Especially during the Tuscan winter we eat soups and meaty stews, nutritious dishes to be consumed warm, usually with some polenta or potatoes on the side. The soups, apart from the famous, vegetable-rich zuppa toscana and ribollita, are made with legumes and flour.
Scottiglia is a typical dish from the Tuscan countryside and sits halfway between a stew and a soup. It is known as the 'cacciucco di carne', meaning that, as with the Livornese cacciucco (fish stew), it uses various meats and includes tomatoes. And just as the cacciucco alla Livornese makes use of the unsold fish of the day, this cacciucco of the earth uses the less prized, less expensive cuts of meat, cuts which came from animals slaughtered that very day but which did not manage to sell in the market.
Scottiglia is therefore a recipe from the cucina degli avanzi (scraps cuisine) and the 'waste not want not' principle that defines peasant cuisine, not just Tuscan cooking.
Preparing scottiglia requires a bit of patience, because the meat has to cook for a while. Traditionally it would be made in terracotta pan.
Put the oil in the pan on a medium heat. Fry the vegetables and bay leaf for a few minutes, and allow them to sweat.
Add the meat: the pieces with bones should be put in whole, and the pieces without should be in not-too-small cubes. Fry the meat on a high flame and let it brown a little, turning it over two or three times for 10-15 minutes.
Simmer the meat with the wine, letting it evaporate.
Lower the heat and add the tomatoes, salt and pepper, then cover the pan and cook on a low flame for about two hours.
Serve the scottiglia on a plate with two or three pieces of toasted bread, rubbed, according to preference, with a clove of garlic.