Casoeûla

 

Casoeûla is a dish so ancient that we have lost the meaning of its unusual name. It probably derives from ‘casseruola’, the kind of pot where it is slowly cooked during winter. The season is important, as the Savoy cabbages used in the recipe will be stressed by the first frosts of the year, and will therefore cook faster. The other main ingredient is pork. Every cut is fine, as casoeûla was invented specifically to make use of less noble cuts. The original recipe calls for an ear, the tail, ribs, rind, feet and a special kind of sweet sausage called verzino: our version is definitely lighter and more suited to modern tastes.

 

Ingredients

 

- 1 carrot

- 1 celery stalk

- 1 glass of white wine

- 1 kg polenta

- 1 onion

- 1 pig foot

- 2 kg Savoy cabbage

- 250 g pork rinds

- 50 g butter

- 500 g pork ribs

- 500 g verzino or luganega Any other pork sausage will do.

- Assorted pork cuts

- Pepper

- Salt

 

Preparation

 

Unless your butcher already prepared the rinds, thoroughly wash the foot and rinds, clean them with a stiff brush and burn the bristles off on an open flame – then wash it all again. Put these parts in a pot of cold water on a gentle flame, cover it and let it heat for about one hour to boil the fat off. Then drain, wash and dry the pieces with paper towels. They should be now de-fatted. Carefully wash the ribs, dry them and lightly fry them in a non-sticky pan with a bit of butter. When they are golden take them out, dry them with paper and set them aside. Pierce the sausages here and there with a fork so that they don’t burst while cooking, then run them in an unoiled pan until they are lightly fried in their own fat. You know the drill, so dry them and put them away with the ribs. Quarter the cabbage, remove the central stalk and slice it, keeping whole about two leaves per guest. Quickly cook it in a big pot with half a glass of water: you just want it to wither a little and get softer. When it is ready drain it and move on to the main part of the recipe.Wash and dice the carrot, celery and onion, then stir-fry them with the butter in a big pot (a copper or pottery one would be better). When the mirepoix is ready add the sausages and the wine; let the alcohol evaporate, then get the rest of the pork in the pot and cook until golden. This is the time to add the cabbage, cover the pot and let it cook for about ninety minutes, stirring from time to time.