Thursday, November 28, 2013

Ottoman's Basturma?

Ottomans's Basturma? 
Funny name for air-dried beef don't you think?

I was researching different kinds of cured meats and styles when I came across ...Basturma, also called Bastirma or Pastirma. Hmmm, I thought to my self, with names like this you know there must must be an interesting story behind this cured meat.

What I found interesting was the ingredients that were used to make this air-dried beef and the techniques to make it. I also like the notion of a beef cured meat that I do not have to modify to make it Kosher. I will go into detail later on but as far as I can see the technique and ingredients have not changed except for some minimal variances over thousands of years. 
Why did I call this Ottomans's Basturma? The Air-dried beef was universally consumed and loved by the former Ottoman countries so I thought if fitting to call it Ottomans Basturma. We are talking old!!! Before there was Prosciutto, Pancetta, and Bresaola there was Basturma.  

The entire region has different names and spellings to describe the same piece of meat. Recipes and techniques are extremely similar though.  Even Jewish people call it  pastirma to (pastrómeh) in Yiddish. Please don't confuse or compared this with Pastrami because it's not.  

Like I said the Basturma or Bastirma is

infamous far and wide in the region with names such as pastërma in Albania, basterma in Arabia‎, basturma in Armenia, basdırma in Azerbaijan, pastrma in Bosnia, Croatia, Macedonia and Serbia, pastărma in Bulgaria, pastourmás or pastroumás in Greece, and pastramă in Romania.  I have been to some forums that debate which Basturma is better namely Turkey and Armenia. 

Basturma is made by salting meat, which is then washed with water and dried for about 10-15 days. Salt and blood is pressed out of the meat and it is covered with “Cemen also called Chaiman”, a cumin paste made by combining crushed cumin, garlic, hot paprika, and fenugreek. The meat is thoroughly air-dried. The variety of paprika being used, determines the spiciness of the dish. In the Ottoman Empire, the craftsmen from Central Anatolia specialized in the art of preparing and curing Batruma.  

I am not doing any of this. The above pictures are not mine. Stay tuned. In the next couple of weeks I will be updating my blog to include my own version of Basturma.  I am going to use the NEW YORK LOIN!!!!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Finito Bresaola io ti adoro

Bresaola Bresaola Bresaola io ti adora!!!! For those of you that do not speak Italian "io ti adora" means "How I adore you" I don't speak Italian either so I goggled it because it sound sophisticated. That's right I love just adore my Bresaola.  In a privous post titled Bresaola using UMAI Charcuterie Bags I talked about how I cured it and here are the results of that effort. 

A special thanks to Jason Molinari of cured meats blog for sharing his recipe!!! 

After 21 days of curing and 51 days of dry curing the Bresaola met its target weight of 2137 grams which was a 35% loss in weight. I originally was shooting for 30% but decided to go for an extra 5%. 

My thoughts?  The Bresaola tasted meaty and the texture was silky and creamy. Overall I would say it was a symphony orchestrated and executed with precision. 

Perhaps, and I am still debating this I will pull it out at 32-33% of weight loss. The salt was nearly perfect for my palate but next time will cut salt back from 5% to 3.5%.