In James Peterson’s new cookbook “Meat: A Kitchen Education,” featured in today's News, the author includes several recipes that use cuts of meat less popular with Americans. This dish from northern Italy takes advantage of long, slow simmering to tenderize tough cuts of meat.
(From “Meat: A Kitchen Education,” by James Peterson, Ten Speed Press, $35)
Makes 12 main-course servings
1 first-cut or second-cut beef brisket, about 3 pounds
4 veal shank rounds, each 1 ½ to 2 inches thick, or 1 whole veal shank
3 beef cheeks
1 beef tongue, about 2 pounds
4 quarts beef broth or water, or as needed
2 large carrots
2 fennel bulbs
1 small capon
1 cotechino sausage or 1 pound sweet Italian sausage
3 large onions, quartered through the stem end
1 celery stalk
Bouquet garni (bunch of parsley, 10 thyme sprigs and a bay leaf, tied together)
Put brisket, shank rounds, beef cheeks and tongue in a large pot with cold water to cover and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 5 minutes and drain in a colander. Rinse well with cold running water. Put the meats back in the pot, add the broth to cover, and bring to a simmer, skimming off any fat or froth that rises to the surface. Reduce the heat to very low and simmer gently, uncovered, for 2 ½ hours.
Meanwhile, peel the carrots and cut into 1-inch sections. Using a paring knife, cut each of the carrot sections lengthwise into 3 to 5 wedges, and cut out the core from each wedge. Cut off the stalks from the fennel bulbs and reserve for another use; discard any bruised outer leaves. Cut each bulb in half lengthwise, then cut each half into 3 wedges with some core attached.
Add the capon, sausage, onions, carrots, fennel, celery, and bouquet garni to the pot of simmering meats. Add more broth or water and continue to simmer for 1 hour more, or until the meats are easily penetrated with a small knife.
Remove the meats, capon and sausage from the pot. Discard the bouquet garni and celery. Using a small, sharp knife, trim off any fat or gristle from the base of the tongue, then remove and discard any bones. Using the knife and your fingers, carefully peel away and discard the skin. Slice the tongue; pull the meat off the shank rounds; slice the cheeks, brisket and sausage; and carve the capon. Serve everything, including the vegetables, in warmed soup plates surrounded by the broth.
(Traditionally served with salsa verde, an herbed mayonnaise, and mostarda di Cremona, preserved fruit relish.)