“Neapolitan Recipe Collection”
as translated by Terence Scully;
Florentine-Style Meat in a Baking Dish: Get veal or another meat with the bone, cut it into the pieces as small as a fist, and put them into a baking dish with a little water, a beaker of wine and another of good verjuice; if you master likes, add in a few slices of onion or, should he not like onions, use parsley, the root that is along with raisins, dried prunes, and salt; cover the meat by no more than a finger of water, and set it in the oven; when it looks half done, add a few cloves, a good lot of cinnamon, pepper and a good lot of saffron let it taste of pepper; when it is half cooked, turn it over; then take it out onto a plate with the spices and sugar on top, or else leave it in the baking dish. You can do the same with fish that is, grey mullet or eels cut into pieces four fingers in width, washed well and put into a baking dish with a little oil. Note that you can make these things sweet or tart according to our master’s taste..
It’s winter. It’s cold, I want to make hearty food. There are beef short ribs in the fridge. It looks like a plan.
cut the meat into approximately 4 ounce chunks, and poured an equal proportion of wine, verjus, and water over them. I shaved an onion into the pot, put in a good handful of black raisins, and seasoned the pot with about a half-teaspoon of salt.
After 45 minutes I put in the called for spices, and let it go for another 15 or 20 minutes.
It’s a bit of a pot roast with overtones of sauerbraten. We are not complaining.
This is a regular dish on our table, it only needs about 5 minutes of attention at the beginning, and two in the middle of cooking. It needs no fancy slicing for service, as it is already in portion controlled pieces.
I appreciate the ease with which I can adapt this balance from sharp to sweet by using more or fewer raisins and /or prunes. It’s good comforting food which succeeds best when a cheap rough cut of beef is used, though the original suggests many alternative proteins.
1c Commercial verjus
1c California red Zinfandel
2 lbs short ribs
1/4c black raisins
A cinnamon stick, crushed (canela)
a healthy pinch of pepper
4 whole cloves,
a pinch of Kosher salt
+ Cheap cuts of meat work well.
+ Simple seasonings.
+ One burner, no complex methods.
+ reminiscent of Sauerbraten, so not a challenge to the timid palate.
+/- Calls for verjus (but there are reasonable substitutions available).
+ Pairs nicely with a variety of sauces and vegetable options
All in all, there is nothing about this presentation I do not enjoy, and nothing I cannot recommend.
It’s a clear winner.