Thursday, September 19, 2013

Wild Mushroom Bolognese

You see that gorgeous picture above? Beautiful Chanterelle and Lobster mushrooms that were given to me by a dear friend who picked them the day before in the state park.  You cannot get them any fresher than that. It was only fitting to make something special.  Why not a Bolognese sauce infused with the mushrooms, a freshly ground flatiron steak for flavor and some simple but delectable flavors that would not over power the made of honor notably the mushrooms.    

When I cook it's extremely rare that I make the same dish twice because I never write anything down.  Writing down recipes is boring and time consuming. I would rather spend my time just whipping things up and going by taste and looks.  Cooking for me is exciting because I never know how its going to turn out.  Well that is not exactly true because I know its going to be great.   My motto is simple, great fresh ingredients produces great food. 

So what did I do? First thing I did was roughed chopped the mushrooms and take took a moment to appreciate their wonderful smell. Their woodsy and fresh smell was reminiscent of some Italian restaurants I  enjoyed as a boy not to mention my Sicilian grandfathers kitchen. I than sauteed the mushrooms with some salt and pepper. I added a couple of shallots, garlic and minced sun-dried tomatoes.  I added the ground up meat and cooked until all pink was out of the meat.    

I deglazed the pan with a Tawny , I added some tomato products, some Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese and adjusted the spices.  You know salt, pepper, basil, oregano, red pepper flakes and fresh parsley. 

I added the king of cheeses last


Bresaola using UMAI Charcuterie Bags

Brasaloa using UMAI Charcuterie Bags

This is my first attempt at making Bresaloa. What is Bresaloa? Bresaola or brisaola is air-dried, salted beef that has been aged two or three months until it becomes hard and turns a dark red, almost purple colour. It is made from top (inside) round, and is lean and tender, with a sweet, musty smell. It originated in Valtellina, a valley in the Alps of northern Italy's Lombardy region. The traditional way of making a Bresaola is noted below.

 A strict trimming process as seen below is essential to the rich taste. Legs of beef are thoroughly defatted and seasoned with a dry rub of coarse salt and spices, such as juniper berriescinnamon and nutmeg. They are then left to cure for a few days. A drying period of between one and three months follows, depending on the weight of the particular bresaola. The meat loses up to 40% of its original weight during aging.

The below spice mixture is not my recipe but comes from a wonderful blog on charcuterie. Cured Meats blog has been meaningful and essential in my learning process. Jason through his blog and his email has helped me understand charcuterie. Wrightfood blog has also been very helpful too in many different ways.  I am of course using the EYE OF ROUND for my Bresaola.

Note 1: The weight of meat plus fat is 100%. All ingredients to be added are expressed as a percentage of the weight of meat plus fat. Percentages can be used to standardize recipes regardless of batch size.  All weights are metric. 

Note 2: No weights are given because the weights of meats vary. Everything is a percentage of the meats weight after trimming. Example- Meat weight 2393 grams and we want to find out the amount of salt we need in grams- 2393 X 3.5%=83.755 or 2392/100 X 3.5 =83.755 grams. 

IngredientQuantity(g)% of Meat
Eye of round3322100%
Salt ( Kosher)1665%
Black pepper170.5%
Fresh rosemary8.50.25%
Juniper berries3.50.1%
Dry thyme3.50.1%
Cure #280.25%
After several emails with Jason and some discussion I will in the future use only 3.5% salt and .25% Cure #2.

Mix up the spice mixture after grinding the cinnamon, clove, and juniper berries, chopping up the rosemary and crushing the black peppercorns.

Take the mixture and really massage it into the meat. You really want to get the meat and salt nicely worked into it.  
Seal it up. Put it in the fridge for 15-21 days.
Massage the meat while it is in the bag every 2 or 3 days, flipping it to make sure it is getting even exposure to the liquid which will have formed in the bag.


I plan on using UMAI Charcuterie dry-age bags which allows you to create old world charcuterie in your home without the need of special equipment. 

Ok meat all cured after 21 days.  Meat weight before cure was 3322 g and after cure 3289 g for a weight loss of 33 g. I cured for 21 days due to size of meat. It looks beautiful!!!! Now onto the cold smoking!!!


 Top picture cured and smoke.  Bottom picture trimmed and uncured. 

Oct 1, 2013
Here is the Bresaola sitting in the UMAI charcuterie bag ready for the refrigerator.  In about two months or 30% weight loss it will be ready to be consumed.  Meat weighed in at 3289 g and a weight loss of 30% would be 986.7 loss and a final weight of 2302.3.  The flavors will be intense!!!!

              Bresaola is on the bottom right drying.        

After 26 has lost 21% of it weight. 

Finito Bresaola io ti adoro