Well, the way I did it today was I put the tomato puree, paste and chicken broth in the crock pot. I added all the herbs (red pepper, oregano, basil, rosemary, pepper, bay leaves, sugar; but not the salt which I prefer to withold until near the end so I can tell how much is really needed).
Then I put the olive oil in a large frying pan and browned the meats in it. This time, I am just making sausage (the spareribs and chunk of salami are mainly just to flavor the sauce although they certainly can be eaten), but it could as well be braciole, meatballs or a piece of brisket or whatever you want. Anyway, I browned it–first the ribs, then the sausage. I put the browned ribs in the crock pot but reserved the sausage because I don’t want it to cook as long as I intend to cook the sauce. Then, in the same frying pan, I sauteed all the veggies (chopped onion, celery, grated carrot, garlic, parseley) until soft and "golden"–then I dumped them in the crock pot. Finally, I "deglazed" the frying pan with the wine–poured it into the pan, sloshed it around while scraping any browned bits, then dumped it too into the crock pot.
The crock pot can now cook on low overnight. I will put the sausage in before going to bed and check the whole thing in the morning. If the meats are done–meat falling off the rib bones–I’ll remove the rib bones, salami and any large chunks of meat from the ribs (and, temporarily, the sausage). Then I’ll probably puree the liquid with the smaller bits of rib meat to make a smooth sauce, then put the sausage back in it and put it in the fridge until I’m ready to use it. You could use it all for a standard 2-course Italian meal (sauce on your pasta or polenta for first course, sausage for the second) but I think I’ll have the sausage on Sunday, maybe with some fried peppers as per the photo, and the sauce on pasta Monday.
Now that’s what I call Italian. Oh for just a slice of that Braciole. It is what flavors the sauce, then sauce and cooking time flavors the meat and makes it tender. Nothing better when done right.
That is Sunday Gravy in the pictures and it is outstanding. One cannot get anything even close to this here in the Dallas area so I also freqently make my for purposes of survival.
I always use fresh Pork Neck bones along with the Sausage and Braciole when making my Sunday Gravy.
BT: How would this be used to cook meats in? How do you do it?
I just have to say that these pictures have inspired me. Went out today and bought the ingredients for some "gravy"–sausages, pork spareribs, even a chunk of salami; as well as the other usual ingredients of tomato sauce. I usually modify the meats. I also commonly use my crockpot as the "large pot" called for–the very long slow cooking this provides only improves the result–but here’s the basic recipe I plan to use (you can cook braciole, meatballs, brisket or any meats you want in it):
2 28 Ounce Cans Tomato Puree
1 6 Ounce Can Tomato paste
1 Quart Chicken Stock or Beef Stock
2 Cups Dry Red wine
1/4 Cup Olive Oil
2 Yellow Onion, Peeled and Minced
6 Large Garlic cloves, Chopped
2 Ribs Celery with leaves, minced
1 Carrot, Grated
1/2 Cup Parsley, Chopped
1/2 Pound Fresh Mushrooms, Chopped, Optional
1/2 Teaspoon Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
1 Tablespoon Crushed Oregano
1 Teaspoon Dried Rosemary
2 Bay Leaves
1 Tablespoon Dried Basil or 2 T. Fresh
2 whole Cloves, Optional
1/2 Tablespoon Black Pepper, Freshly ground
2 Tablespoons Salt, Or to taste
1 Teaspoon Sugar
1 Pound Pork neck bones or chicken backs
In a large pot, place the tomato puree, tomato paste, Chicken or Beef Stock and wine. Heat a large frying pan and add the olive oil. Saute the onions, garlic, celery, and carrot until they just begin to brown a bit. Add to the pot along with the remaining ingredients. Bring to a light boil and then turn down to a simmer. Simmer for 2 hours, partly covered, stirring often. Remove the bones and discard or make a private lunch of them. Skim the fat from the top and discard. Store in the refrigerator covered, in either glass, plastic, or stainless steel. It will keep for a week. Use for pasta topping or for any other dish calling for Italian tomato sauce or gravy. This freezes very well.
THAT, I suspect, is real Italian-American "gravy"–the Americanized version of a Neapolitan ragu. That indescribable red color is the giveway–can’t get that with a short cooking time or if you skimp on the meat in the pot. It’s the stuff grandmas simmer all day (and all night) and mostly likely the bracciole (as well as a rack of spare-ribs, maybe a brisket–and maybe the sausages too–all at the same time) was cooked in it.
MY Favorite Italian?—–My Noni–my maternal grandmother-Rosa Marie Santoro–or "Nosy Rosy" as my Dad called her……and oh huh i miss her—AND her cooking!!!-
BTW—that Braciole looks fabulous!!! Bella Bella!!
Man, I gotta say, that is some mighty fine looking food. Is that s sauce of some kind on the sausages? That looks mighty tasty!!!
AS part of my trip back home to Chicago for the Thanksgiving Holiday, I was able to celebrate my birthday with family at our favorite Italian Resturant Gennaro’s on Taylor Street. Family owned, been there forever, bar in front with 3 booths and 8 tables in back. I would highly recommend it for anyone visiting. Only open for dinner Thursday thru Sunday. Here are a couple of my favorites: Sausage and Peppers and Braciole.
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