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    Posts Tagged ‘gravy’

    Sausage/Mushroom Ragu

    A good ragu is always a welcome addition to anyone’s repertoire. This recipe comes from my desire to use a portion of the Maitake mushrooms that I had freeze dried from the past seasons harvest. Of course if you are fortunate enough to have a fresh supple they can be used as well, additionally a good substitute would be portabella. For purpose of this recipe I’ll use the generic term mushroom(s) instead of being specific. Make a batch and then use some and freeze the rest.

    You will need:

    Italian Sausage — 1½ lbs bulk.
    Fresh Mushrooms — ½ lb. chopped.
    Shallot — 1 medium size finely diced.
    Fresh Oregano — 2 TBSP
    Fresh Marjoram — 2 TBSP
    Olive Oil — 4 TBSP
    White Wine — ¼ cup – a good Chardonnay works well
    Heavy Cream — ¼ cup
    Tomato — 1 26oz can diced or crushed – San Marzano Plum work best.
    Sea Salt/Ground Pepper — to taste

    In a sauté pan large enough to hold all of the ingredients heat two tablespoons of olive oil until it dances/shimmers. Add bulk sausage (if you can’t find bulk at your grocer purchase links and remove from casing) and using a potato masher start breaking up the meat continue sautéing until most of the pink is gone do not brown completely or the sauce will be too dry.

    Remove sausage from the pan, drain and set aside. Add 1 TBSP to the sauté pan heat to shimmer then add the mushrooms. Cook until all of the moisture exuded from them is evaporated. NB: Not all mushrooms have the same moisture content for instance Maitake and Portabella have less than Button or Crimini.

    Remove mushrooms fro the pan and set aside. Add 1 TBSP Olive oil and sauté the shallots until they are just translucent then add the sausage and mushroom to the pan stir to combine. Add the herbs, salt and pepper and stir to combine. Turn heat to medium high and add the white wine, cook until the mixture is somewhat dry. Add the heavy cream, stir well to combine and cook until the mixture is somewhat dry. Add the tomatoes, stirring to combine and cook until they break apart. If you think the ragu is too dry you can add some tomato sauce but not enough to make it soupy.

    Sunday Gravy

    Sure, everyone has their family recipe for Sunday gravy, well that is if you were of Italian heritage, others would refer to this as Spaghetti Sauce. Well I’ve made many a Sunday Gravy, had some failures and some great successes, this recipe has always proved to be one of my best.

    This recipe will make approximately 20 cups of gravy.

    For the gravy you will need:
    Four 28 oz cans crushed tomatoes
    One small can tomato paste
    Two cups beef stock
    One medium size sweet onion
    Carrots – enough to equal the volume of the onion
    Four or five sprigs fresh oregano
    Four or five garlic cloves
    Fresh ground pepper
    Kosher salt

    Two pounds country ribs
    Two pounds Italian Sausage (your choice of sweet or hot)

    For the meatballs

    Two pounds ground chuck
    One pound ground pork
    One pound ground veal or turkey
    Enough stale bread (I used leftover Italian bread) to equal the volume of the ground meats
    Two cups milk (or more if necessary)
    Two cups shredded Parmesan cheese
    Two large eggs
    Olive oil
    Vegetable oil

    In a heavy bottom stock pot heat four tablespoons olive oil until shimmering. Place carrots, onion and garlic in a food processor and run until the vegetables are of a paste consistency. Thoroughly brown the country ribs (in batches if necessary) until a nice brown crust forms, remove and set aside. Pour off any liquid from the stockpot, add four tablespoons olive oil, reheat until shimmering then brown the Italian sausage until a nice brown crust forms, remove and set aside. Pour off any liquid, add two tablespoons olive oil, and reheat until shimmering. Place vegetable past along with tomato paste to the stockpot and cook until the mix is somewhat dry. De-glaze pot with the beef stock scraping up all the fond at the bottom of the pot. Add the four cans of crushed tomatoes, the sprigs of oregano and the ribs and sausage to the stockpot. Reduce heat to very low, place lid over pot and simmer for 5 or 6 hours. To reduce the possibility of the gravy burning I take one of the unused burner grates, place it on top of the burner you are using, make sure that it is firmly in place, put the stockpot on that tiered burner. Stir the gravy every occasionally to insure a good mixture.

    While the gravy is simmering make the meatballs. Break up the stale bread into medium to small chunks, but into a bowl large enough to hold the bread and both meats. Pour one-cup milk into the bowl, as the bread starts to absorb the milk using a fork start to mash the bread. If there is not enough milk continue adding more until you can mash the bread into a paste. Add the parmesan cheese, the eggs, the meats, salt and pepper (to taste) and using very clean hands or hand covered with rubber gloves and work the mixture until it is thoroughly combined. Form the mixture into equal balls (I like mine large). In a sauté pan large enough to hold the meatballs, heat approximately one-quarter cup of vegetable oil until shimmering. Carefully lower meatballs into oil, do not crowd, work in batches if necessary, and cook until a nice brown crust forms rotate balls until all sides have that same rich brown crust. Set aside meatballs until cooled enough then place in the refrigerator. During the last one to one and a half hours of cooking the gravy, add the meatballs submerging them to cover. During the last half hour taste the gravy for seasoning and adjust if necessary. Once the time used in this recipe is completed, cool to room temperature.

    Remove the meatballs, sausage and ribs from the gravy and portion two cups of the liquid into quart freezer bags for future use. Similarly portion out the meatballs, ribs and sausage into quart freezer bags for future use.

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