Friday, February 19, 2010

Live blogging the Sunday Gravy!

Ok, I'm learning to make a recipe that my mother has become famous for. This is not, generally speaking, my sort of recipe. There are a lot of raw meats, manual labor,waiting around for stuff to simmer, and dirtying up like 6 different pots/pans involved. Basically, it's just a tad too much work for someone whose cooking style is more "Semi-Homemade with Sandra Lee" than, say, "Iron Chef Bobby Flay." We are about 10 minutes in, and my eyes are sort of glazing over. But I'm going to press on. Here we go . . . . . . .

  • So far, we have already dirtied up 1 giant pot, one chopping board, and 4 different utensils. We are only 2 steps in.
  • The first thing we are up to is lightly browning the pork chops. This is cool, as I love a good pork-chop, but these aren't for eating. No, they are just for the flava. Or so I'm told.
  • 2 center-cut pork chops are browning (for 15 minutes) in 2 T. of olive oil. They are doing so in the largest pot Mom has, which is pretty giant. Last time I used my pot like this, I was making Abby's Punch and couldn't seem to find the actual cocktail server thing with the spigot on it. So, the guests got to ladle their punch out of this extra-large cooking pot into the classy plastic cups I provided. But I digress.
  • Ok, the pork-chops have been lightly browned and are taken off of the heat. They are not cooked to serve or anything. Unless you like extra-extra-rare meat. They are set aside and remain "on the bone."
  • Now, the veal chops replace the pork in the large pot. A tad bit of olive oil is added. The veal now cooks for 15 minutes to the same degree the pork was.
  • More waiting.
  • We just used the "garlic roller" for the first time to chop up the 4 cloves of garlic in this recipe. It is the bomb. And you don't have to touch the garlic.
  • Now, we are prepping the caprese salad to go with it. This I can do. It's just chopping stuff. Namely, fresh tomatoes, basil, and Buffalo mozzarella cheese.
  • Oh, wow. I didn't realize you could complicated a caprese salad this much. My mother had just had me chop up 3 more tomatoes than I originally had because the first ones I cut up weren't "peeled and cored." Wtf?? Who peels tomatoes? Then they just look all mushy and nasty. It's not right, but whatevs.
  • The veal is done browning. Time for the sweet, Italian sausage to go. Same deal. Bit more olive oil, same large pot, brown for 10 or 15.
  • Ok, meats are done, leaving behind copious amounts of olive oil and grease. We drain off most of this, but not all. Yum.
  • Now, the 4 cloves of chopped garlic go in with the oil/grease above and simmer for 2 minutes over low heat
  • The garlic is fished out of the mixture and thrown away after the 2 minutes is up. I'm told this is so the oil/grease mixture is "infused" with the garlic flavor
  • The cans of tomato paste are added to the oil/grease/garlic thing and that simmers for 1 minute
  • No one knows why that last step is necessary
  • Now the cans of pureed tomatoes, all 3 enormous cans, are added to the large pot. I guess this is why we used such a big one to start with
  • We then, inexplicably, alter the step where we add the hot water. It's supposed to be like 2 cups. But instead we do something random
  • We take the 3 now empty cans of pureed tomatoes, mix about 3/4 C. water into each can separately, and then pour this tomato/water mixture into the pot. Why this is superior to adding just the water? I'm not sure.
  • It's pretty much ready to go now, except for adding back the hunks of pork, veal, and sausage .
  • We throw the meat into the red sauce, and . . . . . . now we are on break for a couple of hours. You pretty much just let it all simmer for about 2 hours
  • C ya then. I'm off to work on wedding stuff. Which is almost as not fun as complicated cooking stuff

  • Uh, and were finally back. Yeah, I know its 8:34pm CST. We eat late. Don't judge. We had to work in a trip to the bookstore, then we forgot the potatoes to make the gnocchi to accompany the Sunday Gravy, and then I started drinking. Anyway . . . .
  • So, after the 2 hour simmer, the sauce was set aside to achieve room temp. The meats were fished out of the sauce, as they were apparently there only for the taste, not the texture. That's like a LOT of meat to throw away - so we don't. The veal and pork will be shredded and added to a soup. Oh, so, yeah, the sausage does get thrown out. But that's all
  • 1/4 of the Sunday Gravy we made will be served for the 3 of us this evening, while 3/4 of it will be divided into containers for freezing. That's right, this one "freezes beautifully" as they say on Steel Magnolias
  • Gnocchi time. Nothing like potatoes, parmigiano reggiano cheese, butter, flour, eggs, and S & P to make a tasty something. That many calories can't be wrong.
  • Ok, we have rolled the gnocchi dough into what my mother just termed "wiener logs." Are you kidding me? My mother just said this. Ew.
  • The logs, as I will call them, are now cut into bite-sized pieces. Ready to boil 'em.
  • Did I mention that, in the meantime, I've made our "ultimate chocolate chip cookies" for dessert? Cause yeah, I'm not fat enough after this visit to Arkansas
  • I have prepped the caprese. Salads are on the table
  • Gnocchi coming 0ff stove
  • Hooray for Fotinos pinot noir! On glass 2. My friend Chris Fotino and his brother own this winery, and the pinot is amazing!
  • Emergency! The gnocchi is naaaasssstttty. Seriously. They aren't so much dumplings as they are dough that is really sticky that you can't chew. We have thrown them out. As in the trash
  • We are boiling fetuccine as we speak. Gonna top it with some parm. reg. Should be ok

  • Oh lord. I sort of lost the trail on Friday night! It turned out very well overall! We ended up using the fetuccine, adding the sausage meat back to the sauce with a little bit of whipping cream, heating until ready to serve, and sprinkiling shredded parmigiano reggiano cheese over the top after plating
  • I pretty much felt like a "real cook" for once. But I still think it's sort of a pain in the butt
  • Final verdict . . . . I would TOTALLY make this on my own, whenever I had a spare DAY to hang out at the house. Very very tasty
  • Mom is going to put the actual recipe on-line this week. Enjoy!

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