak regularly but not this regularly.

"Yeah, but I forgot to ask you about this sauce I'm in the middle of making."

"A what?"

"A sauce. I think you used to make it when we were kids."

After repeating the word sauce four times and spelling it twice, it was clear that my dear aunt and I were getting nowhere together very fast.

"I don't understand what you're saying. Here, tell Frank."

Cousin Frank is Anna's son in-law, what with him being married to her daughter Josephine. The two of them just happened to be having lunch with both Anna and Aunt Rita when I called.

"Your aunt isn't wearing her hearing aid," Frank said by way of introduction. "I honestly don't know how you two manage to talk on the phone at all."

It occurred to me to say that the 300 miles separating my aunt and me doesn't leave us a lot of options, but I was literally in the middle of getting the ragu started for a dinner party later that same day.

Time was of the essence, as this is the kind of ragu that must be cooked for hours or not at all.

"Just ask her if she used to make a pasta sauce that uses a huge amount of onions, and no tomatoes whatsoever," I told my cousin. "It's also got meat in it but the onions are the big thing."

Dutifully Frank relayed my query, though he too had to repeat himself to be understood.

"She's shaking her head 'no'," Frank told me. "And she's about the grab the phone from my hand, so goodbye, say hi to ...."

"You're making a tomato sauce without tomatoes?" Anna cried. "What are you, crazy? Why would you do that?"

"Not tomato sauce, Anna. It's made with onions and meat and it's Napoletana so I figured you might know it. I'm making it right now, in fact."

"You have a recipe?" she asked.

"No, that's why I called you, to see how you might have made it. I'm just kinda winging it here."

"You're singing? I thought you were cooking."

This is about the time I told Anna that I had to go.

"If it turns out good I'll give you the recipe. Give my love to Rita. And put in your freaking hearing aid, would you."

"I love you too" is all I heard before my aunt hung up and was gone.

One day, hopefully many many years from now, I am going to miss these conversations.

Whether they make any sense or not.



Anyhow, these are some of the onions from my garden. I wanted to cook something where they would be a central ingredient, which is how the Genovese ragu came to mind.



Start with a good bit of olive oil and around half a stick of butter.



Once the butter has melted add 2 to 2 1/2 pounds of veal stew meat and brown. Then remove the meat and set aside. (Beef or pork would work fine as well.)



After removing the veal add three finely diced carrots, four diced celery stalks and maybe five chopped garlic cloves (I actually used seven). Sauce until softened.



Then add in the veal.



And then add three pounds of sliced onions.



At this point you've got a choice of adding some kind of stock or white wine. I went with around a quart of freshly made chicken stock.



Now add some salt and pepper to taste, incorporate, and cover the pot. Turn the heat to around medium and simmer for a few hours, checking and stirring periodically. The onions will release a lot of moisture, and over time they will completely break down. It's unlikely that you'll need to add any other liquid at all, but do so if necessary.



This ragu cooked for around four hours. It's on the thick side, as I believe it should be, but decide for yourself how moist you'd like it. As you can see, the long cooking time didn't just break down the onion but the veal, too.



As for which pasta to use, aim towards the hearty, not the delicate. I made these mafalde nice and thick and they worked out fine, but something like a rigatoni or paccheri, or even ziti would be perfect.



It turned out pretty well and so I'm going share the recipe with my aunt.

Hopefully she'll be able to hear me this time.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Veal & peas



I was in an old-school mood last night.

Veal and peas (spezzatino di vitello con piselli) isn't the kind of thing you see around very much. The last time I saw it on a menu was in Rhode Island, at a crazy place called Mike's that operates out of a VFW hall. (Don't laugh. Mike's has been a seriously good source for old-school Italian food for years. I'd give a lot to have a place like that nearby.)

Anyhow, I'd made a batch of my meatballs over the weekend and had some veal stew meat leftover (I grind the veal to make the meatballs). Next thing you know I see some fresh peas at a farmstand nearby, and, well, there you go.



When the two pounds of fresh peas that I'd gotten (for $14, by the way) only netted out at a cup of peas I decided to add frozen. No matter. Whether you go with fresh or frozen just make sure to have around two cups of peas total.



This is a little over a pound of veal stew meat, trimmed and cut into small pieces. 



In a pan saute one chopped onion, a finely diced carrot and two cloves of garlic in olive oil. Do this at a low to medium flame so that things don't brown too much, if at all.



Once the onions and carrots have softened add around 1/3 cup of dry white wine or vermouth (which is what I used here).



I also added a little fresh thyme at this point.



After the wine has evaporated add around 3/4 cup of chopped tomatoes. These are fresh from the garden but canned is fine too.



Then add in the veal.



Now add enough stock to cover things up (I used around 3/4 quart of homemade chicken stock). Add a little salt and freshly ground pepper and make sure the flame is on low so that the veal can simmer for a while.



The quality and age of the veal will affect how long it needs to cook, but figure on around 90 minutes or so, possible even two hours. I tasted the veal at the 70-minute mark and it was pretty much all there, and so I stirred in the peas and just a little more stock and let things simmer another 10 minutes before turning off the heat.



As I said, old school.

Just how I like it.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Whole braised veal shanks


I had the great pleasure of acting as witness to the nuptials of some very dear friends yesterday afternoon, an intimate affair at their home overlooking Casco Bay.

Somebody (I won't say who) decided that it might be swell if I prepared two of the five courses served. One was a pasta (of course), the other these veal shanks.

It's a really simple dish to prepare.


Salt the shanks well on all sides — and I do mean well. This is no time to be shy. Under-salting at this stage will substantially diminish the flavor of the meat.


In a Dutch oven brown the shanks in hot olive oil, then remove and set aside.


Add lots of leeks and plenty of garlic to the oil, lightly brown, and add some white wine. I also used several anchovy fillets, but you don't have to if you don't want to. You can also add carrots and celery if you like.


Place the shanks back into the pot and add enough chicken stock to nearly cover them. Also add plenty of herbs (there's rosemary, thyme, and marjoram here, and I tied them together with string so that they could be removed later on). Cover and place into a 375 degree oven for 30 minutes, then lower the heat to 325-350 for another 2 hours.


With a fork check to see that the meat is super tender. Dishes like this are always better the next day and so I'd suggest allowing the whole thing to cool and putting the pot in the fridge overnight.


The next day simply reheat, carve up the shanks, and serve them like so. This was the last course of the afternoon, and it seemed to go over pretty well.


Scott Tyree & Giovani Twigge, 10-5-13

Except how do you compete with one of these jobs, am I right?

Nice job, gents!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Carmellini's 'best' osso bucco


This year I hosted not one but two ladies on Valentine's Day. Shyster Jersey Lawyer Friend came by the casa, see, and I had been earlier made wise to the fact that she was desirous of some meat. (Pasta is what the woman normally seeks, preferably the homemade variety, so as to require the maximum amount of effort on my part.)

Shyster's desires provided an opportunity to try a recipe that I had been eyeing for some time: "The Best Veal Osso Bucco," from Andrew Carmellini's cookbook, "Urban Italian."

I know. Where does he get off, right?

Except that the only other recipe in the chef's book that receives such a designation is "The Best Gnocchi." I've made it. And he's right. I told him so just recently, outside the men's at his newest restaurant in New York, The Dutch. I'll show the gnocchi to you here sometime, you'll see. They're fantastic.

If you enjoy osso bucco and are in the market for an interesting way to prepare it, this recipe certainly is that. The liquid that the veal is cooked in is two parts chicken stock, one part freshly squeezed orange juice. There's only one diced tomato to be found, something you wouldn't guess from looking at the final outcome. (Hint: strands of saffron were seen in the vicinity while I was cooking and pounding back a Booker's.)

Anyway, the full recipe is reprinted below. Here are just some of the steps along the way.


First, the well-seasoned veal is seared on both sides in a dutch oven over high heat, then removed.


Then the carrots, celery, onion, garlic and such get to work. And also the tomato and a little flour.


There's white wine in here too, and once it evaporates some, it's time to bring back the veal.


Some more herbs, and lemon peel are added at this point, and then the stock and the orange juice. Next stop is the oven.


Two hours later and this is what you've got. (Actually, two hours and a full day later is when it was eaten. This kind of dish always tastes better after it has sat in the fridge overnight, and so I made this the day before V-Day.)


Is it the best osso bucco I've ever had? No. But it's definitely among the top five.

The ladies liked it a whole lot. Which is what mattered.

The Best Veal Osso Bucco
Recipe
Adapted from "Urban Italian," by Andrew Carmellini and Gwen Hyman

4 pieces veal osso bucco (about 3lbs total)
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp course-ground black pepper
2 tbsp plus 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 small carrot, chopped (1/2 cup)
1 medium onion, chopped (1 cup)
1 stalk celery, chopped (1/2 cup)
2 garlic cloves, whole
1 large tomato, chopped (1 cup)
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 1/2 tbsp all-purpose flour
1/2 cup white wine
a pinch of saffron (about 10 threads)
juice of 3 oranges (about 1 cup)
2 dried bay leaves
1 sprig fresh thyme (or 1/2 tsp dried)
1 sprig fresh rosemary (or 1/2 tsp dried)
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp whole fennel seed
2 cups chicken broth
3 to 4 curls lemon peel

1. Preheat the oven to 375F.
2. Season both sides of the osso bucco with the salt and pepper.
3. Heat 2 tbsp of the olive oil in a large pot over high heat. Add the osso bucco and brown on both sides, about 10 to 15 minutes.
4. Remove the osso bucco from the pot and reserve it. Leave the pot on the stove over high heat.
5. Add the remaining olive oil to the pot, and then add the the carrot, onion, and celery. Stir well and allow the vegetables to soften and caramelize, about 4 minutes. Be sure to scrape the brown bits from the bottom and sides of the pot as you go.
6. Add garlic, tomato and tomato paste. Mix and cook until the tomato softens, about 1 minute.
7. Add the flour and stir until ingredients are well combined, about 1 minute.
8. Add the wine and allow it to evaporate just until the mixture becomes a loose paste, 1 to 2 minutes.
9. Stir in the saffron and orange juice. Return the osso bucco to the pot and turn the heat to low. Coat the meat in the sauce.
10. Tie the bay leaves, tyme and rosemary together with butcher's string (so that it can be removed easily before serving) and add to the pot; then add the red pepper flakes, fennel seed, broth and lemon peel.
11. Cover the pot and bring the liquid to a low boil, then put the pot in the oven and cook at a lazy bubble for about 2 hours. Flip the meat over at the halfway point. It is done and ready to serve when fork tender. But the flavors will enhance if left in the fridge overnight and reheated the next day, so consider making this dish a day in advance.
 
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