Monday, August 25, 2014

Breakfast Bolognese

Bolognese is a beautiful thing. The quintessential ragú of meat and tomatoes where fat and acidity breaks down into a rich stew of balanced sweetness and umami flavors. Loaded with nostalgia as well, because I'm sure most of our mothers have made some form of pasta & meat sauce for us (tu mámi flavors?).

Most recipes for bolognese will call for ground beef and/or pork, but the beauty of this dish is that you can toss in whatever scraps or combination of meat you have. Leftover charcuterie, pancetta, sausage, ham, bacon, etc. My favorite combo is oxtail and bacon. This time around I used breakfast pork sausage, bacon and headcheese. Considering the breakfast flavors that are very specific to sausage and bacon, I thought about how I could further those flavors to complete a bolognese inspired by breakfast.
After the fat was rendered from the diced bacon and torn apart breakfast sausage & headcheese, I added diced onions and jalapeños until golden and really starting to come together. To that, I included garlic, bay leaf, cinnamon, star anise, soy sauce and some leftover red wine I had laying around (Charles Shaw Cabernet; only the best for me). Once the wine reduced and the brown bits were scraped up from the bottom I added peeled plum tomatoes and let that sucker simmer for about an hour and a half, once the tomatoes melted into the sauce and all the molecules mingled.  Added fresh cherry tomatoes and adjusted the seasoning with salt. Now it's time to assemble.

I paired the breakfast bolognese with french fry gnocchi and topped it off with an egg poached in coffee, soy sauce and maple syrup. Garnished with scallions, tarragon, basil and hush puppy breadcrumbs and black pepper.

The flavors of breakfast are definitely in there: egg, sausage, bacon, maple syrup, coffee and fried potatoes. I'm not looking to be overly conceptual with a novel idea, I just want to introduce familiar flavors to each other. Oh, and don't forget the runny egg yolk. That's almost as important as breakfast itself:

                          The Secret of the Ooze

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