Hailing from the Campania region of Italy, this onion based sauce is probably about as simple as it gets and will have a lasting effect on your taste buds and soul. Enjoy another fabulous recipe from Spray Creek’s own Farmer Mo.
This recipe, as well as my Sunday Sauce recipe showcases one of my favourite cuts of meat off any animal – The shoulder aka the chuck, aka flavour town. What makes chuck so delightful you ask? Well, it contains a good amount of different muscle groups which means that it contains a wonderful amount of collagen and intramuscular fat and when cooked low and it slow it melts down and adds an incredible amount of flavour to whatever you are cooking – magic!
The ingredient list for both this sauce and my Sunday Sauce are minimal, and the cooking methods very similar, but the results are completely different. This recipe relies on onion as the base of the sauce, while my Sunday Sauce is tomato-based. I made these two sauces on the same day and the next day we had a pasta night with two types of pasta – it was very exciting, and we were all very well fed for a few days.
Disclaimer: There will not be a final photo of the dishes as they were just too good to remember to take a photo – but there are many happy Spray Creek farmers who can vouch for the glory of these sauces.
Also please note that I used veal and beef chuck steaks for this – but you can get away with just doing all beef or all veal. For the sunday sauce you can also sub in pork shoulder steaks but you need to get around 4lb worth.
Two days Before you want to eat – defrost the steaks. A cooling rack on top of a cookie sheet works perfectly, but a plate is fine too, just remember to flip the meat a few times.
Once defrosted – liberally salt meat on all sides: salting the meat in advance like this leads to a more flavourful taste experience. I do this with any meat anytime I am smart enough to remember to do it in advance. Kosher salt is best, but if you only have table salt just be careful not to over-salt.
Remove the meat from the fridge an hour or so before cooking and let it rest on the counter while you are preparing the veggies.
2 chuck steaks (beef, veal, or one of each)
4 large onions (skin removed and cut thinly length wise – you want to get these slices to about 3mm thin – it allows them to melt down and release the flavour we are looking for)
2 carrots (1 ½ – 2 cups) cut into quarters lengthwise and then sliced thinly
3 celery (1 ½ – 2 cups) cut in half lengthwise and then sliced thinly
1 cup of dry white wine
salt and pepper
pinch of nutmeg
- Find your widest saute pan and heat some oil in it on medium high. Once hot add one of the chuck steaks and brown it on both sides. Be patient and make sure you get a nice brown crust – this flavour is essential to the sauce. Add more oil if necessary and brown the second chuck steak. Once both steaks are browned, set them on a plate.
- Add the carrots, celery and a handful of onions to the pan. Caramelise for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Reduce the heat to low- add half the onions, layer in the meat, cover with the remaining onions add 1 cup of wine. Cover with a lid.
- Continue to cook on low for two hours, checking periodically to ensure your sauce is still cooking but not burning. After two hours, gently stir the sauce and flip the meat. The steaks should be just starting to fall apart. Cook for another hour or two, until the meat is fall apart tender.
- Remove the meat from the sauce and shred, discarding bones and any gristle that did not breakdown after cooking. Add the meat back into sauce, season with salt and pepper, and carefully add nutmeg by the pinch to taste.
- Simmer for 15 – 20 more minutes.
This sauce is traditionally served over pasta – but can easily accompany any starch vegetable. It is even better reheated the next day.