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How to make Bresaola…

by

“An Italian classic… truly is a celebration of beef…”

How to make Bresaola… Recipe

Paul recommends the cut of beef from the top of the hindquarter of the animal...

"Silverside and topside work very well. In some places, such as the United States, these may form part of a larger cut referred to as the ‘round’ steak. This is a reasonably lean cut of beef, typically with a good amount of flavour.
A very thin strip of meat will tend to become very dry and chewy so choose a good-sized, thick joint that will retain some tenderness during curing and drying. Trim off any excess fat from around the edges; it is less likely to develop rancidity than pork fat but it is harder and it is unlikely to enhance the mouthfeel of the Bresaola”.

Paul also suggests that “The spice mixture can be enhanced with ¼ teaspoon of star anise seeds which, while not traditional, marries beautifully with the flavour of beef. Do not be afraid to experiment with your own unique spice mixture, but keep a note of it; discovering the perfect blend can lead to frustration if you cannot later recall the spices used”

Ingredients

  • Beef topside, silverside or round, 1.5kg/3lb 3oz
  • 50ml/2fl oz red wine
  • Curing Salt #2, 2.5g/1/16 oz per 1 kg/2.2lb of meat, optional (this must be measured accurately for the exact quantity of meat being used; always follow the manufacturer's instructions)
  • 40g/1½oz pure dried vacuum (PDV) salt
  • 2.5ml/½ tsp ground black pepper
  • 1.5ml/¼ tsp chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1.5ml/¼ tsp dried thyme or oregano
  • 1.5ml/¼ tsp dried juniper berries, crushed
  • 2.5ml/½ tsp ground nutmeg
  • Large fibrous or natural salami casing

Method

  1. Using a sharp knife, trim any scraps of meat from the outside of the beef as these can become quite tough during curing. Also remove any outer layers of fat. Weigh the trimmed joint of beef and record the weight. You will need this to calculate the quantity of curing salts but also the moisture loss during drying.
  2. Place the beef into a plastic zip-lock or vacuum-pack bag and pour in the red wine. Leave it in the refrigerator at 3–5°C/37–41°F overnight. The following day, open the bag and discard the wine.
  3. Measure out the curing salt accurately for the exact quantity of meat being used and mix it with the PDV salt. Add the pepper, rosemary, thyme or oregano, juniper berries and nutmeg. Pour the cure ingredients into the bag, coating the meat as evenly as possible.
  4. Seal the bag and place it in the refrigerator at 3–5°C/37–41°F for 14 days, turning the beef in the bag every other day to redistribute the cure. After 2 weeks, remove the meat from the bag. It should look darker and will feel firmer. Rinse off the excess cure, and pat dry with kitchen paper.
  5. The beef is then packed into a fibrous or large natural casing that is just big enough to hold it and which has been soaked for at least half an hour ahead of stuffing. If it is difficult to fill the casing, rub the outside of the meat with a little olive oil. Working slowly, carefully ease the beef in, squeezing all the air out of the casing. Tie the end with butcher’s string. A butcher’s net can be tied around the outside, principally to help to maintain its shape as it dries but it also adds to the visual appeal of the hanging meat.
  6. Hang the bresaola to dry in a meat safe or in a cool larder until it loses 35–40% of its weight. This may take several months depending on the size of the cut of beef. The temperature should be maintained steadily at 10–12°C/50–54°F with humidity around 80%. Too low a humidity in the early stages will cause the outside of the meat to harden, preventing the core from drying properly.

To Serve

Cut off the netting and score the casing with a sharp knife, peeling it back as far as you intend to slice. Slice very finely either with a carving knife or a meat slicer. The cut face should be protected with a strip of clingfilm or food wrap to prevent it from drying out.

If several days pass since the bresaola was last carved, discard the first slice which is likely to have dried out. Wrap the remaining bresaola in greaseproof paper to prevent it from drying out and to protect the surface from contamination.

Further Information

Home Charcuterie by Paul Thomas
Book Review by Henrietta Green

Home Charcuterie by Paul ThomasPaul, an experienced Health & Safety Consultant, is also a Cheese Expert and regular contributor to Fine Food Digest. Over the years, his fascination for Charcuterie has grown and his latest book Home Charcuterie is a comprehensive manual on making Charcuterie. As he writes, “Charcuterie production and cheesemaking share something in common: both contain elements of science wrapped up in a coat of magic”.

Magic notwithstanding, Paul Thomas is strong on guidance as how to cure safely as well as imaginatively. There are chapters on the main food safety hazards – how to avoid them; special equipment – novices needn’t worry, you don’t need much; and explanations of essential ingredients – “proper” curing salts or which casings for which Charcuterie you’re about to make.

As well as clear, concise stage by stage recipes for such favourites as Coppa, Salami, Nduja, Salt Beef, Pastrami, Jerky and Bresaola (see example above), there are instructions on various techniques for making your own from home-cured bacon to air-dried ham. There’s also a useful glossary – hands up who knew what are bioprotective cultures – plus a handy list of suppliers.

Having judged the National Lincolnshire Chine Championship a couple of years ago, I was delighted to find a recipe for it. I tried it and it worked….tasted good and looked pretty professional.  Whether it would have scored in the competition, who knows?  But I was pleased with my first attempt at making Lincolnshire Chine.

Credit: Recipe & all associated images With Copyright Owner Permission of the publisher Lorenz Books

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