Meaty Capellini Bolognese and Ma Joad Meets the Company Store

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“’Ever’body wants meat—needs meat. That hamburg is purty nice stuff. Use the grease that comes out a her for gravy. Purty nice. No waste. Don’t throw no bone away.’ ‘How—how much is side-meat?’ ‘Well, now you’re gettin’ into fancy stuff. Christmas stuff. Thanks-givin’ stuff. Thirty-five cents a poun’. I could sell you turkey cheaper, if I had some turkey.’ Ma sighed. ‘Give me two pounds hamburg.’ ‘Yes, ma’am.’ He scooped the pale meat on a piece of waxed paper. ‘An’ what else?’” From The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

Everything at the company store costs about 5 cents more than it does in town and of course, the company doesn’t pay you in money but in slips that you can only redeem at the company store.  And the meat that she buys “looks all full a fat an’ gristle.”  So it’s akin to mystery meat, which is why I never cook with “hamburger.” This is a good segue into introducing the meat that I used in my bolognese.  I defrosted the ground up chicken that I’d reserved for that purpose, but it didn’t look like enough to make a really meaty sauce, so I defrosted another ziplock of mystery meat.  I foolishly didn’t label it when I’d stashed it in there, so it was either pork or veal leftover from my British sausage making days.

Meaty Capellini Bolognese

About 2 cups of minced cooked chicken

About 1/2 lb of ground beef/veal/pork or whatever else you might have lying around (I don’t recommend Spam for this one)

2  jars of pasta sauce

3 cloves of garlic, pressed

1/2 onion minced

Basil and Oregano to taste

Olive oil to fry the onion

1 box of capellini  

Shredded Parmesan to taste (I was given a great imported Parmagiano Romano for my birthday, so I used that, but ordinarily I would have just used Kraft)

Saute the onions in a pan over medium heat, add the raw meat and brown it.  Add the garlic and herbs and stir in the cooked chicken.  Add the jars of sauce and simmer until the flavors are mixed in.  Boil the pasta according to the box’s al dente directions, drain the pasta, ladle some sauce over your pasta portion, and serve hot with Parmesan on top.

Again, this was an extremely inexpensive meal.  The mystery meat was already in my freezer, but 1/2 lb of any ground meat is not usually too expensive to acquire and the blending of flavors, whatever the second one was, was delicious.  Usually, I make my own tomato sauce with canned Romas, but this time I was feeling a little too tired and hungry to take all the time for that, so I bought some Prego.  I haven’t actually done a cost analysis of whether making sauce from jarred tomatoes is cheaper, I just don’t like the store bought sauces because they tend to be too sweet for my taste.  I certainly could have used a cheaper Parmesan, but it was delicious.

That’s a wrap on the original roasted chicken; I finally used it all up.



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Filed under Cheaper Cooking, Chicken, Cooking and Reading, Food, Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck, Leftover Chicken Recipes, Recipes, The Great Depression

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