Slow Cooked Ox Tail – Rabo De Toro

So, the damp weather was looking like it was going to continue, and my yearning for comfort food followed the same pattern.  I love casseroles and braised dishes with lots of sauce to be slurped up with a spoon or soaked up with bread or creamy mashed potato.  It was time to make something warm and comforting.  A hug in a casserole dish.

Hearty Winter Food

Oxtail used to be, I understand, a cheap and cheerful cut of meat to buy.  It needs long and slow cooking, so this probably influenced the price.  It now seems, from my recent visits to the UK, to be a bit of a “gastro pub” highlight and the price has correspondingly increased.  Even in Spain, where it´s sold as “Bull´s Tail” it´s no longer that cheap a cut of meat to buy.  But hey, sometimes you´re worth that little bit extra and it´s that delicious, it´s worth all the love and long cooking it needs.

I made a large pot of this delicious casserole which gave me 2-3 main portions plus enough meaty sauce left over to give me a further 2 hearty bowls of oxtail flavoured soup.

Here´s what you need:

  • 1 ox tail, cut into slices. Your butcher should do this, or it will come ready prepared.  Mine weighed about 1.2kg
  • 3 medium carrots, diced
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 medium courgettes, diced
  • 2 sticks of celery, diced
  • 3 fat cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 jar or tin of cannellini beans
  • 1 tin of tomatoes, crushed or chopped
  • 2 heaped teaspoons of tomato puree
  • 1 bottle of red wine, less a glass for the cook
  • 1 mug of water or stock (beef, chicken or vegetable)
  • Salt and pepper
  • Approx 2 tablespoons of plain flour
  • 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • A large, deep, ovenproof dish with a lid

 

Take One Ox Tail...

 

Chop. Chop

First prepare all your vegetables and put them to one side.  No need to keep them separate as they´ll be cooked together.

Now coat your pieces of ox tail in flour and after heating the olive oil in the ovenproof dish, brown them on all sides.  Don´t rush this part as, if you over crowd the pan, the meat will steam and not brown.  Put the ox tail to one side.

Start to brown...

In the same pan, and with the oil that remains, add the diced vegetables and make sure they all get coated in oil.  Put the lid on and let them sweat for about 5 minutes.

Turn your oven on low (about gas mark 2).

Put the meat back into the pot, add the beans, tomatoes and tomato puree, stir and bring it up to a simmer. 

Bring to a simmer

Now add the wine and water, season lightly (you can adjust this when the dish has finished cooking) and bring it to a simmer once more.

Put a lid on the pot, and the whole thing now goes into the oven where it will cook slowly for at least 4 hours. I like the sauce to thicken a little so it usually ends up cooking for 5-6 hours.  It won´t dry out, you have plenty of liquid in there.  Every couple of hours check on it and give it a stir.  If it does look like it´s getting too dry for your taste, add a mug of boiling water.

When the cooking time is up (and it´s a very forgiving dish), take it out and check for seasoning.  If it´s too liquid, simmer on the hob to reduce a little. You can eat it immediately if you wish, but it´s a dish which really does improve if left until the next day.  Leave to cool completely.  If you find your have a layer of fat on the top the next day, you can remove this before heating up and serving.

It looks like a lot of meat, but it´s nearly all bone.  How many it serves depends on how hungry you are and how much sauce, vegetables and potatoes you serve it with. Any leftover sauce and can be diluted slightly with stock or water and served as a filling soup another day.

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Onions and Rainbows – Onion Soup for a Rainy Day

That´ll Warm You Up!

We´ve had some amazing mild, sunny February weather, but yesterday things changed and the rains came down.  The temperature dropped and made me yearn for warming soups. I had bought a couple of kilos of red onions from a lady in the market a few days previously.  They were probably home grown as she had a wheelbarrow full of them and nothing more.  The onions were eye wateringly strong, as I had found out when I used some in a salad, so I thought that perhaps they would have a gentler flavour if cooked slowly in a chutney or soup.

Memories of a romantic week in Paris with Big Man reminded me of French Onion Soup. I went to the top of the Eiffel Tower for him, despite a severe dislike for heights.  After returning to ground level, pale, shaking and cold, we found a little bistro where we warmed ourselves up with Onion Soup and a bottle of red wine shared on one of those tiny Parisian Bistro tables which lend themselves to knees and hands touching over a romantic meal.

If you fancy a bowl of cockle warming Onion Soup, with or without the Gallic Romance, open yourself a bottle of white wine, pour yourself a glass and get ready to chop and cry.  For two, you´ll need:

  • Half a kilo (or more if you don´t mind chopping them) of onions, finely sliced.  French if you have them, but otherwise any nationality of onion – it doesn´t even need a French accent
  • Two tablespoons of olive oil
  • A thick slice of butter
  • A level teaspoon of sugar
  • Two heaped teaspoons of plain flour
  • 750mlof beef stock or chicken stock with  a teaspoon of marmite or Bovril (or you can use stock made with a beef stock cube)
  • A glass of dry white wine
  • Salt and pepper
  • A slug of brandy (optional)

It´s not a difficult dish to make.  It´s cheap too, but needs a bit of patience.  No rushing this one I´m afraid!

Cry Me A River...

First you´ll thinly slice those onions, then you´ll blow your nose, wipe your eyes and melt the butter with the oil in a large frying pan.  Add the onions, mix them around to coat them and turn the heat down to low.  These will now cook very gently until they start to caramelize but still remain soft. 

This can take at least half an hour, sometimes double that.  It just depends on the time of year and how much water the onions have.  Stir them with a wooden spoon from time to time and when they start to turn brown, sprinkle the sugar on top and keep cooking until they are dark brown.  This can take another 10-20 minutes. 

Starting to caramelise
Add flour and wine

Now sprinkle over the flour and cook gently while stirring for a minute. 

At this point you can add your wine and then your beef stock (if you have it, but it´s very hard to buy good beef, let alone find beef bones to make stock in Southern Spain).  I use chicken stock (if I have some made) otherwise water and a stock cube and I add a good teaspoon of marmite to give it a beefy taste.  I know it´s salty, but you haven´t seasoned yet, and depending on how much salt you like to use, you can leave this part of the seasoning out at the end.

Add stock and simmer

Today I used homemade chicken stock, and because our chickens are corn fed, my stock is very golden in colour.  This means that unless I add loads of marmite to darken it, it won´t be as dark as it usually turns out.  Too much marmite makes it super salty, so I live with golden coloured soup sometimes!

Simmer gently for about 15 minutes and you´re almost ready to serve.  Taste to check and add salt and pepper if you like.  If it´s a touch sweet from the caramelized onions, I find a sprinkle of salt and a slug extra of white wine usually balances the taste out.

If you like you can serve with little rounds of melted cheese on toast at the bottom of the soup bowl, or floated on the top, but what really gives it that extra warming hit is a small hit of brandy poured in just as you serve. Bon Appétit!

Just as I finished making my soup, the sun broke through the clouds and rain, and I had a beautiful rainbow to look at and brighten my day.  Lucky me, Onion Soup and a Rainbow – life can be full of the most unexpectedly lovely moments.

A Pot Of Golden Soup At The End Of My Rainbow

A Brush With The Law

There I was, back in Spain again.  I had settled dangerously quickly back into my life as a Cortijera (or country woman).  Visitors were coming and going once more.  That awful necessity called work was now a distant memory and no thought was currently being given as to what would happen next.

Well, apart from getting the provisions in, topping up the tan and the water level in the pool, and working on the ever so slightly less rusty Spanish.

Periana, my local village, was gearing up for something big.  I had gone into the village for water and provisions and was having a bit of a mooch around.  Actually, there’s not too much to do in Periana usually so I was doing all this very slowly. It was very hot too, and sudden rapid movements in the height of summer in Andalucía are generally not advisable.

After a few attempts at getting through the narrow streets in the car, requiring me to reverse a fairly long way not once, not twice, but three times to let people down the road, I eventually managed to get through the village and to park.  It still freaked me out, but I was starting to get used to the scary Spanish driving style I needed to adopt to fit in with the locals. 

Everything looked different. The narrow streets in the centre had been draped with awning – presumably to protect the fair people of Periana from the heat and not the rain.  The whole place was buzzing as trucks and stalls were manoeuvring around the main street and vying for prime positions in order to sell their goods and entice people to shoot a moving plastic duck for the chance of winning a fluffy toy.  Clearly great things were about to happen a few evenings later.  They were.  La Feria de Agosto de Periana.

Dolores felt that it was time for me to join in with the local celebrations.  After all, I was now a “frequent visitor”, and Ria was staying therefore it was necessary to provide entertainment to all honoured guests.  Arrangements were made to meet at the “best” restaurant in town – El Verdugo – on the big night.  Dolores and Paco were providing the transport and we were meeting our English Chums Jenny and Malcolm (or Hennifer y Marco as they are known here) at 9.30 for dinner to be followed by much merriment and dancing.

It’s a bit of a hairy drive from the Cortijo to Periana as it’s a single track, very twisty and unsurfaced road all the way.  If you meet another car you both have to squeeze past each other and hope that one of the cars does not end up sliding down into the olive groved valley below.  A night out with the gang in a convoy of cars earlier that summer led to an interesting on road encounter.  It was about 11:30pm and it was very dark.  We needed to drive up the hill to Periana and out the other side.  Paco was driving exceptionally slowly – I’m not sure if this was for my benefit, being a “foreign woman driver” and following him – with a couple of pauses to let people by or to squeeze by ourselves.  There are unwritten Spanish Rules of the Road , it was pitch dark, the road is one lane wide (and I use the word “road” very loosely here), and there is a sheer drop down the valley on the other side.  I’m sure you get the picture. 

At one point just outside Periana, Paco stopped again and then just didn’t seem to move.  We could see the other car which has been coming towards us and that didn’t seem to be moving either.  Dolores started to rant a bit and blamed Paco for blocking the road and started bipping the horn.  My horn, mind you, she was in my car with me to provide entertainment and in-journey commentary.  Paco then got out of his car and Dolores started screaming about the possibility of Paco being assaulted by bandits.  There then followed a bit of a heated debate, a lot of hand waving – Paco’s – and eventually the other car backed up.  We slowly manoeuvred around it and as we started to pull past the other car, Dolores started making “very relieved” noises.  She told me that she now understood why there had been a delay and that there was no need to worry.  The reason the other car had had problems was because the driver was blind. 

“Blind?” I asked. 

“Yes” she told me, “the old guy in the car has terrible cataracts and the operation to fix them didn’t work so he only goes out in his car at night now as he can see the headlights of the other cars”. 

Well, that was alright then. 

Anyway, there we were on our way to the Fiesta.  Everyone was scrubbed up and wearing their glad rags and Paco insisted on parking practically on the main stage, so that we would be close to where the action was going to take place.  The restaurant was crowded but Dolores soon started shifting tables and chairs and we ordered some wine while we awaited the arrival of Henny and Marco.  Ria and I caused a little consternation by asking for wine and  a bottle of water – not tinto de verano which is red wine and lemonade.  Drinking red wine alone is considered kind of “fast” around here, but apparently also having a glass of water with the wine was a sure fire way of causing terrible stomach ache.  We decided to run the risk despite Dolores’ warnings.

Concern started to grow for our fellow Brits when 9:30 then 10:00 came and went.  Are the British not well known for their punctuality?  Clearly something terrible had happened and we all ought to be seriously worried.  Eventually a call came from Hennifer which only served to concern the group more – an emergency had arisen but they would be with us shortly.  Eventually we decided to order food and around 11:00pm they arrived.  What could it possibly have been that had delayed them – death, illness, car trouble?  No, it was sewage. Vast quantities apparently, coming the wrong way out of a toilet.  Fortunately Fermin the only plumber in Periana was lurking around the restaurant and his services were secured for the next day.  Particularly amazing as it would be the morning after the Fiesta, and a Sunday too. 

Conversation turned to the single status of Maria and Ria and Paco wanted to know what sort of man they should be looking out for me. 

“Well, “I told them “a few days previously when I ventured into Periana I passed a most good looking man in the street.  He was tall, good looking, grey haired and a policeman.”  Not sure what it is about me, but clearly I have a secret penchant for men in uniform – I have decided not to fight it.  Dolores was pleased to have something to work with and dinner resumed.

Meanwhile, another subplot was unravelling at the bar.  Dolores started to do her “secret” sign.  This involved winking very indiscreetly, pointing at her eye and jerking her head in the direction in which you are supposed to look.  All very melodramatic and something which I took to doing when talking to her in imitation.  Fortunately Dolores thought that I had just picked up an Andalucían gesture and did not realise that I was gently taking the mickey.  Which only caused us both to do this even more.  While we were both jabbing ourselves in the eye and winking like demented perverts I gathered that we were supposed to be looking at two of the many men at the bar.  One of them was believed to be a “friend” of Hennifer and Malcolm (although I later found out that he was no friend of theirs) and a highly suspect individual in Dolores’ eyes.  Dolores had taken against him because he had a reputation for entertaining a succession of women in his house and made frequent trips to Morocco.  Clearly a Drugs Baron.  She seemed to think that he and his friend (an artist, we were told) had been told by Henny that Ria and I would be there and were lurking in the hope of an introduction.  She was right.

Dolores was quite correct in her character assessment – I didn’t have any proof about the drug running but the man was clearly an idiot.  Drinking his Sol y Sombra (brandy and Anis) he was trying to look like a local and to impress Ria and I with the fact that he and his friends were both artists.  The word Piss sprang to mind.  When we eventually established that he was a failed Fleet Street photographer who hadn’t worked since 1987 (and who knows what “art” he dodgy mate specialised in) we made it clear to them that we were very under whelmed and they ambled off in search of younger, firmer flesh. Dolores quickly resumed they eye jabbing, winking manoeuvre which was her sign that something interesting was up.  I assumed this was to indicate relief in the departure of the suspected Drugs Baron and realised far too late that this was because the police had walked into the restaurant.

Two Policia Local (blue uniform) and two Guardia Civil (green uniform).  Of course, one of them (blue) was tall, good looking and grey haired.  I quickly began to regret my earlier revelations, and with good cause. 

Very concerned that the object of the attention of the whole of our table was unknown to anyone (including Dolores who knows all but about 3 people in Periana and they, quite frankly, are probably not worth knowing), Dolores summoned him over.  Although he was on his way for his dinner, Dolores is not someone who can be ignored and she soon established that his name was Cristobal Colon, which I believe translates into something like Christopher Columbus, so make of that what you will, he lived outside of Periana (aha, that’s why he was an “unknown”) but marital status was, frustratingly, unknown.

The wine flowed, the water less quickly, and a good time was being had by all.  Dolores was “working” the room and soon Ria and I were dragged forcibly from our chairs, which was quite a relief in all honesty as they were wooden affairs which looked as though they were used for witch ducking and were incredibly uncomfortable.  Unwittingly, like lambs to the slaughter, we followed her to the back of the restaurant where the four policemen were trying to eat their meal.  I have to say, there are no curly sandwiches and cups of cold tea for the Spanish police. Plates of deep fried fish, casseroled loin of pork, salad and a huge jug of tinto de verano were all laid out on the table. 

“Ladies,” she said, “I want to introduce you to my very good friends.”  And, despite the fact that she had only met one of them about 10 minutes previously, she proceeded to do exactly that.  She added, in with our names, the fact that we were both “soltera”.  Sad, single, middle- aged women in other words.  Ria was trying to make a break for the toilets but Dolores had a firm grip on her wrist and there was no way to escape short of dragging Dolores with her.  They had been told that I spoke Spanish so I tried to make a joke about drinking on the job, which clearly went right over their heads.  Cringe, cringe, cringe.  Gorgeous Cris (as we will call him from now on) was still giving nothing away about the wife and family he probably has tucked away, far from the prying eyes of the Perianans.

I thought the embarrassment factor had reached its optimum level as we walked away, but no – there was still more to come.  As I went up to the bar to pay my share of the bill, I was grabbed by the formidable Dolores once more, only to be faced with Cris writing out the phone number of the police station for me in his little notebook.  He told me, rather unwillingly it seemed, that Dolores had thought it would be a good idea for me to have it in case of “trouble”.  Bear in mind that people in Periana generally don’t lock their doors, let alone their cars, this was a highly unfeasible possibility.  I thanked him politely and said that I thought trouble was probably unlikely to happen in my neck of the woods.  He agreed, but promised Dolores, reluctantly, to keep an eye on things.  And that was it.  Well, apart from the police standing behind us during the dancing and merriment part of the evening (drinking tinto de verano of course) and Dolores going into overdrive with the winking and jabbing.

Unbelievably, or perhaps fortunately, I never saw the man himself again.  His colleagues, of course, I bumped into several times.  They all said hello to me but it was not clear if this was out of pity, politeness or fear.  I did consider calling the police but was not sure if the loss of my voice, memory or car keys would constitute a genuine emergency around these parts.  God bless the boys in blue!

Just call me Lady Marmalade

Felix´s Oranges and Their Wonderful Marmalade

Sunshine in Winter

February normally brings cold and rain here.  What it also brings is trees heavy with beautiful, juicy oranges.  Now, those lovely bitter Seville Oranges do exist.  You see them lining the streets of that stunning city and pretty much every other city in Andalucía.  What happens next is that they get picked and sent off to England where excited cooks turn them into delicious marmalade.  We can´t buy them here!

Fortunately, our lovely friend Felix the Baker, grows oranges, lemons and avocadoes behind the old flour mill.  He grows so many that he´s always giving them away.  Luckily for me, I´m one of the lucky recipients and February oranges mean Orange Marmalade.  I don´t think my recipe is any different from standard ones.  How it turns out depends on how juicy the oranges are, how much pith (and therefore pectin, which is what makes the marmalade set) they have, how much “shred” you want to have or if you prefer a “jelly”.

What you´ll need if you want to give it a go

  • For every kilo (or just over) of oranges, two kilos of sugar and 2.25 litres of water
  • The biggest, heavy based, saucepan you have
  • A wooden spoon
  • A large square of muslin (or a clean, large, cotton handkerchief)
  • String (not coloured, or you´ll end up with rainbow coloured marmalade!)
  • About 6 regular sized jams jars and lids per kilo of oranges

Making marmalade is a labour of love if you are going to do it by hand.  Even if you take a short cut and mince the peel in the food processor, you´ll only cut the time down by a little.  I made marmalade with 2 kilos of oranges, and on and off it took me the whole day.  The rewards?  My house smelt wonderful, and still does the next day, and 11 jars of delicious homemade, organic orange marmalade.

You´ll start by washing and drying the oranges, cutting them in half and juicing them.  If you have a gadget to help you do this, so much the better. The juice goes into your super size pot. Any pips or pith that start to clog up the juicer will go onto your square of muslin, or piece of cloth.  It´s a good idea to line a sieve with the cloth and rest it over a bowl to catch any precious juice that may still drip out.

It will be worth the effort!

The half shells are now cut into four slices, for ease of handling, and with a sharp knife (I use a small serrated one) you need to cut away more of the pith that remains.  This is done rather like cutting melon flesh from the skin.  The pith also goes onto the cloth.  Don´t worry too much if you can´t pare it right back as any pith that still remains on the skin will boil away, whilst doing it´s magic, with the skin.  The oranges I used had lots of pith, so I saved half and will use it to make an orange jelly later in the week.

The orange skins now need to be cut into shreds.  How thick or thin is down to you. One year I did this in the food processor, which leaves you with small chunks rather than shreds, but the taste was still wonderful. This year I patiently sliced, and sliced…and then sliced some more to end up with beautifully thin shreds of orange.  You can relax a little now as the hardest part is over.  You may find that getting to this stage takes you a few hours.  Ignore cookery books that tell you it takes 45 minutes.  All lies!

Now, take the cloth square and tie it up.  I usually leave the string quite long, put the bag into the pot and then tie the other end of the string to the pot handle.  This helps you to press on it gently now and then to remove the pectin which will be forming, and then to remove the bag easily at the end.

The Magic Begins…

Put the shreds of orange and your water in to the pot and bring to a simmer.  You will leave this simmering for about 2 hours, pressing the cloth bag occasionally with a wooden spoon whilst enjoying the wonderful smell that fills your house.

Once the two hours are up and you´ve recovered from all that juicing and shredding, it´s time to start boiling.  Remove the bag from the pot, put it into a bowl to cool down a little and when you can handle it comfortably (I recommend rubber gloves for this) squeeze it as dry as possible, putting all the juice that comes out into your pot.

At this point, put a couple of saucers in the freezer…all will be explained.

Add your sugar to the pot and gently dissolve it. You need to think now about sterilizing your jam jars.  At this point I normally put them into my dishwasher with the lids.  Otherwise you need to wash them in hot soapy water, rinse them and put them, upside down, into a very low oven.

Back to the marmalade. Once no sugar crystals remain, turn the heat up and get that jam boiling.  This is why you now understand the rationale behind such a huge pot.  When jam boils fast, it rises, so you do need to keep an eye on it.  I let mine boil over yesterday which meant taking it off the heat, cleaning the caramelized jam off the stove, and losing about a jar of marmalade.  Damn!  Real life cooking.  If you have a sugar thermometer, check that the jam has reached the correct temperature (which I´ve just checked and it´s 105°C or 220°F).  Fear not if you don´t have a thermometer.  I didn´t until earlier this year, and it´s never been a great problem.  Boil the jam until it starts to rise (the froth will look white) and keep it at a boil for a few minutes, lower the heat and put a teaspoon full (be careful, boiling jam really does hurt) onto one of those saucers you put into the freezer.  Leave it to cool for a minute then push the jam gently with your finger and the surface should wrinkle – that´s setting point.

If it´s not ready, then boil for another five minutes and repeat. Getting to this point can take about 45 minutes, it depends on the quantity you´re making.  I´d recommend doing the saucer test even if you have a jam thermometer.  I, being an impatient sort of person, didn´t do this when I made my most recent batch of marmalade, and had to unpot and reboil it the next morning as the marmalade had not set and the shreds of orange had all floated to the top of the jars leaving me with pots half full of jelly and half full of marmalade.  Lesson learnt.

Once the marmalade has reached setting point, remove from the heat and leave to stand for about 20 minutes.  If there is any scum remaining, skim it off.  Take your jam jars out of the dishwasher or oven, they should still be warm, and get ready to fill them.  I find it easiest to ladle the marmalade into a large jug and then pour into the jars.  If you have a waxed disk to put onto the surface of the marmalade before screwing the lid on tightly, then fine.  If not, don´t worry!  Make sure those lids are tight and as the marmalade cools down, a seal will be formed and you can keep that marmalade (if you can resist) until you make next year´s batch.

If you want to label the jars, and why wouldn´t you, wait until the next day when they have cooled down.  Right, I´m off to see Felix and give him a jar of marmalade.

Chicken with Mushrooms and Artichokes

Once you´ve planted a couple of artichoke plants, they seem to last for a couple of years.  As long as you keep cutting the “fruit”, more keep on growing.  A couple of weeks ago we cut more than we needed, so stop them from getting too big and tough and a peeled off the outer leaves to reveal the hearts, blanched them in water with lemon juice to stop them turning black and then froze what we didn´t use.

As we now have more artichokes blooming, I thought I should use up the batch from the freezer (although a tin of artichoke hearts would do just as well).  I also had some chicken breasts which would go well with the artichokes in a lovely dish with a thick sauce.  Neither Big Man nor I are huge fans of the chicken breast, but when you rear your own chickens for eating, you´re always going to have them!

Ingredients for this dish for two are

  • One large or two small chicken breasts, cut into small cubes
  • A tin of artichoke hearts or about 8 fresh ones (prepared as above), sliced into quarters
  • Half a dozen medium sized mushrooms, thickly sliced
  • Two fat cloves of garlic, thickly sliced
  • Two cloves, ground (or about a quarter of a teaspoon of ground cloves) with about 5 peppercorns (or use half a dozen twists of freshly ground black pepper)
  • Half a teaspoon of paprika
  • A pinch of saffron soaked in a tablespoon of water (if you have a packet of paella spices, you can use half a packet in place of the cloves, pepper, paprika and saffron)
  • Two thick slices of day old bread, crumbled roughly
  • A bay leaf
  • A sprig of thyme (optional)
  • Salt
  • Olive oil
  • Water
  • A glass of white wine (optional) plus one for drinking while cooking (not optional in my kitchen)

Start by lightly browning the chicken in a little olive oil in a deep frying pan or a wide saucepan.  Then add the garlic, artichokes and mushrooms and fry gently until the mushrooms and artichokes start to brown.

Browning Nicely

Add the spices and herbs and season with a little salt.  Pour over the wine and enough water to comfortably cover everything and simmer, without a lid, for about 15 minutes. 

When the liquid has reduced by about half, but is still watery, remove the herbs and then add the bread crumbs, stirring as you do this.  You will simmer this for another 5 minutes stirring a couple of times.  The sauce will come together and will look smoother, with some texture from the bread after a couple of minutes.  You want to end up with a sauce roughly the texture of a thick gravy.  If it looks too runny near the end of cooking, add another half a slice of bread.  If it´s too liquid, just simmer until it gets to the consistency you want – it´s down to you! Check and adjust the seasoning, and you´re ready.

This can be prepared ahead and reheated, and takes about 40 minutes to prepare from scratch.

Looking Rustic

Delicious served either as a “spoon dish” (as they call dishes the consistency of stew which are served in bowls and eaten, as expected, with a spoon) if you prefer the sauce more liquid with bread and a side salad or with some green beans,  mashed potato or rice.