Saturday, 15 October 2011

Bridge with the Brothers

Every second month or so, T plays bridge with his two brothers and their childhood friend. Tonight is such a night and this normally calls for something that can simmer while they are playing. This time we opt for braised veal tail with polenta and a green salad.
The kids and two of their cousins make up a party of 9 people and the portions are made accordingly.
3,5 kilos of tails are browned first whereafter a soffreto of three red onions, 5 cloves of garlic, 3 stalks of celery and 4 carrots are fried with thyme, sage and bay leaves.
When fried a small tin of tomato paste is added and fried a little.
After 5 minutes all the browned pieces of veal tail are put back in the pot and 1 liter of beef stock as well as 1,5 bottle of (left-over) red wine is added and the pot is almost ready to be left simmering for 3 hours.

Before that the, by now customary, lid of baking paper is placed on top.
The tails contain much fat from both the marrow and the meat and a lot of starch from the bones which means that fat and starch can and should be skimmed off after the 3 hours of simmering.
Skim, remove the meat, skim again, cook down and skim and finally blend so that the vegetables are used for thickening the sauce. Add s/p and perhaps a bit of acid like balsamico. When finished return the meat and let it heat up while making the polenta.
The polenta is not a favorite with everyone in the company. Some would have preferred mashed potatoes, but the fact is that polenta is selected for how easy it is to make and as such making it is well suited for a night where we hope to focus on playing bridge. Actually that is a lame excuse as K is exiled in the kitchen while the men pursue the noble game. But, at least, that was what was planned..
For the polenta use 600 grams of coarse-grained corn flour and 0,75 liter of boiling water and mix over the stove. When cooked (after app. 5 minutes) add some grated parmesan and butter. The veal tails are very successful and we think it is a 8,5/10, but our guests might differ due to the polenta. But there is no arguing that the tails are a huge success.
A lot of wine is tried tonight and some goes better with the than others:
Poggio Valente 2007 Morellino di Scansano
Casanuova 2004 Chianti Classico Riserva
Waterbrook Shiraz 2006
Killikanoon The Covenant 2005
K thinks that the fruity shiraz'es are totally wrong with the intense taste of the braised sauce and T would normally concede but by this time his tasting buds have lost some of their edge. K's argument is that this extremely rich dish needs the acidity and bitterness from for instance the Sangiovese and insists on staying with the Chianti.

For dessert K prepares an apple-blueberry crumble.
6 large apples, 150 gr blueberries. These apples were kindly given to us by K's sister from her garden. Nice spicy cooking apples – a bit on the sour side but great for this dish.
For the crumble: 2 dl of flour, a good handful of almond 'flour' (almonds crushed to flour in the blender), 2 dl of sugar, 200 gr butter, a good handful of oatmeal. All mixed to a crumble.

The fruit is put in an ovenproof dish. Muscovado-sugar and cinnamon is sprinkled on top and finally the crumble is spread all over.
30 min. in the oven at 200°C. Served on this occasion with sour cream, but it may have been even better with whipped cream. 8,2/10

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