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Lo stufatino di’ “pelliccia”: dimorte patate e poca ciccia

  • 600 grams of veal meat, taken from the back muscle, and cut in small morsels
  • a chopped mixture composed by a medium red onion
  • one carrot
  • 2 celery ribs
  • a small bunch of parsley
  • one glass of red wine
  • 10-12 spoons of olive oil
  • 800 grams of potatoes cut in small cubes
  • a blended mixture composed by:
    3-4 garlic cloves
    the leaves of a big branch of rosemary
    5-6 leaves of sage
    one meat stock cube
    one spoon and a half of tomato purée
    salt and pepper
Take a saucepan with a thick bottom, adequate capacity and good lid, wither the chopped vegetables, but without browning them, over a medium-brisky heat, turning very often in order anything would stick on the bottom of the pan. After about 10 minutes put the meat, turn and mix, cook quite intensely meat and chopped vegetables together, turning very often in order anything would stick on the bottom for at least 40 minutes or, alternatively, until the meat would result tender and the chopped vegetables would get a hazelnut colour.
At this point bathe with the wine, let it evaporate, add the blended herbs (use ½ litre of very hot water as to prepare this mixture), cook 5 or 6 minutes over a brisky heat, continuously turning, then add the potatoes. Mix them very well with the meat and the sauce, start with the boiling and adjust the heat for a very low boiling, cover with a lid, cook for 20-22 minutes turning sometimes with care and attention, because the potatoes should not break or melt. And that’s all.
The meat of the muscle is the most indicated for this recipe, because it is gelatinous, therefore it favours the amalgam with the potatoes which are indivisible from the meat in the stewing. During the last part of the cooking it is almost inevitable that on the bottom of the pan there would be some crust. If this is kept within the right limits, its presence will be a real blessing because it is surely the best thing of all the pan and represents one of the more intense, harmonic and involving tastes; the typical taste of a popular recipe.
The bitter irony of its name within the “popolino” (naturally these are things of past times) is due to the fact that the “ciccia” (meat) was really, also the cheapest parts like the muscle, an apanage (and privilege) of few people and it was very scarce, therefore in order to fill adequately “large” stomaches and “desirous” mouths, it was necessary to add potatoes, not appreciated by the rich people but a real manna for the poors…they were surely poor but not stupid (as regards as to this fact: what about the people are vegetarian maniacs?), so that they ate potatoes (like salads) because there was nothing else to eat, even if they were aware of the preciousness and taste of the “ciccia”!

A Giuseppe Alessi recipe
Translated by Gianna Toni

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