Tag Archives: Slow Cooking

GUANCE DI MANZO BRASATE (BRAISED BEEF CHEEKS)

Red wine and beef seem to be very compatible, and not just for drinking. Beef cheeks are the facial cheek muscle of a cow. They may look ugly but the meat is lean and tender once it is slow cooked in liquid, and in this case wine and marsala.

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Some cooks marinade cheeks in red wine overnight; this will intensify the dark colour and the wine flavour of the final dish. In this recipe wine is added as part of the cooking liquid; the rich taste will still come through so I do not think that the marinade is necessary.

Most Italian recipes suggest using a strong red wine, some also add Marsala (dry). The French do the same and if you have Movida Rustica (Spanish cuisine) by Frank Camorra (the cook) and Richard Cornish (the writer) you will notice that Frank adds Pedro Ximenez sherry to his recipe.

Whether cooked in Italy, France, or Spain the choice of herbs used are the same: bay leaves, rosemary, thyme or sage. Onions, carrots and celery seem to be the common ingredients for what the Italians call the odori (smells), these are the basic vegetables which add ‘smell’ and taste to basic broths and stews.I also added thinly cut orange peel to mine; I do this often with braises.

This dish is so easy. I went out while it was cooking. When I returned I braised some fennel and boiled some potatoes. Polenta and mashed potatoes take a bit more time to cook, but soak up the juices even better.

There were 4 of us.

INGREDIENTS
2-3 beef cheeks
2 carrots, roughly chopped
1 onion, sliced roughly
2 stalks of celery, sliced
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 cup dry marsala
1 cup red wine,

2 cloves of garlic (optional)
orange or tangello peel from one citrus, thinly cut, no pith
several fresh bay leaves, sage or thyme
salt and freshly ground pepper

PREPARATION
Remove any offending sinew and silver skin from the cheeks and cut into quarters.
Brown the cheeks in hot olive oil in a heavy-based saucepan over high heat. Remove from the pan and sauté the onion, carrot, celery and garlic.
Add the beef cheeks, wine, marsala, herbs, orange peel, seasoning and 1 cup of water.
Cover, reduce the heat to low and cook at least for 3 hours – Cook longer if you wish – the cheeks should be very tender and falling apart.
If you would like a reduced, thicker sauce, remove the cheeks and reduce the sauce to desired consistency.Return the cheeks to the braise.
Some cooks remove the vegetables because they have served their purpose, but we ate ours. Waste not, want not.
I do not know the equivalent Italian saying – that’s because they usually eat everything…and I mean this as a compliment.

 

SLOW COOKED LEG OF GOAT WITH HOT MINT SAUCE

My friends all seem to enjoy good food and are good cooks; Mandy is no exception. Not all of my friend’s cooking has been represented on my blog; this is not because I have not enjoyed their food, warmth and hospitality, but more because I may not have had a camera or it was inappropriate to take photos when food was about to be served.

This is a photo of a leg of goat that had been marinating in a chemoula my friend Mandy made with a mix of ghee, extra virgin olive oil, some of her own preserved lemons and harissa.  She purchased the goat from friends who like her live on a property near Cowra in New South Wales. Goat is a lean meat and benefits from being larded or having some extra fat added.

 

Mandy placed the meat on a rack in an old fashioned, baking dish (which is a delight in itself). She kept the lid on throughout the cooking time and ensured that there was a bit of water below the rack in the bottom of the baking dish; this provides a bit of steam and keeps the meat from drying out. Marinating the meat beforehand and this method of cooking prevents shrinkage; the meat was very tender, moist and tasty.

Score the surface of the meat in a 1 cm criss-cross pattern to help the marinade penetrate the meat. Preheat the oven to 160c and cook for 6 hours.

Add about ½ cup of water to the pan after the first 30 minutes and then every hour. The juices and the scrapings from the pan made an excellent gravy.

But it is not just the meat that makes a good meal. We ate the meat with silver beet grown in her garden. This was mixed with whole chickpeas and sautéed in extra virgin olive oil, onion, garlic, chilli and cumin.  A tahini dressing (tahini, garlic, salt, oil, lemon juice, cumin and a little warm water) accompanied this dish.

 

We had unpeeled kiffler potatoes roasted in extra virgin olive oil and a bowl of cucumber mixed with yogurt, mint and garlic.

Mandy also made a hot mint sauce using a recipe from Sam and Sam Clark’s Casa Moro, The Second Cookbook. I too have this book and here is the recipe:

INGREDIENTS
4 tablespoon’s extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
8 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
2 tablespoons good quality sweet red wine vinegar (add a pinch of sugar to normal red wine vinegar or use balsamic)
salt & black pepper
½ a teaspoon caster sugar (optional)

PROCESSES
Place a small saucepan over a medium heat and add the olive oil. When it is hot, but not smoking, add the garlic and fry for a couple of minutes until golden brown – stir once or twice to ensure it colours evenly. Add half the mint and all of the cumin. Cook for a further minute then add the red wine vinegar and simmer for 30 seconds more. Remove from the heat and stir in the remaining mint. Season and add sugar if needed to balance the flavours. Serve hot.

Goat (capra in Italian), like mutton is the mature beast; kid (capretto in Italian) is the young animal. As a rule Italians prefer to eat kid.

For other kid or goat recipes see previous posts:
KID WITH ALMONDS (SPRING IN SICILY, CAPRETTO CON LE MANDORLE)
SLOW COOKED GOAT IN NERO D’AVOLA

 

And there was more food. We finished off the meal with a rhubarb cake (the rhubarb is also grown in her garden) and accompanied by some of her saffron ice cream made with eggs from her hens. This fantastic meal was prepared by this very busy woman, who could have been spending more time in her studio painting (you can see some of Mandy’s paintings on the wall behind her).

Thank you Mandy, another memorable meal.

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SICILIAN SEAFOOD COOKING, ITALIANICIOUS and READER’S FEAST Bookstore. Recipe for Slow cooked goat in Nero D’Avola

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This is the cover of the January – February issue of 2012 Italianicious magazine.
It is a beautiful bi-monthly publication about food and wine, Italian regional recipes, travel stories and features on Italian restaurants and chefs and cultural events both in Italy and Australia. The photos are also stunning.
The current editor, Danielle Gullaci, is continuing to develop the quality and look of the publication established by previous editor, Jane O’Connor. In the January-February issue Danielle has written a feature about me.
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FUELLED BY PASSION
And these are the two beginning paragraphs:
Although Marisa Raniolo Wilkins spent most of her early childhood in Trieste before moving to Australia with her Sicilian parents, a love for Sicilian food and culture has remained close to her heart. Her first book, Sicilian Seafood Cooking, represents eight years of hard work and a lifetime of culinary experiences.
Despite the fact that her parents both hailed from Sicily, Marisa says that she was born on the Italian island “by accident”. Marisa’s mother had lived in Catania, Sicily, before moving to Trieste in northern Italy with her siblings; and her Sicilian father (from Ragusa) was stationed in Trieste during the war, learning to be a tailor. “ 

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I was also featured in Italianicious magazine in the November-December issue when Mary Taylor Simeti and I discussed a Sicilian Christmas at Dolcetti, Melbourne’s little gem of a pastry shop. Naturally Pastry Chef Marianna Di Bartolo contributed to the discussion and we ate some of her delectable sweets. The editor was Jane O’Connor (now group editor of all Prime Media magazines), the three camera shy women and the photographer Patrick Varney of Raglan Images all had a grand old time.
Mary Taylor Simeti is one of my heroes – I think that sometimes it takes a “foreigner ‘ with a passion to rediscover and tease out the history behind the food ( not that she is a foreigner, she is part of Sicily, having dedicated so many years to it.).
Mary and I talked to Gus about his produce at the Queen Victoria Market.
The time before that Italianicious published an article and my recipe for Caponata, that was in December 2009 – February 2010 and the editor was Glynis Macri now Director/Editor of The Italian Traveller – Food, Wine and Travel Consultant.
Marisa in kitchen 3
Mr Bianco’s recipe for Goat with Nero d’Avola (recipe from Italianicious)
2kg goat consisting of shoulder cut into 150g pieces and 4 shanks
1.5 litres Nero d’Avola wine
3 onions, chopped roughly
200ml red wine vinegar
3 carrots, chopped roughly
3 celery sticks, chopped roughly
1 garlic clove, peeled
200g prosciutto fat
5 whole tomatoes, chopped
2L reduced beef stock
20 crushed whole peppercorns
3 bay leaves
For the garnish:
12 baby carrots, peeled and roasted with olive oil, garlic and rosemary
4 potatoes, peeled and cut into quarters, then roasted with olive oil, garlic, sliced lemon and rosemary.
Reader’s Feast Bookstore
 
The other nice thing that happened this week is that I went into Reader’s Feast Bookstore. Sicilian Seafood Cooking has been featured in their Summer 2002 Book Guide and has been written by Helen.
Helen is only one of the helpful, knowlegable and personable staff who has been working with Mary Dalmau at Reader’s Feast for a very long time.
“Our bookstore will be a place of interest and enjoyment, peopled by committed and enthusiastic staff, who present a range of books to suit all visitors” Mary Dalmau, 1991
Finally my cookbook of the year is Sicilian Seafood Cooking by Marisa Raniolo Wilkins.
This incredibly substantial cookbook takes
us on a culinary odyssey through Sicily; It is
a book of love celebrating seasonal produce,
traditional recipes, methods and techniques
while providing us non Sicilians with suitable
alternative ingredients. The food is delicious
and the advice is such that you are never
alone while preparing these recipes. It’s as if
the grandmothers and aunts are beside you.
Happy Holiday Reading and Feasting.
Helen

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