I occasionally visit our nearby “Oreos”, AKA Belted Galloway Cows, on my drives around the Brandywine Valley. The prize winning herd is a local attraction and their owner proudly displays their many awards along the fenceline of the field where they graze. We affectionately call them “oreos” because the white band around their middles bisects their black hides like an Oreo cookie sandwich. They are actually a rare breed and the only herd in Delaware. While Galloways are normally raised for their marbled beef, this herd’s primary purpose is to adorn their pasture and wow passerbys with their striking appearance. Normally, I just cruise by, enjoying the sight of them grazing in their field. This day I was on my way to the winter farmers market in nearby Centreville DE as snowflakes floated gracefully, starting to cover the ground.
With the snow falling and no one about, I felt adventurous. So I parked the car along the side of the road and went for a stroll.
The snowflakes stung my face but it didn’t matter. It was exhilarating to have the scene all to myself while everyone else was at home enjoying a warm crackling fire. As I walked, the falling snow muffled the usual sounds and the landscape was still. Off to the right I could see a dark swatch where I hadn’t known there was a road. A gently swelling incline revealed a hidden copse of trees. It was totally silent.
The cows eyed me as I neared the field. The male in particular seemed to take exception to my visit with his herd. He stared. Then he started to approach. The others followed. This was not what I had bargained for. They were scarily larger close up than when viewed from the car. But I held my ground long enough to snap a few photos before retreating to the side of the road. Satisfied that he had defended the herd, the male dropped his advance and resumed chomping on the blades of grass still sticking up among the snow.
Just as I turned away, a red pickup emerged on the crest of the field and slowed to a stop among the cows. A young man dressed in heavy winter garb got out and climbed into the truck’s bed. The cows surrounded his vehicle and jostled each other as he tossed out mounds of hay. After he had emptied the truck he paused to watch the cows eat with a look of satisfaction. Today they would weather the snowstorm in fine style.
For my part, I was relieved to reach the warmth of my car and continued on to the farmers market. My outdoor adventure had prompted the appetite for something warm and substantial. I was lucky to find a prepared bolognese sauce from one of the vendors and headed home.
When I have the time I prefer to make my own bolognese sauce. Enjoy with a warm fire.
Bolognese-style Pasta Sauce
This preparation is more delicate than typical Bolognese meat sauces
2 28-oz cans Italian plum tomatoes, San Marzano is best
3 tbs extra-virgin olive oil
1 small yellow onion, minced
1 medium carrot, grated
¼ lb crimini or button mushroom, chopped
1 lb ground pork and veal (meat loaf mix)
4 slices pancetta, diced
2 tbs tomato paste
1 tbs sugar
2 tbs heavy cream
2/3 cup red wine
2 cups chicken broth
¼ loosely packed fresh basil, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
Dried or fresh fettuccini or other long pasta
Puree tomatoes and set aside. Heat oil in a large heavy pot. Fry the pancetta and set aside. Add onions and carrots. Cook over low-medium heat till onions are golden. Increase heat and add mushrooms, cooking for 5 minutes. Add ground meat. Brown for 8-10 minutes. Combine tomato paste with the wine and add to meat mixture along with the chicken broth, stirring till absorbed. Reduce heat to low-medium, add cream, season with salt and pepper and gently simmer uncovered for 40 minutes. Add basil at the end. Serve over pasta, adding Parmesan cheese to taste.