Saturday, September 18, 2010

Tuhod y Batoc Ragu (Knee and Neck Ragu)

I am a pack rat. I save everything from old credit card receipts to sappy poems written by boys of summers long gone. I hardly ever throw anything away. I have my paid and validated phone bills from years back tucked away in dark corners of my office. Random scraps of paper, scrawled with hurried to-do lists, litter the nether regions of my purses. Proof of this “endearing” habit currently lay in boxes that block our front door and most of our new foyer.

It’s also evident in our fridge and freezer – much to C’s frustration (as if the unpacked boxes of stuff isn’t frustrating enough right?). I keep every drop of bacon dripping, the end slices of sliced bread, every last bit of leftover food. I can’t abide by food waste so all this gets stashed for future use. To my credit, they do, in fact, get used, and for the most part quite successfully.

This dish came together one slow day when I was in the middle of the contemplative work of stock-making. Beef stock making to be specific. I had scored a gorgeous shin bone which I had cut down to kneecaps and marrow pieces (did that sound too serial killer-ish?). To add more meatiness to the stock I threw in a hunk of beef neck. There was quite a bit of neck meat there, which slowly cooked down to a melting softness, and I thought it would shame it to let it go to waste. So I took it, along with the now tender kneecap tendon, and did this.

Tuhod y Batoc Ragu (Knee and Neck Ragu)
  • Olive oil
  • 2 small white onions, chopped
  • 4-5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon Italian mix seasoning
  • 1 chorizo, chopped
  • 1/4 cup red wine
  • 1 800-gram can chopped tomatoes
  • 1 clove
  • Dash cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 2 1/2 – 3 cups cooked, deboned beef neck (shredded) and kneecap (the soft, gelatinous tendon part, chopped)
  • 1/2 to 2/3 cup beef stock
  • Sea salt & freshly cracked black pepper

- Heat a couple of generous glugs of olive oil in a heavy-bottomed pot. When the oil is hot, add the onions, garlic, and bay leaf and sauté until onions are soft and translucent. Add Italian mix seasoning and stir well, letting the dried herbs release their scent.
- Add the chorizo and cook until it releases its oils. Deglaze the pot with red wine, scraping all the brown bits stuck to the pan as you go. Cook until you can’t smell the alcohol anymore.
- Add the tomatoes, clove, cinnamon, and paprika. Let this simmer until the water has evaporated a bit.
- Add the beef and beef stock and simmer again until it all melds together into a thick and pulpy sauce.
- Season to taste with salt and pepper.

You would think that something that had been cooked for hours would have lost a lot of its flavor but the neck meat, which has a lot of flavor to begin with, held up pretty well. The aromatics and spices (and the chorizo) then added whatever was missing. All in all, pretty savory and not at all a dish you would think came from the leavings of something else. It is rich and hearty and stick-to-your bones comforting. You could of course make this with neck and kneecap directly simmered in the tomato sauce until tender, without waiting for a beef stock making session. We had it with a scalloped, shell-like pasta touted as gnocchi on that package. In any case, it worked a charm, catching the hearty sauce in its crevices. It would also go wonderfully with a good thick pasta noodle like a papardelle.

I feel unashamedly smug when I put every last bit of something to good use. Especially when something great comes of it. I only wish it was that easy for those boxes.

Note: It's a bit late to announce but I have some dishes in this month's (September) issue of Yummy magazine :) All made with local cheeses! This isssue is a great one -- chock-full of Filipino recipes, or dishes with local ingredients. There is a spread of different adobo recipes that I know I am going to be trying soon!


Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

A delicious dish! I love your blog's new look.



Mom-Friday said...

I'm a pack rat too! :)
And this looks really yummy! Love pasta!

Paula said...

this dish looks divine! I`d like to try some :)

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

What a fun story! Love the name of the dish! Hehe it's always ajoy when something turns out better than we thought with what we had.

lunchbox said...

Yum! I also keep bones and veggie peels in a bag in the freezer for stock making. Pons calls it the FrankenSTOCK bag. : )

♥peachkins♥ said...

This sounds sooo good!

WizzyTheStick said...

I love when you can cook with ingredients you have on hand and create something fabulous with them as you have done here.

Trissa said...

I used to keep everything as well until I decided that the lack of space would be my undoing. Now the only thing I hoard is food and cookbooks. Well done on the ragu. The gelatinous bits for me have the most flavor.

Junglefrog said...

That looks totally delicious! I've had some samples of "neck meat" before and while it takes a bit more work, it's definitely worth it!

Midge said...

Oh, my! Thanks for posting this recipe, Joey. The doctor says I need more beef in my diet and this dish looks absolutely delicious!

Tv Food and Drink said...

Wow! Looks good, and I love anything that can make room for chorizo. As a pack rat myself, I stand and applaud. - Gary

Anh said...

what a cute name for a ragu! And sound so delicious!

chef_d said...

Love love the name of this dish :) It must have tasted delicious with all the flavors (especially the chorizo) combined! Will get this month's Yummy magazine for sure!

Anne said...

love the name of the dish...this is definitely yummy!

ChichaJo said...

Thanks Rosa!

Hi Mom-Friday! It’s a condition I have been trying to cure myself of...especially since living in a flat does not really equate to much storage space! Saving every last bit of food though is something I consider very important :)

Thanks Paula! Wish I could share :)

Hi Tanna! Tuhod y Batoc means knee and neck (or literally back of neck) in my native Spa-galog (Spanish and Tagalog --- a bastardization quite common here!) :)

Hey Mireille! Hahaha! We are the same! It’s actually kinda creepy to think we have bags of bones in our freezers, hahaha! Love the Frankenstock bag!!!

Hi Peachkins! Glad you think so...I actually don’t know many who would say that about knees and necks!

Hi Wizzy! I do to! It’s a challenge I always relish :)

Hi Trissa! It is already my undoing! I am totally undoing even as I type, hahaha! Agree on the gelatinous bits...I find them to be ace in anything stewy :)

Hi Junglefrog! Definitely worth it...though tough bits are usually the most flavourful ones, and they really deliver with a little love and patience :)

Hi Midge! Wow, I think I’d like to see your doctor, hehehe!

Hi Gary! Almost anything can make room for chorizo ;)

Hi Anh! Thanks! It literally means knee and neck...batoc means the back of the neck...the part that aches if you’ve had too much fatty food, heeheehee ;)

Hi Chef D! I love adding chorizo to punch up stews and sauces :) Hope you enjoy this month’s Yummy!

Hi Anne! Thanks :)

City Girl said...

That looks gorgeous! Am totally with you also, in not throwing anything away..! Lovely blog :) City Girl x

ChichaJo said...

Thanks City Girl :)