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BROWN SAUCE OF NORTHERN ITALY

Sugo di carne

Piedmont
Preparation - Medium
Makes 1 1/2 quarts

This recipe may look frightening at first and the amount of meats and bones may seem ridiculous for such a small yield. Actually, the recipe practically cooks itself, and the result is so unique and exquisite in taste - and also so necessary in the preparation of many Northern Italian dishes - that we strongly recommend it. Of course it has nothing in common with any commercial products such as Bovril or Maggi.

5 ounces prosciutto fat or larding pork, ground
1 4-by-5 inch piece (about 2 ounces) pork rind, boiled for 10 minutes and drained
2 pounds rump or shank of beef, cut into chunks
1 pound veal muscle, cut into chunks (boneless shank of veal)
5 to 4 pounds cracked beef and veal bones, with marrow
1 ounce dry mushrooms, soaked in tepid water for 20 minutes, squeezed dried, and chopped
2 large yellow onions, coarsely chopped
2 large carrots, coarsely chopped
2 celery ribs, coarsely chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
2 cloves
1 t salt
1/4 t freshly ground black pepper
1 cup dry red wine
Bouquet garni: 1/4 t dried thyme, 1 crushed bay leaf, sprigs of parsley, and 1/4 t dried marjoram
1/3 cup flour
1 cup canned imported Italian plum tomatoes, drained, with seeds removed, and chopped
3 quarts boiling water
Additional salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

PREHEAT oven to 300 degrees F.

LINE bottom of roasting pan with prosciutto fat or larding pork. On top place the pork rind, beef rump or shank, veal muscle, beef and veal bones with marrow, mushrooms, onions, carrots, celery, garlic, cloves, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and the black pepper

COOK over low heat, stirring occasionally. As soon as meat starts to brown add the wine and bouquet garni. Cook, stirring, until wine is almost evaporated. Remove from heat, sprinkle with flour, and stir well. Return to heat and cook, stirring constantly over very low heat for 1 minute.

ADD tomato pulp or canned tomatoes and mix well. Add boiling water to cover and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt. Simmer (do not boil) for 5 minutes. Scum will start to rise. Remove it with spoon or ladle until it ceases to accumulate

PLACE in oven, partially covered, so that steam may escape, and cook for 4 hours, being very careful that it barely simmers.

TAKE out of oven, remove beef, veal, and pork rind, and reserve for other uses. Strain liquid, discarding vegetables, bones, and bouquet garni, into a saucepan. Simmer until liquid is reduced to 1 1/2 quarts, removing fat from surface with spoon or ladle. Allow to cool.

PLACE juice in refrigerator, uncovered, until remaining fat has hardened on top and can be scraped off. Taste for seasoning, and, if flavor is weak, boil to reduce water content further and remove scum if it rises to surface. Meat Juice may be kept in refrigerator or freezer. If kept in the refrigerator, it must be removed and brought to a boil every 3 or 4 days before storing again.

Adapted from:
Northern Italian Cooking
Francesco Ghedini
Hawthorne Books, Inc.

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