Monthly Archives: October 2019

LA GENOVESE, THE MEAT AND ONION SAUCE OF NAPLES

LA GENOVESE….one of the main sauces and dishes of Napoletana Cuisine, that is, the food of Naples, Italy. Growing up it was just Italian Pot Roast, later on I learned of it’s proper term, LA GENOVESE. Wait…doesn’t that mean it’s from Northern Italy’s city of Genoa? Well yes and no. Naples and Genoa are both active seaport cities in Italy and sailors work and sail between ports all the time. My great Grandfather was the pilot of the ferry between Naples and Sicily and Capri. All of this interaction brought many dishes to different coastal ports and La Genovese is probably one of them. In Genovese cuisine there’s a meat sauce called Tocco alla Genovese, or Sugo di Carne alla Genovese. This is a sauce with onions, celery, carrots, tomato, mushrooms and veal or beef, wine and cooked until the meat is tender. Most likely this sauce was brought to the port city of Napoli and Genovese cooks introduced the style. THEN, it makes the change and becomes Napoletana. The Napoletani use beef, sometime veal, sometimes pork. but they triple the amount of onions, traditionally the local red or bronze onions. They remove the mushrooms. They use Beef (although some families prefer using veal or pork). The sauce is started in lard and often with a little cured pork bits. The tomato, unlike the usual Napoletana amount of tomato, is almost non-existent. A ration of 1 lb for 1 lb of meat to onions is the rule. The sauce is cooked low and slow for hours until the meat is forktender. Tradition says to serve the onion sauce first over long tubes of broken Ziti (Zitone) and lots of Parmigiano-Reggiano. The meat is sliced and served as a secondo. Think Pot Roast, specifically a Jewish or Eastern European pot roast heavy on the onions. That’s the flavor of this… It’s amazing. Every kitchen in Naples and in Italian America has its own version of this most flavorful sauce. I’m happy to share mine with you now!

FOR 4 PEOPLE

3 1/2 LB THICK CHUCK STEAK,  CAN BE IN TWO PIECES  IF NEEDED

2 TBS DICED GUANCIALE OR PANCETTA OR 2 TBS LARD OR 2 TBS OLIVE OIL

3 1/2 LBS DICED RED ONIONS OR WHITE OR A MIX

2 STALKS FINE DICED CELERY WITH SOME OF THEIR LEAVES (NEVER THROW THEM OUT!!)

1 LARGE FINE DICED CARROT

1 TBS. TOMATO PASTE

1 CUP WHITE WINE

1 CUP BEEF STOCK OR WATER, OR CHICKEN STOCK

1 LARGE BAY LEAF

SALT AND BLACK PEPPER

IN A LARGE heavy pot, like a dutch oven slowly render the guanciale or pancetta until there’s a nice amount of lard in the pot….let the diced pieces get a little crispy, then remove with a slotted spoon and reserve them for later.  Season the meat with generous Kosher Salt and Cracked Black pepper and sear it in the hot lard for at leat 5 minutes per side.  you want a nice brown crust on both sides.  Remove to a platter and loosely tent with foil.  Now add the onions, celery and carrots to a bowl.  Season them with salt and pepper.  Add this to the pot and stir them with the drippings in the bottom of the pan.  Cover and let this cook for 15 minutes on medium.  Stir it a few times so there’s no real browning on the onions.  Now  add the wine and the stock and the tomato.  Blend together.  Add the meat and let it get completely covered by the pot mixture.  Bring to a boil THEN reduce to a simmer.  Add the bay leaf.  Give it a good stir and let this simmer for 3-3 1/2 hours.  Keep it covered for the first 1 1/2 hours.  Stir every 1/2 hour.  For the remaining time leave it 1/2 covered.  Look for a few things while this cooks.  It will reduce.  The color will change to a light rusty tan.  The onions, MUST be soft and melted.  And the meat, it must be fork tender.  Follow what I did and you’ll have a pot of Genovese that you will make again and again.   

POLISH CHOPPED CHICKEN CUTLETS..KOTLETY POZARSKIE, IN SOURCREAM DIJON AND DILL SAUCE

Often there’s something that “triggers” in a good way my cooking or blogging. These inspirations come from everywhere, including just scrolling through FaceBook. Today a FB friend posted his Polish Grandmother’s obituary. While I’m not Polish I was raised in a Polish neighborhood so all things Polish seem very familiar to me. Reading about this woman’s life and family brought up these “Polish” sentiments. Reminded me of a dish I first had at a Polish deli in Jersey City NJ’s Paulus Hook neighborhood. The dish is called KOTLETY POZARSKIE and it’s amazing. Ground/Chopped Chicken or Veal, sometimes Turkey is mixed with eggs, seasonings, then breaded and fried slowly in butter. Served as is. For a dinner one night I created a “sauce” thinking along Polish flavor lines and came up with a sour cream, Dijon mustard and fresh dill sauce. Really tasty. The genesis of this recipe is actually Russian but it became a popular dish in Polish cuisine. Take your cooking inspiration from the wide world around you, you’ll never get bored in the cooking department. I hope this inspiration is worthy of a Polish grandmother’s praise and memory.

KOTLETY [POZARSKIE FOR: 4 TIME: 1 HOUR 15 MINUTES, APPROX.

3 BONELESS AND TRIMMED CHICKEN BREAST HALVES, CHOPPED IN TO A FINE DICE

2 EGGS SEPARATED

1 KAISER OR HARD ROLL TORN INTO PIECES AND SOAKED IN A LITTLE MILK

1 TBS. SOFTENED BUTTER

1 TBS OF FINELY CHOPPED PARSLEY

PINCH OF MARJORAM

SALT, BLACK PEPPER

2 TBS. SEASONED FLOUR (KOSHER SALT, SWEET PAPRIKA, GRANULATED GARLIC)

1 BEATEN EGG

DRY UNSEASONED BREADCRUMBS

2 TBS BUTTER, 1 TBS CORN OR CANOLA OIL

FOR THE SAUCE

2 TBS OF BUTTER

3 TBS. SOUR CREAM

1 TSP. CHOPPED FRESH DILL

1 TBS. DIJON MUSTARD

SALT AND PEPPER TO TASTE

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl beat 2 egg yolks, blend in the butter. Squeeze the milk out of the roll and mix with the eggs yolks and butter, beat the 2 egg whites till stiff and reserve. Blend the chicken with the yolks and bread mixture. Add the parsley, marjoram, salt and pepper to taste. When this is all blended gently add the stiff egg whites. Form into 2 1/2 inch oval patties. If too sticky to work with add a small amount of breadcrumbs. Not too much, just enough to make them easy to form. Chill in the fridge for 10 minutes. Now flour them , dip into beaten eggs, then into the breadcrumbs. Chill for 10 minutes. Using a heavy pan heat the butter and oil. When hot , remove the cutlets from the fridge and fry on medium heat for 5 minutes per side. Drain on paper towels. When done with all the cutlets place in an ovenproof dish and place them in the oven for 15 minutes. While they are baking, create a sauce by melting 2 tbs of butter in the pan over low heat, Then add the sour cream and whisk it into the butter, then the Dijon Mustard…whisk till smooth then add the dill , salt and pepper to taste. Remove the Kotlety from the oven and on a platter pour the sauce and arrange the Kotlety on top. Makes about 8 kotlety. What to serve with? Mashed or Boiled potatoes, steamed green peas or sauteed cabbage. HAPPY COOKING!!