Bresaola is an air-dried beef that has been flavoured with wine and spices before hanging to cure for a month. It is found throughout Italy and in other forms around the world. Vince has been fine-tuning his Italian recipe for years.
- 800 g salt
- 4 litres dry red wine
- 4 kg lean topside beef
- 1½ large carrots, peeled and quartered
- 1½ large onions, peeled and sliced
- 1½ large oranges, rind only
- ½ cup black peppercorns
- ¾ tsp chilli flakes
- 5 garlic cloves, roughly sliced
- 6 bay leaves
- 9 rosemary sprigs
- ¾ tbsp picked thyme
- ½ cup juniper berries
- cheesecloth or muslin
- butcher’s string
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Makes about 3.5 kg
Curing time 8 days
Hanging time 4 weeks
The process starts with pouring the salt into a large non-reactive container (with a lid), then diluting it with some of the red wine. Add the meat, carrot, onion, orange rind, peppercorns, chilli, garlic, bay leaves, rosemary and thyme. Use a mortar and pestle to grind the juniper berries before adding to the mix. Top up with the wine to completely cover the meat. Seal the container with a lid or plastic wrap.
Place in the fridge for 8 days. After 4 days, turn the meat over and at the end of the week, place it in a cheesecloth bag and hang it to dry in a cool (about 12°C), airy place away from direct sunlight (which in my case is under the house). There will be some loss of weight due to the drying.
After a further 3 weeks, retrieve the meat and remove the occasional mould by washing and brushing with vinegar. Pat dry with paper towel and slightly oil the surface of the bresaola with olive oil to keep it soft.
Store in the fridge in a vacuum-sealed pack for longer storage, or wrapped in waxed paper in a paper bag.
Serve thinly sliced with rocket or a salad, shaved parmesan, a squeeze of lemon juice and good olive oil.
• If you live in a hot climate and can’t hang the bresaola outside in a cool airy place, put it in the fridge and allow a little longer for it to dry and cure.