5.18 Sunday Gravy

I grew up watching cooking shows with my dad on Sunday mornings over coffee. Dad was primarily interested in the technique and chemical properties of cooking, while I just liked the break from political-news related programming.

We began with PBS, and then became early adopters of the food network. One Saturday morning we watched Mario Batali (pre-celebrity) make this crazy smörgåsbord of a meal called “Sunday Gravy.” It involved slow-cooking every meat left over from a weeks worth of Italian dinners in tomato sauce, and resulted in a huge platter of meat.

This weekend I had two guests in town, giving me extra mouths to feed on Sunday night, and the timing seemed right to get in one last heavy meal before summer begins.

Sunday Gravy
Tomato Sauce
1 large Spanish onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 cups sliced shiitaki, oyster and cremini mushrooms
1 4 oz can tomato paste
2 small carrots, peeled and finely diced
1/2 bottle of full-bodied red wine
1 10 oz can crushed tomatoes
1 10 oz can tomato puree
Pinch crushed red pepper flakes
2 fresh bay leaves
tsp fresh oregano
tsp fresh thyme leaves
Fresh basil, chiffonade
1 spring fresh rosemary
Salt and Pepper to taste

Meat Balls
1 lb ground pork
1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs
1 tbsp finely diced Spanish onion
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tbsp chopped flat leaf parsley
1 tsp grill seasoning
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
Salt and Pepper

Stuffed Chicken
3 thin cut chicken breast pieces, pounded flat
1 red pepper, seeded, roasted and peeled, sliced into small vertical strips
6 basil leaves
3 tbsp soften goat cheese
tooth picks

Other Meats
1 lb pork loin, studded with fresh garlic cloves
4 Italian sausage
Beef short ribs with bone (English cut)
4 hard boiled eggs, peeled

Fresh lasagna sheets, rolled and sliced into parpadelle
Shredded Parmesan cheese to taste

Make sauce
In a large stock pot, saute onion with a little olive oil 5 minutes until it becomes translucent and begins to caramelize.
Add mushrooms and red pepper flakes and continue to saute another 3 minutes
Add garlic and tomato paste and cook another 3 minutes, stirring
Add half bottle of wine and stir to combine.
Leave on medium heat 5 minutes until wine has reduced 1/3.

Place short ribs in sauce and bring to simmer

With a paring knife, make small incisions across the port tenderloin and stuff with cloves of garlic. Place pork in sauce.

Combine all meatball ingredients in a bowl and mix to combine. Form 1.5″ balls and place on a baking sheet. Bake meatballs 20 minutes at 350. After baking is complete, add meatballs to sauce.

Slice sausage in thirds and place in sauce.

Stir sauce every so often throughout the afternoon to prevent burning the bottom. No less than 3 hours and up to 5 or 6.

About 1 hour before serving. Hard boil 6 eggs in water with 1 tbsp white vinegar and let cool.

Place bell pepper under the broiler for 5 minutes until skin blackens. Please in a plastic bag and let cool. Peel and slice into thin strips.

Place thin cut chicken breast between two pieces of wax paper and pound to 1/3.” Season with salt and fresh cracked pepper. Spread a tsp of softened goat cheese on top of each breast. Top with roasted pepper and fresh basil (whole leaf). Roll up chicken jelly-roll style and secure with toothpicks. Place in sauce.

Bring 2 quarts water to boil in a large pasta pot. Roll up lasagna noodles and slice into wide strips. Cook 3 minutes in boiling salted water and drain. Toss with some sauce from the Sunday Gravy.

Peel hard boiled egg and place in sauce for 10 minutes.

To serve, place all meats on a platter, sliced into bite-sized pieces, serve sauce over fresh pasta with Parmesan cheese. Be sure to remove toothpicks from chicken before serving.


JL disappointingly had a late lunch and only managed a spare, however, I was later told by a friend that he described this as his favorite meal so far…

jl votes jl votes

Guest Judges:

Our two house guest both managed an impressive showing.
Notable comment: “this is the best meal I’ve had in years.”

guest vote guest vote guest vote guest vote

Roommate gets in on the action:

Danielle usually eat small lady-like portions, so I generally do not report on her. I am making an exception tonight based on the fact that she managed to out eat her boyfriend.

danielle votes danielle votes danielle votes danielle votes


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