Our recent change(ish) in the weather and the impending arrival of my favorite time of year really gets my culinary juices flowing. Braises, stews, and soups, oh my! Most of my favorite foods to prepare and more importantly to eat are considered cold-weather foods, and the arrival of Fall here in Austin has inspired my first braise of the year.
Lamb and Beef Ragout with Rosemary Papardelle
(Recipe yields 6-8 servings)
For the Braise:
8 oz. Bacon, cut into lardons (matchsticks)
1/2 lb. Beef stew meat (I used local Bastrop beef, mmm, grass-fed)
1/2 lb. Lamb shoulder/leg (Loncito's from nearby Dinero, TX has wonderful organic lamb products)
1/2 Onion, sliced
1/2 Leek, washed and julienned
2 Jalapenos, cut in half and julienned
1/2 can (14 oz.) San Marzano tomatoes, medium dice (reserve liquid)
6 Kalamata olives, pitted and sliced
1/2 Roasted red bell pepper, julienned
1/2 head Napa Cabbage, julienned
6-8 Thyme sprigs, picked (reserve some for garnish)
1 cup red wine
1 cup stock (or water)
AN flour, salt, pepper
Bouquet Garni: (fancy French term for ingredients tied in cheesecloth so they can be removed easily after cooking.)
5 black peppercorns
2-3 Bay leaves
2-3 Star Anise
1 tsp. Cumin seeds
any bones you might have encountered in the beef/lamb
Tie in cheesecloth and set aside.
In a Dutch Oven (the only tool for a good braise in my opinion) or a large saucepot, crisp bacon over medium-low heat and remove to dry. Set aside for garnish.
Increase heat to high.
Toss beef and lamb in enough flour to coat lightly, season with salt and pepper. Brown both side of the meat in the bacon fat, and remove.
Deglaze the pan with 1 T. of red wine, scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon.
Add onions, leeks and jalapenos. Sweat until veggies are soft.
Deglaze again with another 1 T. of red wine, scraping the bottom.
Add tomatoes (with reserved juice), bell peppers, olives, cabbage, thyme, browned meat(s), wine, stock and Bouquet back to the pan. There should be just enough liquid to cover.
Bring back to a simmer, then cover and place in a 350 F oven for about 4 hours, until meat falls apart.
Remove Bouquet and serve.
For the Rosemary Papardelle:
(Recipe yields about 4-5 servings)
2 oz. (by weight) AP Flour
2 oz. (by weight) Semolina Flour
2 tsp. Olive Oil
2 tsp. Salt
1/4 cup to 3/4 cup Water
2-3 sprigs Rosemary, picked and chopped finely
AN 50/50 mix of AP and Semolina flours (called 'bench flour' for kneading/rolling/etc.)
Pasta Machine or Pasta Attachment for Stand Mixer (yes, it's really the only way to make pasta at home.)
Combine AP and Semolina flour, rosemary and salt in a large bowl (or on your counter-top), make a well in the center.
Add eggs, oil and a little water to the well.
Beating the eggs with a fork, gradually incorporate flour until a loose dough forms. You may or may not have to add water as you go, depending on the eggs.
When the dough pulls together into a shaggy mass, remove from the bowl and begin to knead on a floured surface.
Knead until the dough is smooth, a little tacky, and elastic. (It could take awhile if you don't have Popeye forearms, be patient).
Set dough aside, covered loosely with plastic, and let rest for about 30 minutes.
Divide dough into fourths. (I like to wrap what I'm not going to use in plastic, place into a plastic bag, and freeze for up to two months.)
Shape dough into a rough rectangle, and put through the largest opening on your pasta machine.
Remove the dough, fold (in thirds, like folding a letter for an envelope) back onto itself. Rotate and put back through largest opening of machine. Repeat this step 2-3 times.
Let dough rest 5 minutes.
Run dough through progressively smaller settings on the machine, resting every couple of settings or so for 5 minutes, until you get to the second smallest.
Cut dough into long rectangles, trimming loose edges, and refrigerate on a floured sheet tray until ready to cut/cook.
Roll rectangles up, and then cut into 1/2" pieces.
Toss noodles in a little flour to prevent sticking.
Cook noodles in ample boiling, salted (like the sea!) water until al dente. Fresh pasta cooks very fast, so be aware. It should only take a couple of minutes at most.
Remove pasta from water, and toss with the Ragout and sauteed mushrooms (I used King Trumpets).
Plate and serve with fresh thyme, bacon, grated Parmesan, and a couple of thick pieces of toasted bread (I like Ciabatta) to soak up all the goodness.