Pastrami On Rye

I’m so heinously behind on posting- there’s just too much other work in the studio and garden (I’m redoing the herb garden right now, to make it extra elegant and much lower maintenance) and I can’t seem to deal with the computer a whole lot. But, since I did recently write the Reuben thing for TNS, here’s a follow-up that shows the final destination of that glorious, smoky hunk o’ cow after some parts were gifted away and other parts were made into epic sammiches. Forgive the redundant picture, but I can’t see this too many times:

Back in the winter, when I first seized on the homemade Reuben idea, I also began pondering other interesting uses for pastrami. Since pastrami is smoked, strongly flavored, and a little spicy from the pepper, it’s kind of like a big whole-muscle sausage (oh, stop giggling.) So I cut up the heel of it and slow-cooked it with our own mirepoix (still some left from last summer, and all of the components are now planted for this year) wine, grilled chicken broth (grilled chicken to be revealed shortly) and canned tomatoes for several hours until all married and reduced and divine.

While it was simmering, I mixed rye and white flours- both local- with a couple of eggs and made a pasta dough. After a rest (for the dough and for me) I rolled it out into fettucine and dropped them into boiling water. Once the pasta was done, I tossed it into the bubbling sauce and tossed it all together, then served it up with a perfect salad of both wild and domestic greens on the side. Now the rye-ness was not super-evident; next time I will grind a little caraway into the dough to underscore the point. But hoo boy does pastrami behave like sausage in a nice ragù. It was just fantastic; the only thing I’d do differently would be to cook it for twice as long and then push it through a food mill to make it completely disintegrated so every bite had the same perfect blend of flavors. I am so making more pastrami in the near future. We had this with a lovely rosé, but I can’t remember which.

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Yours Truly



I'm a painter who happens to also spend a lot of time growing, making, and writing about food. I'm particularly interested in the intersection of frugal peasant cooking techniques and haute improvisation. And I have a really great personality.

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