Italian or Cajun Meat Sauce With Noodles and Garden Salad

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wwltv.com

Posted on June 21, 2011 at 5:20 PM

Updated Friday, Aug 1 at 9:41 AM

 

Cajun Meat Sauce

3 lbs.
ground round or ground sirloin
4 Tbsp. Canola oil
6 Tbsp. all purpose flour
¾ cup onions, diced
½ cup celery, finely diced
1 Tbsp. fresh garlic, minced
½ cup green onions, sliced
2 bay leaves
½ lb. mushrooms, sliced
¼ cup parsley, minced
2 cups chicken stock
1 cup dry sherry wine
Salt and black pepper to taste
6 cups buttered noodles
2/3 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
1 dozen hot French bread pistolettes


Italian Gravy

3 lbs. ground round or ground sirloin
4 Tbsp. Extra virgin olive oil
¾ cup onions, diced
2 Tbsp. garlic, minced
½ lb. mushrooms, sliced
1 can Contadina tomato paste,
10 oz. size
1 tsp. basil
2 tsp. Frank Davis Sicilian Seasoning
3-tomato paste cans full of chicken stock
½ cup dry sherry wine
¼ cup parsley, minced
Salt & black pepper to taste
6 cups buttered noodles
2/3 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1 dozen hot French bread pistolettes



Instructions for the Cajun Meat Sauce

 

In a 5-quart Dutch oven, break up the ground meat and fry it down until it lightly browns, stirring it constantly as it cooks. When all of the red color is gone, take a slotted spoon, remove the meat from the pot, and set it aside in a colander so that the excess fats drain away.

In the meantime, in the same Dutch oven, heat the Canola oil to sizzling, begin sprinkling in the all purpose flour, and over medium-high heat whisk it into a dark brown roux. When the flour reaches the right color, take the pot off the fire and drop in the onions, celery, garlic, green onions, bay leaves, and mushrooms. (The addition of the seasoning vegetables will immediately stop the roux from browning any further and the residual heat from the hot roux will serve to cook the veggies).

When the base becomes semi-smooth, quickly whisk in the minced parsley. Then, stirring constantly, pour the stock and the wine into the roux and take time to be sure it transforms into a silky brown gravy. Don't rush this step! It's critical to a velvety taste in the gravy.

At this point, return the ground meat to the pot and blend everything together one more time. Then reduce the fire to low, put the lid on the Dutch oven, and gently simmer the meat sauce for about 30 to 40minutes or until it reaches the consistency you desire. (If you want it thinner, add a little extra stock; if you want it thicker, cook it a little longer with the lid off the pot).

All that's left to do is to make final seasoning adjustments with the salt and black pepper before ladling it over a big plate of hot buttered noodles and topping it with a generous serving of shredded cheddar cheese. Oh, and be sure to have some hot pistolettes on hand for sopping.

Instructions for Italian Gravy

 

In a 5-quart Dutch oven, break up the ground meat and fry it down until it lightly browns, stirring it constantly as it cooks. When all of the red color is gone, take a slotted spoon, remove the meat from the pot, and set it aside in a colander so that the excess fats drain away.

In the meantime, in the same Dutch oven, heat the olive oil to sizzling and begin frying down the onions, garlic, and mushrooms. When they become fully wilted and semi-softened, spoon in the tomato paste and completely incorporate it into the seasoning vegetables.

Continue to stir the mix as it comes together to keep the tomato paste from scorching. Then when the mix is pasty-smooth, stir in the basil, the Sicilian seasoning, the chicken stock, and the sherry wine. Take time to uniformly combine all the liquid into the paste and seasonings until a smooth sauce develops.

At this point, return the ground meat to the pot, along with the minced parsley, and blend everything together well. Then reduce the fire to low, put the lid on the Dutch oven, and gently simmer the meat sauce for about 30 to 40minutes or until it reaches the consistency you desire. (If you want it thinner, add a little extra stock; if you want it thicker, cook it a little longer with the lid off the pot).

All that's left to do is to make final seasoning adjustments with the salt and black pepper before ladling it over a big plate of hot buttered noodles and topping it with a generous serving of grated Parmesan cheese. Oh, and be sure to have some hot pistolettes on hand for sopping.

 

Chef's Hints

1 -Remove the rendered out fat from the sautéed ground meat before proceeding with either meat sauce. The addition of the olive oil in the Italian meat sauce and the Canola oil in the Cajun meat sauce will produce a smoother, sweeter, and less greasy gravy in each case.
If you'd like to add a few bay leaves to the Italian meat sauce, go ahead. Just don't add any sugar to the gravy. If you do the sauce right it won't be acidic.

2 -Keep an eye on the height of the flame under the Dutch ovens as the meat sauces cook. Regardless of whether you're making Italian or Cajun, a fire too high will cause the delicateness to be lost and, in some cases, even burn the gravy.

3 -Give each meat sauce at least 30 minutes to simmer. The full flavors do not fully develop until that amount of time has transpired. And short-cutting the cooking time on the Cajun meat sauce won't allow enough time for the flour to mellow and will produce a "raw, gritty" taste in the gravy.

4 -Finally, buy only ground round or ground sirloin for these meat sauces. Regular ground meat or even ground chuck will produce an oily gravy, even if it is skimmed after it cooks.

 

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