Good morning and Merry Christmas! In these days I was a guest so I couldn't give the best of me in kitchen (!) but let me conclude this year with two tipical recipes of Piedmont, my birth region: you can't imagine the state of delirium besetting the kitchen when I finished... I had to deliver the article to CHIERIOGGI the same evening and start packing to leave... but it was worth it!
BRASATO AL BAROLO/BEEF BRAISED IN BAROLO
Put the beef (bottom round or chuck) in a big pot and cover with a bottle of Barolo (you can also use a good Nebbiolo or another good full bodied red wine!); add in an onion, a carrot, a celery stalk, all cut in pieces, a clove of garlic, a piece of cinnamom, one bay leaf, 2 or 3 whole cloves, one tbspoon of peppercorns, one branch of rosemary. Let the meat marinate for a whole night (12 hours at least). After this time remove the beef from the marinate, pick the vegetables with a skimmer and brown a little with some olive oil.. In the meantime brown the beef in oil and butter turning it over from all sides. Add in salt, pepper, the marinate and the vegetables. Let cook for an hour (half an hour in pressure cooker if you want). When the beef is cooked remove it from the pot, let it cool down then cut in slices. Pick the vegs with a skimmer again then pass them with a food mill, add them in the sauce with a tbspoon of flour and some butter and let thicken over low heat; put the slices of beef in the sauce and heat for a while. Arrange 1 or 2 slices of beef on each plate and cover with the sauce. Serve with polenta or mashed potatoes.
FLAN DI CARDI/CARDOONS FLAN
Clean well 300gr of cardoons (or thistles!! don't really know which is the different), remove the filaments and cut in pieces; let them cook in salted water and milk until soften then drain well. Cut the cardoons into cubes and brown in a pan with oil, a clove of garlic and half onion cut in slices; cook for 5-10 minutes. Prepare a bechamel with 2 tbspoon of flour and 40gr of butter: cook briefly, stirring well until it becomes a cream; then add in 600ml of warm milk stirring very well to avoid lumps. Cook until it thickens, add salt and nutmeg. Blend the cardoons, add bechamel and mix well. Add 60gr of grated Parmesan and 2 yolks. Whip the egg whites and add in the compound mixing gently. Grease with butter and flour the molds for flan and fill them two thirds. Put them in the oven (180°) and bake in water bath for 30 minutes. Check the cooking with the blade of a knife: if it's dry the flan is cooked. Invert on a plate and pour with FONDUTA or BAGNA CAUDA. (now read the recipes on wikipedia, next time I'll give you mine!).
(baking in water bath I had to lenghten cooking time because flan were too soft: next time I'll try a normal cookin in the oven!!)