Normally, our family’s Media Noche (the traditional New Year’s Eve feast) is much simpler than the spread we have on Christmas Eve. Paella remains a constant, as do both ham and cheese. This year, however, given the fact that there were ten ribs and copious amounts of meat left from our Christmas roast, we were seriously running out of fridge and freezer space (Lord only knows how many fruitcakes, boxes of small pies, tarts, and cookies were sent our way this season!).
My mother, I should state here, is a seriously inventive person who will give you the sharper end of her tongue if she hears anyone say that we ought to just trash the remains of the roast. Indeed, from the leftovers of our Christmas dinner, we ended up with not one, but two dishes for the New Year!
The ten meaty rib-chops found their way into my mother’s stewpot where they were simmered for close to two hours in an unctuous, fragrant tomato sauce flavored with bay, basil, oregano, rosemary, onions, and garlic. Scarlet capsicums [bell peppers] were cut into slivers and thrown into the pot, together with a fat chorizo de Bilbao heady with paprika and black peppercorns. Once the sauce reduced to a thick, flavorful sludge, the meat practically fell off the ribs. It would have made good eating right then and there, but Mom placed the ribs in a baking dish, poured the sauce over them, scattered copious amounts of mozzarella and Parmesan over the whole thing, then popped it in the oven to bake for an additional hour. The resulting casserole was incredibly rich and went down a treat with plain white rice.
There were a lot of scraps left over from the roast, so these were sauteed with more onion and garlic and used to flavor a creamy tomato sauce we poured over hot penne rigate pasta. Sprinkling on more Parmesan seemed like a sacrilege as the sauce was magnificent and could stand well alone without further embellishment.
Dad popped a bottle of excellent champagne open to go with the meal and I threw in a lovely pain aux noix (walnut bread) from Alexandre plus some Camembert and Brie to kick-start the meal. Needless to say that a scrumptious time was had by all. 😉