Tag Archives: borlotti beans

How to hijack a dinner party

2 Feb

It looks as though I planned this thing out some, right?

Wrong.

I was not on deck to cook this particular evening. Nor even do the provisioning. The only reason I had stepped foot inside the Rosemont Market on Brighton was to loiter in the wine department and collect a few bottles to go along with my friend Giovani’s birthday dinner.

But then I just had to mosey over to the meat counter, just to say hi to Jarrod the butcher.

Next thing you know I had taken possession of all these beautiful specimens. And for no reason other than that I wanted them. There was a mixed pound of duck and sweet Italian sausage, a pound of pork belly, two giant fatty pork chops, half a pound of pork ribs, and a couple duck legs and thighs.

Hey, somebody had to go home with the things!

An hour or so later and I was in my kitchen, hoping that the comforting aroma of a soffritto simmering in the dutch oven might somehow soften the blow of my having hijacked the birthday meal — a blow no doubt felt by my associate, who had been charged with cooking it.

For the record, it did not soften the blow very much. If at all.

The soffritto, by the way, consisted of a leek, four carrots, a large onion, four garlic cloves lightly smashed but left whole, a tablespoon of fresh marjoram, two tablespoons of fresh rosemary, and four sage leaves. After the vegetables and herbs softened a bit, I started browning the meat in batches, as there was too much of it to do so at once.

After all the meats were browned, I removed them, tossed in two cups of white wine and reduced it pretty much all the way down.

Then the meats went back into the dutch oven. Some cannellini and borlotti beans had soaked overnight (for, ahem, another person’s purposes, not my own) and so I threw a bunch of them in too, along with eight cups of freshly made chicken stock (also not made by, well, me).

After a good couple of hours in the oven (covered) this mess of meat and beans was ready to go. Except that I am a big believer in such dishes benefiting from a day’s rest, and with the birthday dinner scheduled for the following day all was well with my plan.

So well that I was forgiven my indiscretion.

At least for the duration of the meal.

Sort of succotash

27 Aug

Give me a few ears of sweet corn, a baguette and a couple sticks of butter and I’m set. (The butter goes on the bread, which is used to apply the creamy goodness to the corn. When the corn is all gone and the butter’s melted into the crispy baguette… Get the idea?)

I’m not sure why it took so long but I was well into my thirties before I tasted succotash. It was okay, but I didn’t see why the New England-bred cook who presented it to me was so all hopped up over it. Maybe the corn wasn’t as sweet as I like, or the beans (limas are traditional, I’m told) too drab and mushy. Who knows? I never sought out the stuff again.

Earlier this summer, though, the corn coming out of Jordon’s farm was some of the best I’ve had — and had. I ate so much of it over a two-week spell that the Jordans and I were wondering if I shouldn’t have just purchased a share in their crop this year.

Then one day, whilst shelling some pretty swell borlotti beans from my garden, there on the kitchen counter I see these four ears of, well…

And so I quick-steamed them and shaved off the kernels.

This probably isn’t a New Englander’s idea of proper, but I sauteed some onion, hot pepper and proscuitto in olive oil.

Then tossed in the corn and some cooked borlottis.

Maybe it’s succotash, maybe it isn’t.

It tasted good.
I just need to figure out a way to rub it down with a baguette packed with butter.