The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #165215   Message #4018887
Posted By: Charmion
13-Nov-19 - 10:24 AM
Thread Name: BS: Recipes - what are we eating?
Subject: RE: BS: Recipes - what are we eating?
I, too, worship at the shrine of Marcella Hazan. Her big book, "Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking", is a revelation, not least because so many of her dishes are not only supremely delicious but also not at all difficult to make. Marcella leads my personal household pantheon along with Mark Bittman, who also came to public attention through the New York Times. Unlike Bittman, who never saw a new food he did not want to wedge into (North) American foodways, Marcella never strayed from her native heath, the cuisine of Italy.

Tonight we are eating lamb, specifically a Norwegian soul-food dish called fårikål -- literally, lamb with cabbage. Mr Wrong, to whom I was married for a few frankly unpleasant years, was Norwegian, and the silver lining of that cloud was that he was nice to cats and a good cook. I owe this recipe to him.

The essential ingredients are lamb, bacon fat, cabbage, peppercorns and salt. Nice-to-have extras are lardons (instead of the bacon fat), minced garlic (which is not canonical but a major umami booster) and celery root. Some people add water to reduce the risk of scorching and flour to thicken the gravy, but I do not.

Take a kilo or more of lamb shoulder and cut it up into hunks a bit bigger than bite-sized. Core and slice a small cabbage into fork-manageable pieces. Crack the peppercorns -- a tablespoon or so.

In a dutch oven or a large skillet with a close-fitting lid, brown the lamb well in the bacon fat, and salt it liberally. Scatter the cracked peppercorns on the lamb, then pile the cabbage on top. Put on the lid, and turn down the heat to minimum or put the pot into a low oven. Leave it alone for at least 45 minutes, then take off the lid and stir up the pot -- juice from the cabbage will have generated a fair amount of gravy by this point. Check the texture of the cabbage (and celery root, if used). If it's tender, the dish is ready to eat; if not, put the pot back on the hob or in the oven until it is.

If you want to use lardons, add them to the pot first and render out as much fat as you can without scorching them, then add the lamb. If you want to add garlic, slice it (if you're Steve Shaw) or mince it finely and add it to the pot while the lamb is browning. If you want to add celery root, peel and dice it into one-inch cubes and mix it into the lamb before piling on the cabbage.

Serve fårikål with boiled potatoes, which you mash into the gravy with the back of your fork, and red wine or any kind of beer you like.