Cassoeula

Cassoeula is a traditional dish in the Lombardia region, which lies in northern Italy. It is a hearty stew of cabbage and three or four cuts of pork such as ribs, sausage, bacon and pork butt (shoulder), sometimes snouts, lips and feet. Typically around slaughter there will be pieces of meats used for stewing – very little goes to waste.

In my dish I will use pork country style ribs, bacon and pork brats. I will blanch the smoke flavor out of the bacon beforehand. I chose these meats for the different textures but also to create pork fond when browning them in a cast iron pan. A fond is that brown stuff that sticks to the sides of the pan and looks like it is burned on stuff but in fact it is where the entire best flavor is. By adding small amounts of white wine or in this dish sweet Marsala wine to the pan while the pan is hot and scraping the sides and bottom with a wooden spatula, the fond comes off and becomes a part of the gravy flavor in the dish. Typically this dish is served over polenta but I made a really good white wine and parmesan cheese rice risotto with the rice sautéed in butter and onions. The dish will also have carrots and celery along with cabbage. These stews are for cold days, like today.

For 2:
2 slices of bacon blanched in hot water for 10 minutes then dried to remove most of the smoky flavor then cut into lardons
1 small onion chopped
3 carrot sticks cut into coin
2 celery sticks, split in the middle and chopped cross ways
1 large clove of garlic and pressed into the dish
1 large bowl of cabbage
2 country style ribs deboned
2 port brats
1 TBSP olive oil
1 TBSP butter
½ tsp dried Italian herbs
½ cup Sweet Marsala wine
1 cup of chicken stock
S&P

In a large Dutch oven heat the olive oil and brown the ribs
Remove the ribs and brown the brats
Remove the brats and add the onions, carrot and celery (soffritto) and sauté 8 minutes
Add the Marsala wine and deglazed the pan
Return the meat and add the bacon, garlic, S&P and herbs
Add the butter and combine
Layer the cabbage on top
Add chicken stock just to the top of the food
Cook on the small burner in the back on low for 2 hours.
Serve over polenta or risotto

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