Thursday, December 2, 2010

Scottiglia... A Tuscan Tradition

I want to share with you a new tradition that I just read about. It is a Tuscan Tradition. One in which everyone gathers around a big camp fire and brings with them whatever they have in their house. Whether it's the butt of a ham, some fresh green beans, or a head of cabbage. Everyone is invited to bring one thing along with them.

The hosts brings out a large pot and the neighbors and friends pour their luscious food items into the cauldron. The neighborhood shares what they little they may have and together they make a feast from small morsels.

This tradition is called a veglia and the stew that is created is called the Scottiglia. (Yeah, my honey loved the name!) It is unique and delicious each time. It is about sharing what you have even in the most humbling of circumstances and sharing it with your friends to create a feast. For me it is a lesson in sharing what you have, even if it's hardly anything, and together creating something abundant. It is a tradition that started in early farming times to unite a community and share in hard times. What a great concept... Sharing what you have, even if it isn't much.. to create something bigger and better!

The Scotiglia is usually made with about 1 pound of different meat cuts-- usually the cheaper variety such as pork, pigeon, guinea fowl, etc. However, you can make it with any kind of meat you have lying around. It also calls for some tomato, Tuscan herbs, onion, garlic, and usually white wine (although we prefer to drink ours and used chicken broth instead). It is usually made in an earthenware pot and cooked over embers. This sounds a little complicated so we just used our stove!
And bread... you must have bread. Come on it's a Tuscan tradition. There is always bread. I happened to have some left over Beer Bread which was delicious. Find that recipe by visiting my Beer Bread entry. It would also taste amazing with some fresh garlic bread as well!
We made our first Scottiglia last tonight. The inspiration came from some left over turkey and an onion.
 Then we scrounged up some carrots, peas, garlic, chicken broth, and tomato paste and threw it all in a big pot. From that we came up with a healthy and delicious scottiglia (if I don't say so myself).
It was hearty, healthy, and delicious. We felt like real Tuscans (or Montanans really). With a glass of red wine and the wood stove burning bright, it was the perfect meal to share with each other.

I hope you gather your family and friends and create your own traditions. Why not do a big pot of Scottiglia and make your own Veglia tradition!

Our First Scottiglia 

1 tbsp. olive oil
3 stalks of carrots; chopped
1/2 white onion; diced
2 cups cooked white meat turkey (or whatever meat you have lying around)
4 cups of chicken broth
1/2 can (or 6 ounces) of tomato paste
4 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon sage
1 tablespoon rosemary
1 tsp. seasonal salt
1 tbsp. Italian Seasonings
2 tsp. chicken rub (your favorite)
1 tbsp. fresh ground pepper
1 (15 ounce) can peas

1. In a large pot heat the olive oil and add the carrots and onions until the onions have blonded. Then add the turkey (or whatever meat you decided), chicken broth, tomato paste, garlic, sage, rosemary, salt, chicken rub, and pepper. 

2. Simmer for an hour or up to three. In the last 20 minutes of cooking add the peas and allow to simmer. Then spoon into big bowls and enjoy with hot bread and olive oil for dipping! 

Servings: 5

Nutritional Skinny:

165 calories / 3.4 g fat / 22 g carbohydrates / 6 g fiber / 11.5 g protein

Mental Health Benefit: This stew is loaded with fiber, protein, and tons of vegetables. You can't get anything healthier than this! And it is so easy to make so you don't have to drive yourself crazy finding the right ingredients at the grocery store and then spending hours in the kitchen. We literally whipped this up in 15 minutes and then sat down to relax while it bubbled happily by itself on the stove. When we were ready to eat, so was it! Plus it's low in calories due to the white turkey meat and fat free chicken broth we used. 
I hope you enjoy this and other holiday traditions... Stay tuned for more healthy traditions and recipe ideas for this holiday season!


Cris said...

Glad you and "Honey" made it home safely. I hope you both had a good time and it was wonderful to see you and get to meet Scott. Got your text, Jon got his too! love and miss you.

Hot Mess Cooking said...

It was great to see you too and I am so glad that we got to spend some time with you. We got home in one piece and had a blast! Miss you too!