Lunch Meat of the Week – Pastrami

December 13, 2018 at 6:02 AM | Posted in Lunch Meat of the Week | Leave a comment
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Slices of pastrami

Pastrami is a meat product usually made from beef, and sometimes from pork, mutton, or turkey. The raw meat is brined, partially dried, seasoned with herbs and spices, then smoked and steamed. Beef plate is the traditional cut of meat for making pastrami, although it is now common in the United States to see it made from beef brisket, beef round, and turkey. Like corned beef, pastrami was originally created as a way to preserve meat before refrigeration.

The name pastrami comes from Romanian pastramă, a declination of the Romanian verb păstra meaning “to conserve food, to keep something for a long duration” whose etymology is linked to the Bulgarian pastrija or to the Greek παστραμάς/παστουρμάς, itself borrowed from Turkish pastırma, short for Turkish: bastırma et “pressed meat.” Wind-dried beef had been made in Anatolia for centuries, and Byzantine dried meat is thought by some to be “one of the forerunners of the pastirma of modern Turkey”.

Early references in English used the spelling “pastrama”, closer to the Romanian pastramă. Pastrami was introduced to the United States in a wave of Jewish immigration from Bessarabia and Romania in the second half of the 19th century. The modified “pastrami” spelling was probably introduced in imitation of the American English salami. Romanian Jews emigrated to New York as early as 1872. Among Jewish Romanians, goose breasts were commonly made into pastrami because they were inexpensive. Beef navel was cheaper than goose meat in America, so the Romanian Jews in America adapted their recipe and began to make the cheaper-alternative beef pastrami.

Pastrami sandwich at the Carnegie Deli in New York City.

New York’s Sussman Volk is generally credited with producing the first pastrami sandwich in the United States in 1887. Volk, a kosher butcher and New York immigrant from Lithuania, claimed he got the recipe from a Romanian friend in exchange for storing the friend’s luggage while the friend returned to Romania. According to his descendant, Patricia Volk, he prepared pastrami according to the recipe and served it on sandwiches out of his butcher shop. The sandwich was so popular that Volk converted the butcher shop into a restaurant to sell pastrami sandwiches.

New York pastrami is generally made from the navel end of the brisket. It is cured in brine, coated with a mix of spices such as garlic, coriander, black pepper, paprika, cloves, allspice, and mustard seed, and then smoked. Finally, the meat is steamed until the connective tissues within the meat break down into gelatin.

Greek immigrants to Salt Lake City in the early 1960s introduced a cheeseburger topped with pastrami and a special sauce. The pastrami cheeseburger has since remained a staple of local burger chains in Utah.

 

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Lunch Meat of the Week – Liverwurst

December 6, 2018 at 6:02 AM | Posted in Lunch Meat of the Week | Leave a comment
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Slices of liverwurst

Liverwurst, leberwurst, or liver sausage is a kind of sausage made from liver. It is eaten in many parts of Europe, including Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Hungary, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania (especially in Transylvania), Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden, Ukraine, United Kingdom; it is also found in North and South America, notably in Argentina and Chile.

Some liverwurst varieties are spreadable. Liverwurst usually contains pigs’ or calves’ livers. Other ingredients are meat (notably veal), fat, and spices including ground black pepper, marjoram, allspice, thyme, ground mustard seed, or nutmeg. Many regions in Germany have distinct recipes for liverwurst. Adding ingredients like pieces of onion or bacon to the recipe make each variety of liverwurst very important to cultural identity. For example, the Thüringer Leberwurst has a Protected Geographical Status throughout the EU. Recently, more exotic additions such as cowberries and mushrooms have gained popularity.

The word “liverwurst” is a partial calque of German Leberwurst ‘liver sausage’, and “liver sausage” a full calque.

Variants

Liverwurst, boiled and smoked

North America
Liverwurst is typically eaten as is, and often served as traditional or as open-faced sandwiches. It is popular in North America with red onion and mustard on rye or whole grain bread. In the Southern US, and the Midwestern US, liverwurst is served with slices of sweet pickles (gherkins pickled with sugar, vinegar, and mustard seeds). In the Northeast US, liverwurst is served with dill pickles (gherkins pickled with salt and dill).

In the Midwestern United States, liverwurst is also known as liver sausage or Braunschweiger. Liverwurst is typically served on crackers or in sandwiches. It is often sold pre-sliced.

Germany
Liverwurst from the Rhineland-Palatinate in Germany

Liverwurst from the Rhineland-Palatinate in Germany

In Germany, liverwurst is customarily served sliced on a plate, often with mustard or pickled cucumber.

The Netherlands
In the Netherlands, liverwurst (Dutch: leverworst) is customarily served in slices, often with mustard. Groningen and The Hague are known for their own types of liverwurst: Groninger leverworst in Groningen and Haagse leverworst from The Hague.

Hungary
In Hungary, liverwurst is customarily served on open sandwiches, or with cheese as a filling for pancakes which are baked in the oven.
Romania
In Romania liverwurst is called lebar, but unlike the German sausage leberwurst that uses beef, the lebar uses only pork. Lebar is eaten mainly for the winter holidays. It tastes fragrant and sweet with liver pâté. It is generally used as Christmas Eve dinner, sliced on bread with mustard and murături.

Poland
Pasztetowa is made using calf’s liver. It is often served on rye bread with horseradish-style mustard. Pasztetowa is popular throughout the year, but is most frequently served at Christmas and Easter.

 

Lunch Meat of the Week – Capocollo

November 29, 2018 at 6:02 AM | Posted in Lunch Meat of the Week | 2 Comments
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Capocollo

Capocollo (Italian pronunciation: [kapoˈkɔllo]), coppa ([ˈkoppa]), or capicola is a traditional Italian and Corsican pork cold cut (salume) made from the dry-cured muscle running from the neck to the fourth or fifth rib of the pork shoulder or neck. It is a whole-muscle salume, dry cured, and typically sliced very thin. It is similar to the more widely known cured ham or prosciutto, because they are both pork-derived cold-cuts used in similar dishes. However, it is not brined as ham typically is.

In its production, capocollo is first lightly seasoned often with red and sometimes white wine, garlic, and a variety of herbs and spices that differs depending on region. The meat is then salted (and was traditionally massaged) and stuffed into a natural casing, and hung for up to six months to cure. Sometimes the exterior is rubbed with hot paprika before being hung and cured. Capocollo is essentially the pork counterpart of the air-dried, cured beef bresaola. It is widely available wherever significant Italian communities occur, due to commercially produced varieties. The slow-roasted Piedmontese version is called coppa cotta.

Capocollo is esteemed for its delicate flavor and tender, fatty texture, and is often more expensive than most other salumi. In many countries, it is often sold as a gourmet food item. It is usually sliced thin for use in antipasto or sandwiches such as muffulettas, Italian grinders and subs, and panini’ as well as some traditional Italian pizza.

Two particular varieties, Coppa Piacentina and Capocollo di Calabria, have Protected Designation of Origin status under the Common Agricultural Policy of European Union law, which ensures that only products genuinely originating in those regions are allowed in commerce as such.

Slices of Capocollo di Martina Franca served with figs.

Five additional Italian regions produce capicollo, and are not covered under European law, but are designated as “Prodotto agroalimentare tradizionale” by the Italian Ministry of Agricultural, Food, and Forestry Policies:

* Capocollo della Basilicata
* Capocollo del Lazio
* Capocollo di Martina FrancaIt is a traditional capocollo of Apulia. It is smoked with laurel leaves, thyme, almonds, Mediterranean herbs and pieces of bark of Macedonian Oak (called fragno in Italian), a tree typical of Southeastern Italy, Balkans and Western Turkey. Usually it is served with figs.
* Capocollo tipico senese (finocchiata or finocchiona, from Toscana)
* Capocollo dell’Umbria

Outside Italy, capocollo is traditionally produced also in the French island of Corsica under the names of coppa or capicollu.[14] Coppa di Corsica/de Corse is also a PDO product. It was introduced to Argentina by Italian immigrants, under the names bondiola or bondiola curada.

 

Lunch Meat of the Week – Pork Roll

November 22, 2018 at 6:02 AM | Posted in Lunch Meat of the Week | Leave a comment
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Happy Thanksgiving All!

A four-slice box of Taylor brand pork roll

Pork Roll (regionally known as Taylor Ham) is a pork-based processed meat originating and commonly available in New Jersey, New York, Delaware and parts of Pennsylvania and Maryland. It was developed in 1856 by John Taylor of Hamilton Square, New Jersey, and sold as “Taylor Ham”. Other producers entered the market, and subsequent food labeling regulations required Taylor to designate it as a “pork roll” alongside their competitors.

While a similar item, packed minced ham, may have been produced at the time of the Battle of Trenton, John Taylor is credited with creating his secret recipe for the product in 1856. George Washington Case, a farmer and butcher from nearby Belle Mead, New Jersey, later created his own recipe for pork roll in 1870. Case’s was reportedly packaged in corn husks.

Taylor originally called his product “Taylor’s Prepared Ham”, but was forced to change the name after it failed to meet the new legal definition of “ham” established by the Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906. Marketed as both “Taylor’s Pork Roll” and “Trenton Pork Roll”, it saw competition from products with similar names like “Rolled Pork” and “Trenton style Pork Roll”. When their makers were sued by Taylor a 1910 legal case ruled that the words “Pork Roll” could not be trademarked.

In North Jersey, residents continue to use the term Taylor Ham, while South Jersey residents generally use the term Pork Roll, with Central Jersey residents using a mix of the two.

In the 1910 lawsuit, it was described as “a food article made of pork, packed in a cylindrical cotton sack or bag in such form that it could be quickly prepared for cooking by slicing without removal from the bag.” Larry Olmsted of USA Today has described the taste of the meat as “a cross between Canadian bacon and bacon, less hammy and smoky than Canadian, fattier and saltier than bacon, with a unique texture, both crispy and slightly mushy.”

Companies that make pork roll include and Loeffler’s Gourmet, Hatfield Quality Meats and Alderfer Premium of Harleysville, Pennsylvania.

A “Jersey Breakfast” of pork roll, egg, and cheese

It is typically eaten as part of a sandwich, with popular condiments including salt, pepper, ketchup, mustard, hot sauce, lettuce, and tomato. It is also incorporated in many other recipes, including a popular breakfast sandwich known in the region as a “Taylor Ham, Egg, and Cheese” or “Pork Roll, Egg, and Cheese.” in which fried pork roll is joined with a fried egg and American cheese and served on a hard roll, bagel or English muffin. New Jersey eateries noted for their Jersey Breakfast include Slater’s in Middletown, and Starks United in Keansburg.

Trenton, New Jersey held its Inaugural Pork Roll Festival on May 24, 2014.

The Trenton Thunder minor league baseball team hosted their inaugural “Trenton Thunder World Famous Case’s Pork Roll Eating Championship” on September 26, 2015. Joey Chestnut won the contest by eating 32 pork roll sandwiches in 10 minutes.

The Lakewood BlueClaws minor league baseball team holds a Pork Roll, Egg, and Cheese Race at the end of the fourth inning of every home game.

A sandwich featuring pork roll at a delicatessen in New Jersey

A song called “Pork Roll Egg and Cheese” appears on the album The Pod by Ween, locals of New Hope, Pennsylvania, referring specifically to a sandwich consisting of pork roll, egg and cheese on a kaiser roll. Several other songs by the band such as “Frank” also contain references to pork roll.

On April 14, 2016, Assemblyman Tim Eustace introduced an Act in the New Jersey State Legislature designating the Taylor Ham, egg, and cheese sandwich as the New Jersey State Sandwich and supplementing chapter 9A of Title 52 of the Revised Statutes. “An Act designating the Taylor Ham, egg, and cheese sandwich as the New Jersey State Sandwich and supplementing chapter 9A of Title 52 of the Revised Statutes.”

On May 15, 2016, President Barack Obama gave a commencement speech at Rutgers University’s 250th graduation ceremony in which he referenced the “Taylor ham vs. pork roll debate”, saying, “I come here for a simple reason – to finally settle this pork roll vs. Taylor ham question…I’m just kidding…There’s not much I’m afraid to take on in my final year of office, but I know better than to get in the middle of that debate.”

 

Lunch Meat of the Week – Mortadella

November 15, 2018 at 6:02 AM | Posted in Lunch Meat of the Week | Leave a comment
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Mortadella Bologna

Mortadella (Italian pronunciation: [mortaˈdɛlla]) is a large Italian sausage or luncheon meat (salume [saˈluːme]) made of finely hashed or ground, heat-cured pork, which incorporates at least 15% small cubes of pork fat (principally the hard fat from the neck of the pig). Mortadella is a product of Bologna, Italy. It is flavored with spices, including whole or ground black pepper, myrtle berries, and pistachios.

Traditionally, the pork filling was ground to a paste using a large mortar (mortaio [morˈtaːjo]) and pestle. Two Roman funerary steles in the archaeological museum of Bologna show such mortars. Alternatively, according to Cortelazzo and Zolli Dizionario Etimologico della Lingua Italiana 1979-88, mortadella derives its name from a Roman sausage flavored with myrtle in place of pepper.

The Romans called the sausage farcimen mirtatum (myrtle sausage), because the sausage was flavored with myrtle berries, a popular spice before pepper became available to European markets. Anna Del Conte (The Gastronomy of Italy 2001) found a sausage mentioned in a document of the official body of meat preservers in Bologna dated 1376 that may be mortadella.

Mortadella originated in Bologna, the capital of Emilia-Romagna; elsewhere in Italy it may be made either in the Bolognese manner or in a distinctively local style. The mortadella of Prato is a

Mortadella Bologna IGP from Italy

Tuscan speciality flavored with pounded garlic and colored with alchermes. The mortadella of Amatrice, high in the Apennines of northern Lazio, is unusual in being lightly smoked. Because it originated in Bologna, this contributed to the naming of the American sausage meat “bologna”.

Mortadella is very popular in Spain and Portugal, where a variety with pepper and olives is widely consumed, especially in sandwiches. In eastern Spain, the standard mortadella is often referred to as mortadela italiana (Italian mortadella), to differentiate it from a local variant named catalana.

Mortadella is also very popular in Argentina, Bolivia, Peru, Brazil, Ecuador, Chile, Colombia, Uruguay and Venezuela, thanks to the Italian immigrants who settled in these countries in the early 20th century. In these countries it is spelled mortadela, and its recipe is quite similar to the traditional Italian, with additional pepper grains.

In Brazil, São Paulo has a very popular mortadela sandwich sold in the Mercado Municipal.

In Puerto Rico, “smoked mortadella” is sometimes confused with commercial salami, or with salami cotto, because cafeterias, panaderias, colmados, and restaurants buy the bulk of whole smoked mortadella. While salami may contain pork, beef, veal and small pieces of fat uniformly distributed within the sausage, mortadella has the traditional larger chunks not so uniformly distributed. Its diameter is much larger than that of hard salami and more closely resembles salami cotto (cooked) in size, hence the confusion of some people. It is smaller in diameter than the traditional mortadella de Bologna because the smoking process causes some shrinkage. It is best served at room temperature to bring out its rich flavor.

Mortadella with olives from Portugal

A similar commercial sausage product that omits the cubes of pork fat, called bologna, is popular in the United States. A variety that includes olives and pimento is called olive loaf.

Mortadella was banned from import into the United States from 1967 to 2000 due to an outbreak of African swine fever in Italy. This ban was a pivotal part of the plot of the 1971 film La mortadella starring Sophia Loren. The title for the United States release was Lady Liberty.

The ban in the United States was lifted due to the Veterinary Equivalency Agreement that allowed countries to export products that had been shown to be disease-free as part of an overall agreement that would allow products deemed safe in the United States to be exported to the European Union.

 

Lunch Meat of the Week -Pepperoni

November 8, 2018 at 6:02 AM | Posted in Lunch Meat of the Week | Leave a comment
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Packaged pepperoni

Pepperoni is an American variety of salami, made from cured pork and beef mixed together and seasoned with paprika or other chili pepper.

Pepperoni is characteristically soft, slightly smoky, and bright red in color. Thinly sliced pepperoni is a popular pizza topping in American-style pizzerias and is used as filling in the West Virginia pepperoni roll.

The term “pepperoni” is a borrowing of peperoni, the plural of peperone, the Italian word for bell pepper. The first use of “pepperoni” to refer to a sausage dates to 1919. In Italian, the word peperoncino (diminutive of peperone) refers to hot and spicy peppers.

Pepperoni is a cured dry sausage similar to the spicy salamis of southern Italy, such as salsiccia Napoletana piccante, a spicy dry sausage from Naples, or the soppressata from Calabria. The main differences are that pepperoni has a finer grain (akin to salami of Milan, a spiceless regional variant of salami), is usually softer, and is produced with the use of an artificial casing (instead Italian salami are produced using natural gut for casing and are made of pure pork). Pepperoni is mass-produced to meet the demand for the sausage. In most of Italy pepperoni would be considered a type of salamino piccante.

Pepperoni is usually made from a mixture of pork and beef. Turkey meat is also commonly used as a substitute, but the use of poultry in pepperoni must be appropriately labeled in the United

Pepperoni atop a pizza, above the diagonal cuts.

States.

Curing, with nitrates or nitrites (usually used in modern curing agents, to protect against botulism and other forms of microbiological decay) also contributes to pepperoni’s reddish color, by reacting with heme in the myoglobin of the proteinaceous components of the meat.

According to Convenience Store Decisions, Americans annually consume 251.7 million pounds of pepperoni on 36% of all pizzas produced nationally. Pepperoni has a tendency to curl up from the edges in the heat of a pizza oven. Some pepperoni is produced in thicker slices, so that the edges curl intentionally.

Pepperoni can also be found accompanying different types of cheeses as a cheap snack food in convenience stores or gas stations.

In Nova Scotia, deep-fried pepperoni served on its own (usually with a honey mustard dipping sauce) is common pub food.

 

Lunch Meat of the Week – Prosciutto

November 1, 2018 at 5:02 AM | Posted in Lunch Meat of the Week | 2 Comments
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Prosciutto

Prosciutto (/prəˈʃuːtoʊ/, Italian: [proʃˈʃutto]) is an Italian dry-cured ham that is usually thinly sliced and served uncooked; this style is called prosciutto crudo in Italian (or simply crudo) and is distinguished from cooked ham, prosciutto cotto.

A number of regions have their own variations of prosciutto, each with degrees of protected status, but the most prized are the Prosciutto di Parma PDO from the Emilia-Romagna region and the Prosciutto di San Daniele PDO from the Friuli-Venezia Giulia region. Another notable type is Speck Alto Adige PGI from the South Tyrol region.

The names prosciutto and prosciutto crudo are generic, and not protected designations, and may name or describe a variety of hams more or less similar to Italian prosciutto crudo or other dry-cured hams worldwide.

 

 

 

 

Prosciutto is made from either a pig’s or a wild boar’s hind leg or thigh, and the base term prosciutto specifically refers to this product. Prosciutto may also be made using the hind leg of other

Prosciutto di Parma

animals, in which case the name of the animal is included in the name of the product, for example “prosciutto cotto d’agnello” (“lamb prosciutto”). The process of making prosciutto can take from nine months to two years, depending on the size of the ham.

A writer on Italian food, Bill Buford, describes talking to an old Italian butcher who says:

When I was young, there was one kind of prosciutto. It was made in the winter, by hand, and aged for two years. It was sweet when you smelled it. A profound perfume. Unmistakable. To age a prosciutto is a subtle business. If it’s too warm, the aging process never begins. The meat spoils. If it’s too dry, the meat is ruined. It needs to be damp but cool. The summer is too hot. In the winter—that’s when you make salumi. Your prosciutto. Your soppressata. Your sausages.

Today, the ham is first cleaned, salted, and left for about two months. During this time, the ham is pressed, gradually and carefully so as to avoid breaking the bone, to drain all blood left in the meat. Next, it is washed several times to remove the salt, and is hung in a dark, well-ventilated environment. The surrounding air is important to the final quality of the ham; the best results are obtained in a cold climate. The ham is then left until dry. The time this takes varies, depending on the local climate and size of the ham. When the ham is completely dry, it is hung to air, either at room temperature or in a controlled environment, for up to 18 months.

Prosciutto is sometimes cured with nitrites (either sodium or potassium), which are generally used in other hams to produce the desired rosy color and unique flavor, but only sea salt is used in Protected Designation of Origin hams. Such rosy pigmentation is produced by a direct chemical reaction of nitric oxide with myoglobin to form nitrosomyoglobin, followed by concentration of the pigments due to drying. Bacteria convert the added nitrite or nitrate to nitric oxide.

 

 

Antipasto with Prosciutto

Sliced prosciutto crudo in Italian cuisine is often served as an antipasto, wrapped around grissini, or accompanied with melon. It is also eaten as accompaniment to cooked spring vegetables, such as asparagus or peas. It may be included in a simple pasta sauce made with cream, or a Tuscan dish of tagliatelle and vegetables. It is used in stuffings for other meats, such as veal, as a wrap around veal or steak, in a filled bread, or as a pizza topping.

Saltimbocca is an Italian veal dish, where escalopes of veal are topped with a sage leaf before being wrapped in prosciutto and then pan-fried. Prosciutto is often served in sandwiches and panini, sometimes in a variation on the Caprese salad, with basil, tomato and fresh mozzarella. A basic sandwich served in some European cafés and bars consists of prosciutto in a croissant.

 

Lunch Meat of the Week – Ham

October 18, 2018 at 5:03 AM | Posted in Lunch Meat of the Week | Leave a comment
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Half ham

Ham is pork from a leg cut that has been preserved by wet or dry curing, with or without smoking. As a processed meat, the term “ham” includes both whole cuts of meat and ones that have been mechanically formed.

Ham is made around the world, including a number of highly coveted regional specialties, such as Westphalian ham and some varieties of Spanish jamón. In addition, numerous ham products have specific geographical naming protection, such as Prosciutto di Parma and Prosciutto Toscano in Europe, and Smithfield ham in the US.

The preserving of pork leg as ham has a long history, with Cato the Elder writing about the “salting of hams” in his De Agri Cultura tome around 160 BC.

There are claims that the Chinese were the first people to mention the production of cured ham. Larousse

Typical slice of ham

Gastronomique claims an origin from Gaul. It was certainly well established by the Roman period, as evidenced by an import trade from Gaul mentioned by Marcus Terentius Varro in his writings.

The modern word “ham” is derived from the Old English ham or hom meaning the hollow or bend of the knee, from a Germanic base where it meant “crooked”. It began to refer to the cut of pork derived from the hind leg of a pig around the 15th century.

Because of the preservation process, ham is a compound foodstuff or ingredient, being made up of the original meat, as well as the remnants of the preserving agent(s), such as salt, but it is still recognised as a food in its own right.

Hams aging in an atmospherically controlled storage room

Ham is produced by curing raw pork by salting, also known as dry curing, or brining, also known as wet curing. Additionally smoking may be employed. Besides salt, several ingredients may be used to obtain flavoring and preservation, from black pepper (e.g. Prosciutto Toscano) to saffron (e.g. the “Zafferano di San Gimignano”).

Ham is typically used in its sliced form, often as a filling for sandwiches and similar foods, such as in the ham sandwich and ham and cheese sandwich. Other variations include toasted sandwiches such as the croque-monsieur and the Cubano. It is also a popular topping for pizza in the United States.

Antipasto with ham and sausage

In the United Kingdom, a pork leg cut, either whole or sliced, that has been cured but requires additional cooking is known as gammon. Gammons were traditional cured before being cut from a side of pork along with bacon. When cooked, gammon is ham. Such roasts are a traditional part of British Christmas dinners.

 

Lunch Meat of the Week -Bresaola

October 4, 2018 at 5:02 AM | Posted in Lunch Meat of the Week | Leave a comment
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A tray of assorted lunch meats with pickles and tomatoes.

Starting today and every Thursday for a while I’ll be featuring a different Lunch Meat. There are just so many different kinds just not here in America but all over the world. So I’ll see what I can find every Thursday. First all about Lunch Meats.

Lunch meats—also known as cold cuts, luncheon meats, cooked meats, sliced meats, cold meats and deli meats—are precooked or cured meat, often sausages or meat loaves, that are sliced and served cold or hot on sandwiches or on party trays. They can be bought pre-sliced in vacuum packs at a supermarket or grocery store, or they can be purchased at a delicatessen or deli counter, where they might be sliced to order. Unsliced, canned lunch meats are sold under brands such as Spam and Treet.

Bresaola

Bresaola della Valtellina (PGI/IGP), olives, a pickled onion and bread

Bresaola (pronounced [breˈzaːola]) is air-dried, salted beef (but also horse, venison and pork) that has been aged two or three months until it becomes hard and turns a dark red, almost purple color. 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 word comes from the diminutive of Lombard bresada (braised).

A strict trimming process is essential to give the unique flavor. Legs of beef are thoroughly defatted and seasoned with a dry rub of coarse salt and spices, such as juniper berries, cinnamon 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.

In Valtellina, a similar process is applied to smaller pieces of meat. This produces a more strongly flavoured product, slinzega, which is similar to South African biltong. Traditionally, horse meat was used for slinzega, but now other meats, such as venison and pork, are used, as well.

As an antipasto, bresaola is usually sliced paper-thin and served at room temperature or slightly chilled. It is most commonly eaten on its own, but may be drizzled with olive oil and lemon juice or balsamic vinegar, and served with rocket (rucola, arugula) salad, cracked black pepper, and freshly shaved Parmesan cheese. Bresaola is sometimes confused with carpaccio, which is made from thinly sliced raw beef (the other ingredients are the same). Sliced bresaola should be stored well wrapped in a refrigerator.

Similar products
The bresaola produced in Valtellina is now a protected geographical indication (PGI) under EU Regulation 2081/92. Since this designation, dried beef made outside Valtellina may carry a generic name such as viande séchée or “beef prosciutto”. There are traditional products from several other areas that are similar:

* Bündnerfleisch (Bindenfleisch): from across the border in Grisons, Switzerland
* Brési: from the Doubs region of France
* Carne de sol: from northeastern Brazil
* Cecina: from León, now used elsewhere in Spain and Latin America (Cecina de León also has PGI status)
* Charque: from southern Brazil
* Chipped beef: from the United States
* Dendeng: from Indonesia
* Nagelhout: from the east of the Netherlands
* Pastırma: from Turkey, the Middle East, Caucasus and the Balkans
* Pemmican (Pemmikan): from North America
* Suho meso: from the Slavic countries
* Carpaccio de buey: from Italy is a fresh (non-preserved) variant popularized as an appetizer in 1950

 

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