Monday, October 22, 2007

Brasato di Maiale Nero; Soup au Pistou

The weather's cooling down, and the summer fare is vanishing at the grocery store. More's the pity, I think I'll miss the tomatoes more than anything else (which is almost always the case). So, as many would attest, 'tis the season for soup and stewed meat. Here's a couple of recipes inspired by Bourdain and Battali:

Brasato di Maiale Nero (braised blackened pork tenderloin)

2 cloves garlic
pancetta, 1/3 pound (can sub bacon)
cup of flat parsley, finely diced
olive oil ~3-4 tbsp
pork tenderloin
6-8 sage leaves
28 oz can crushed tomatoes
red wine (anything here, but bourdeaux, pinot noir, chianti, etc.)
enameled cast iron dutch oven
Good news, this is an easy recipe, takes about 20 min to get started, cooks about 2 hours.

Mise en place: Easy. Chop your parsley, pancetta, and garlic. Be mindful of the raw pork.

Dice the pancetta (or bacon), parsley and garlic into a "paste," and throw into your Dutch oven with the olive oil over medium-high heat. Let it get going a little bit, while you season your pork tenderloin with salt and pepper. Mario's description called for tying the tenderloin with butcher's twine and sticking a few sage leaves (6 or so) under the twine, and I didn't do this. Not sure if it mattered. Next, brown the tenderloin very well. Add the tomatoes and 1/3 of a bottle of wine. Let it boil, drop the temp to low, and braise for about 2 hours. This one's all about temperature control, as with any braising, you have to keep the temp low, and keep things from burning. You can do it on the stovetop, just keep the temp lower than you think it should be. Serve with something green.

Soup au pistou

This is a take on a Bourdain recipe from Les Halles.

2 small zucchini, 2 small squash, roughly chopped, seeded
1 fennel bulb, diced
2 leeks, sliced thin
1 medium yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced


1 can cannelini beans (or make them from dry)
+/- elbow macaroni or equivalent
1 medium tomato, diced (or can)
32 oz chicken stock
bouquet garni (couple of thyme sprigs, bay leaf, sprig or parsley)


1 large bunch of basil
6 cloves garlic
~4 oz parmesan (reggiano if you like)
olive oil

Mise en place: There's a lot of big veggies and a lot of chopping. Have your trash can or dispose-all handy, cut your onion and garlic first, and have a big mixing bowl for your other ingredients.
  • In your soup pan, get your onion and garlic going, until translucent. Cut your veggies, and once the onions/garlic are good, add the veggies, letting them sweat for a few minutes. Add the chicken stock. 32 oz is the lower limit that you can use here, you may need to add more. Boil, add the bouquet, tomato, and season, reduce to simmer.

  • Make your "pistou." Crush basil and garlic in your mortar/pestle or molcajete (if you have one). Add olive oil to get a nice pesto consistency, and then add parmesan. Adjust oil to the right texture. Wait until just before serving to add.
  • Back to the soup. Be careful with the past that you add. Honestly, rotini may do better than the elbow macaroni, because those things keep getting bigger and sop up a lot of liquid, so add judiciously. Or, you can leave it out altogether because the beans will be carby enough. If you use canned beans, add them towards the end. If you don't add them as soon as you add liquid, as they will be the rate limiting step. Let this go for a couple of hours, depending on your bean/pasta addition. When you're ready to serve, add the pistou. The longer it sits, the stronger the pistou gets, so eat or freeze within 48 hours.


JW said...

Are these pictures of your food or borrowed from the net? Looks great...

og said...

Must admit, these are representative pictures. I'm working on a combo video and still picture camera to take pictures and publish them on here. Sorry to disappoint.