The Art of Cookery: Boiled meats - Italian Boiled meats from Tuscan Cooking.

The Art of Cookery - Traditional italian recipes & wines from florentine and tuscan cookingItalian Food RecipesTraditional Florentine, Tuscan and Italian Recipes & Wines


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Lesso
(Boiled meats)
  • Preparation time: 15 minutes.
  • Cooking time: one hour 30 minutes.
  • 1.5kg assorted cuts of beef (shin, silverside, rump).
  • 2 litres water.
  • One onion.
  • One stick of celery.
  • One carrot.
  • Salt.
  • Optional: half a calf's tongue, fresh or corned.

 
Bring the water to the boil, add salt, the onion, celery, and carrot.
 
Put the meats into the water and cook slowly for an hour and a half.
 
Remove, place on a warm platter and serve hot with green sauce and vegetables preserved in oil. You could also include, along with the various cuts of beef, half a calf's tongue, either fresh or corned (corned tongue is a Florentine speciality).
 
It is also excellent when cold, with green sauce. If using tongue, remember to peel it once it has been boiled.
 
If any of the meat is left over, you can use it to make excellent rissoles for frying and if you like onions, you could also make the traditional dish, known in Florence as francesina. Here is the recipe for about half a kilo of meat: peel three or four medium sized red onions and cut into thick rings.
 
Put in a saucepan with a clove of garlic and four tablespoons of oil. Heat through, cover and cook over a low flame for about twenty minutes, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon. Slice the boiled meat about half a centimetre thick and place in the frying pan; increase the heat and combine well, stirring and turning with the spoon; cook for a couple of minutes.
 
Dissolve a few drops of tomato concentrate in a glass of hot water and add to the meat with the salt and pepper. Cook uncovered until the sauce has reduced; serve hot.
 
Apicius had a different recipe to accompany boiled meat: "White sauce. Pepper, garum, wine, rue, onion, pine nuts, wine with salt, pepper and spices, a few pieces of moistened bread, oil. When the meat is cooked, spread this sauce over it". Garum was a sauce made from fish and was a basic ingredient in Roman cooking; used in drops, it often replaced salt.

 
 
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