Solstice celebration centerpiece dish
Every year my family and our friends get together for a gigantic orgy of food preparation and bonfire building to celebrate winter solstice. It's extremely casual, potluck-style, but we always have one main centerpiece dish. The past few years we've had lamb curry, lobster chowder, and Tunisian rubbed roast turkey, but this year we seem to be a little stuck for inspiration...does anyone have any intensely flavorful, meat-based wows up their sleeves? Thanks hounds!
Bigos, a traditional Polish dish (pronounced “bee-goash – long “o,” at least by my parents, who got this recipe from a visiting professor from Poland). It is very hearty and intensely flavorful (although you will find the sauerkraut mellows a lot during cooking). Makes a big batch and is best when cooked ahead and reheated, so might work well for your celebration. Wikipedia says it is usually eaten with rye bread and potatoes, although we serve it over noodles.
6 large T-sliced mushrooms
3 lbs. fresh sauerkraut (I sometimes use less. I get it in a 2 lb. bag)
4 ozs. 1/2" cubed salt pork
1/2 bottle of dry red wine
l can tomato paste mixed with 1 T. Hungarian paprika and 1/4 t. red pepper
3 garlic cloves finely chopped
1 bay leaf
1 lb. Hungarian or Polish sausage (1/2" cubes)
1/2 c. Vodka
2 T. butter
1 T. olive oil
1 lb. beef chuck (3/4" cubes)
1 lb. ham (3/4" cubes)
1 t. caraway seeds
Rinse sauerkraut in a colander. Drain and squeeze dry.
Blanche salt pork in boiling water 5 min. and rinse under cold water. Combine mushrooms, sauerkraut, salt pork, wine, tomato paste, paprika, red pepper, garlic and bay leaf in a heavy pan and simmer 2 hrs.
Saute sausage to remove grease and transfer to above mixture.
Add Vodka and carefully ignite. When flame goes out, simmer 10 min.
Brown beef in butter and oil and add to above mixture.
Lightly heat ham with caraway seeds and add to above mixture.
Simmer mixture covered for 2 1/2 hrs. @ 300 degrees.
Serve reheated 24 hrs. later with sour cream accompaniment.
you all are obviously open-minded eaters, so i would say that with a chill in the air and bonfires et al, a cassoulet is quite the celebratory comfort food.
i just this week made a big batch of epicurious.com's Short cut Pork Cassoulet and it was SOOOPER. fyi, i did add more wine and toma. i wish you were next door; you could come over and taste for yourself(i'm near boston)!