Friday, October 21, 2011

Sunday 'Gravy' with Braciole

I've said it before and will most likely say it again - probably many times - we really have some incredibly talented cooks in our neck of the woods, and the best part they love to share their skills and abilities with the rest of us.

This week was the monthly guest chef cooking demonstration at the Crooked River Grill Restaurant.   We had an Italian Sunday Dinner with Jeff Ilardi showing us how to make Braciole -  a key component of Sunday 'Gravy', a sunday dinner staple in many Italian homes.

I want to just interject a note here, one of the fun aspects of the monthly cooking demo's is the quiz that begins the demonstration, I've included a picture of that, as well as the front of the recipe packet we get.
Always fun to see how much you know.



Here's the Chef
I'm so thrilled, I finally have a recipe for 'Gravy', one that I've tasted so I know how it's supposed to taste, that is - I can now try making it on my own.   And it's the perfect recipe to add to my arsenal of cooler weather recipes,  now that we're heading into cooler weather, relatively speaking that is, I do live in Florida after all.
Here's a few pictures of Jeff showing us how to make, roll and saute the Braciole, before it goes into the 'Gravy' to finish cooking.   The recipe for both follow.
Mallet to pound the round steak with.
Showing us how thick the steak should be.
The wonderful mallet Jeff is using belonged to his father who was a butcher.   The mallet is formed from a knot from an oak tree.   There is something special about using something to cook with that your father made and used.   I know I loved using the wooden spoon my dad made for my mom during my cooking demonstration.    I loved the continuity of using a utensil that had been used by my mom as well as the fact it had been made by my dad.
Chopping garlic, look at the flying knife.
Chopped parsley and garlic
Parsley, bread crumbs and bacon, ready to roll up.
Rolled up and waiting to be tied.
Browned and ready to be put into the gravy
We started off the meal with an Insalata
Gravy waiting to be dished up
Doesn't this look good?
Dessert was Cannoli, Cream Puffs and Tiramisu (which I didn't get a picture of)

Sunday 'Gravy'
Makes 3-4 quarts
6 mild Italian Sausages, cut in thirds
1/2 large Onion, finely chopped
2 cloves Garlic, minced
1 (5oz) Can of Tomato Paste
1/2 cup dry Red Wine
3 (28 oz.) cans quality imported whole Italian Plum Tomatoes (San Marzano are the best, but be sure to use imported Italian tomatoes)
2-3 Tbsp. of equal parts of Basil, Thyme, Sage and Oregano dried herbs.  Double the amount if using fresh herbs.
1/4 cup Rye Whiskey (optional)
1/2 cup extra virgin Olive Oil

Heat olive oil in a heavy-bottomed 6 quart pot, brown sausages on all sides.  Add onion and garlic and saute until just soft.    Don't burn the garlic.   Stir in tomato paste and cook gently 15-20 minutes being careful not to burn or have mixture stick to pot.   (Non stick pot works well).   Deglaze pot with the red wine and reduce out alcohol.

Process in blender the tomatoes with their liquid until slightly chunky and puree like.   Add tomatoes to the pot and bring to a simmer.    Stir in seasonings and herbs.  Adjust to taste, especially the salt.   Add whiskey if using.   This will cut acidity and make a slightly sweeter 'gravy'.   Simmer partially covered for about 3 hours, stirring occasionally.

'Gravy' can be made in advance.  Remove excess fats and oils by skimming during cooking or refrigerating.  Serve over pasta with meats.   Gravy can be kept refrigerated for 5 days or so, and can be used to make other dishes such as veal or chicken parmesan, or any tomato sauce based dish.

Braciole
Serves 6 as part of Sunday 'gravy'

2 slices of round steak 1/2 inch thick pounded to about 1/4 inch thick
2 slices of bacon
Mixture of:
2 tbsp. each:  Chopped Flat Leaf Parsley, Bread crumbs, Grated Parmesan cheese.   Add 1 clove finely minced Garlic and Salt and Pepper to taste.   This mixture should total about 1/2 cup.
String for tying
Extra Virgin Olive Oil for browning

To make
Lay 1 strip bacon on each braciole, sprinkle cheese mixture evenly over braciole, roll up and tie securely with string.   Heat oil in skillet and brown meat evenly on all sides.   Transfer to the simmering 'gravy' and cook at least 2 hours.  
Sid Munkholm
Sid Munkholm

Sid loves to cook, feed people and have fun in the kitchen. She shares her successes and the involuntary offerings she sometimes gives the kitchen goddess as well. And she's still looking for the mythical fairy to help her clean the kitchen after a marathon cooking session. Currently working on a cookbook showcasing the recipes from her Danish heritage.

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