Slow Sunday – Good Gravy

file6711284893685So… Two unusual events this quiet Sunday.  One, I am not travelling for work tomorrow and two, we did not have company.  My son wanted one of his perennial favorites – sausage and peppers.  I took the opportunity to make  a Focaccia with a new recipe.  I seem to have misplaced my old favorite.  This new one was easy enough but a hit fluffy and light for a focaccia.  But good olive oil and fresh snipped and minced Rosemary from my little bitty herb plot made it aromatic and yummy, in fact we ate it all.

I also took advantage of the cloudy windy not too busy Sunday to do something I haven’t done in a long time – I made what New York Italian families call gravy; old fashioned long cooked meat sauce.  It is for Monday pasta; another thing we rarely do – eat pasta, it will be a treat.  I used a mix of ground pork and lean ground beef, lots of garlic and onions and sautéed a little organic tomato paste to deepen the flavor before adding all the tomato, parsley, salt, pepper, oregano, lots of minced fresh basil and just a pinch of sugar.  Tomorrow when reheating I will add a little crushed red pepper and simmer another hour or so.  Not anything most people haven’t made a million times, but familiar, comforting and rare these days unless you are in a restaurant.  So pasta Monday it will be.  No funny stories this week, just a quiet Sunday with fresh bread and a house full of the smell of garlic.

Next Sunday, a smoking barbecue bonanza. Sides not entirely determined, but I see some fried green tomatoes coming down the line.

Casual Family Favorite Black Bean Chili – From Canned to Company Ready

Serves about 10 with generous seconds.

Saute approximately 2# of lean ground beef or turkey

Add 1-2 finely diced onion, saute til translucent

Add about 3-4 cloves of finely sliced garlic, saute til fragrant

Drain Fat

Add 3-4 cans of petite diced tomatoes (I use at least one fire roasted)

3 cans black beans or 2 cans black beans 1 can light red/pinto beans

Add 1 large drained can sweet (not creamed) corn

Season with cumin, chili powder, salt, pepper, paprika, oregano to taste

Add cayenne pepper/red chili flakes or your fave hot sauce to taste

Simmer down a couple hours very low.  If soupy, shake/sift a small amount of flour and whisk in to bind/thicken.

Serve with cornbread or rice or focaccia or any other thing to soak up the goodness.  Freezes beautifully.  I make this when I feel lazy, purists could use fresh tomatoes and uncanned beans (after soaking).  I think there are better uses for fresh tomatoes and this comes out just fine.