Miss Sophie: There's common ground in the cooking pot, from Brazilian cozido to corned beef and cabbage
By Teri Bell
My husband, Steve, doesnâ€™t like for me to tell people this, but, as he tells my children, â€śYou never know what is going to show up in your Mamaâ€™s column.â€ť
So Iâ€™m ratting Steve out in this one â€” he is a gourmet cook!
In fact, he helps prepare or sometimes prepares most of our dinners. I love to cook, but after 8 or 10 hours in a restaurant serving food, buying food and preparing menus, â€śwhat do you want dinnerâ€ť is the last thing I want to hear.
On the occasions that Steve does ask me, he usually gets the â€śI donâ€™t really want anythingâ€ť answer. I am too often guilty of forgetting that his day has been filled with leftovers or sandwiches and dinner is his only â€śrealâ€ť meal and the only meal we share together.
Most nights Steve doesnâ€™t consult me about dinner and plans the meat portion of our meals. He isnâ€™t a cook who shies away from multi-ingredient recipes.
He is an adventuresome eater and cook and can prepare not-so-ordinary meats as well as he can prepare a steak.
His lamb burgers could stand tall with any trained chef and his lamb chops are always cooked to perfection. His seafood is diverse and delicious.
Steve is frugal, though, and the reason we can dine on lamb or salmon so often is that he constantly scours meat departments for sales and newly reduced meats to stock our freezer.
Iâ€™m ratting Steve out because he prepared this weekâ€™s recipe first and he deserves the credit.
He started it while I was out shopping, and I came in and finished it while he played tennis. A team effort, as are most of our meals. And like most of our meals, thoroughly enjoyed.
The recipe Steve chose was from one of our favorite cookbooks â€” â€śFalling off the Bone.â€ť
The recipe bore the simple name of â€ścozido,â€ť a Spanish word for stew. The recipe noted that â€śevery country ... has its own boiled dinner, and this one ... belongs to Brazil.â€ť
The phrase â€śboiled dinnerâ€ť doesnâ€™t sound very appetizing to me, but I loved this dish, so I did some research into the boiled dinners or stews of different countries.
The most well-known boiled meal in the U.S. is the New England boiled dinner, corned beef and cabbage.
Here, we prepare New England Boil for St. Patrickâ€™s Day, but the Irish use bacon, not corned beef, in their cabbage stew.
Corned beef and cabbage is said to be the product of Irish immigrants in the northern U.S. having to purchase meats from Jewish butcher shops. Since there was no bacon, they began substituting with corned beef and the New England Boil was born.
One of the oddest regional boiled dinners I found was a version of Bollito Misito, or Italian boiled dinner.
This particular recipe came from the northern part of Italy and called for beef brisket, neck or breast of veal, 1ÂĽ pound calfâ€™s head, a veal tongue, a chicken and Cotechino, an Italian sausage resembling salami.
It made me glad I didnâ€™t grow up in northern Italy, because I know my grandmother would have served this every Sunday! At least every Sunday a calfâ€™s head was available.
Portugese cozido includes beef, pork, blood sausage (a sausage made from congealed blood), chorizo and sometimes a hen or chicken, turnips, cabbage, carrots, potatoes, rice and collards, and is served with bread and red vinegar.
Spanish cozidos contain pretty much the same meat as the Portuguese â€” blood sausage included â€” but their cozidos include chickpeas.
Their most popular cozido comes from Madrid â€” Cocido madrileĂ±o, a chickpea-based stew.
Traditionally, the stew is served in three stages. The first stage is noodles cooked in the broth from the stew; the second stage is the chickpeas with any other vegetables used; and the final stage is the meat, which can often also include Pig Trotter (better known as pigâ€™s feet.) Vegetables before meat â€” now thatâ€™s a healthy way to eat!
Down here in the South, weâ€™re pretty simple with our cozido.
A pot of shrimp, sausage, potatoes and corn is all it takes to make us happy.
And if you are from another region, please refrain from tossing random animal parts and heads into our boiled dinner.
It tastes just fine without them.
Teri Bell is co-owner of Miss Sophieâ€™s Marketplace at the Mighty Eighth in Pooler. Go to sophiesmarketplace.com.
(adapted from â€śFalling Off the Boneâ€ť by Jean Anderson)
2 pounds boneless beef chuck, cut into cubes
1 medium sweet onion
2 cloves minced garlic
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
ÂĽ cup bacon grease (or vegetable oil)
1 Â˝ cups baby carrots
2 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 medium turnips, peeled and cubed
ÂĽ head cabbage, cored and sliced crosswise
6 mini ears of frozen corn on the cob
1. Place beef, onion, garlic, vinegar, salt and pepper in a large bowl, toss together and let marinate at room temperature for 30 minutes.
2. Heat bacon drippings in a large Dutch oven over high heat.
3. Add contents of beef mixture and cook, stirring often, until browned â€” 8-10 minutes. Add enough water to barely cover ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat until mixture gently bubbles; cover and simmer until beef is tender, 1Â˝ to 2 hours.
4. Add carrots, potatoes, sweet potatoes, turnips, cabbage and 1 cup of water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat so mixture barely simmers, cover and cook about 30 minutes or until vegetables are tender.
5. Add corn, cover and cook for 8-10 minutes.