Wednesday, November 29, 2017

The Making Of An Italian Style Ragout

Greetings Food Fans!

 Today we delve into the making of a close to real Italian Ragout

I will not pretend understand the technique of making a true Italian ragout. But having eaten our share of them during our recent trip, I will tell you they all have the as a base the flavor of long simmered, slow cooked meat. Further south there may be more tomatoes in them whereas in a place like Bologna the tomato might be barely recognizable. But ragout is all about the meat and meat flavor

 Quite by accident a couple of years ago I had made a sauce trying to use up a ton of left over pieces of roasted meat and bones which I cooked with tomatoes low and slow and came up with a very tasty, meaty sauce. I hadn't replicated it since. But with the growing and smoking  done this last summer I had an idea.

All through the summer growing and smoking season I collected. I collected tomato pulp and dried tomatoes. I collected every bone and piece of skin from the pork shoulders, turkey and chicken that I smoked. And I put the all in the freezer with purpose...a single purpose in use them to make a spectacular ragout.

Behold the harvest
On your left is a sample (not complete) of all the bones and skin I had secured. On the right are bags and bags of tomato pulp. In the metal bowl is re-hydrating dried tomatoes.
Please ignore that glass of white liquid. That certainly could not be any kind of white alcohol being consumed by the chef at 10 AM.

A base of aromatics - bell pepper, celery, carrots, onion and garlic
Nothing exotic at all in the cooking department
Saute the aromatics with some dried crushed red pepper
Add the tomato products (the re-hydrated ones broken down with the immersion blender)
Bring to a simmer
Add all the freaking meat product, easily equal to the tomato product in volume and weight
Add some water as necessary so not too thick
Salt and pepper - no other herbs or spices used
Cook the entire thing for about four hours over low heat
Forget that when you cook down poultry carcasses that all the small bones fall apart leaving your ragout filled with them. AND they cannot be strained out because you will lose all your meat, tomatoes and aromatics
Wonder why you didn't put the bones and meat into some cheese cloth
Spend two hours then next day going through the entire chilled massive pot by hand to extract all the freaking small bones

Ah! But at the end you are rewarded
At the rate that Wife and I consume, this is probably two years worth of ragout!!!!

Tasting note: I made a baked pasta dish with the ragout on Tuesday
It was freaking awesome!
(He says with the modesty that de-I is known for)
I had one whole bag of nothing but fatty skin from birds and pork shoulder. I didn't want all that fat in the sauce so I cut it all into pieces and put it into a skillet
Twenty minutes later
Yummy crispy cracklings

If you happen to be stopping in Albuquerque anytime this year, let me know. For I will tell you that this ragout combined with homemade pasta sheets makes an incredible lasagna which I will gladly make for you.



Renee Michelle Goertzen said...

No one ever talks about the digging through the sauce with your hands to remove all the tiny bones, but I do stuff like that all the time. That's the part you should leave out of your cooking the show.

alexis said...

that sounds amazing.