Okay, it's time for Bollito Misto. If you've never heard of it, you're probably not alone. This is dissapearing very quickly from restaurants. You still might be able to find it in a few restaurants in Northern Italy. Evidently, it is an interesting affair, where they wheel a steam trolley to your table, and the waiter spears out various meats.
Marcella says this recipe serves 18. I sure didn't have 18 people to serve, so I cut the recipe down a little, although I kept in all of the ingredients. And what are those ingredients? How about a beef tongue, boneless beef chuck, veal breast with short ribs, a chicken, and a cotechino sausage. That is a lot of meat, isn't it? Well, there was no veal breast to be found within an hour of Anchorage, and I couldn't find anyone to order it for me. So I had to substitute veal shanks. That means there wasn't much veal meat, but the veal bones added a lot of flavor to the wonderful broth. I thought I'd never find a Cotechino Sausage, but when I walked into our one Italian market, and there one set.
Here's what you do for the recipe. In a stockpot you combine a couple of carrots, celery stalks, an onion, red bell pepper, and a potato. Bring to a boil, then add the beef chuck and beef tongue ( a very tasty piece of meat, but one I don't care to look at, at least before it's been cooked and the skin peeled off), and tomatoes. You simmer this for about 1 hour, and then take out that lovely tongue and peel off the skin. You then return that to the pot, and add the veal, and simmer for another 1 3/4 hours. You then add the whole chicken to the pot (can you tell you need a REALLY big pot?). You also add salt, and cook until the chicken is very tender at least 1 hour. You cook the cotechino separately. I don't know if this is normal, but my cotechino sausage, which was imported from Italy, came sealed in a foil pouch and you just drop it in boiling water for 20 minutes. And somehow, it's not refrigerated before you cook it!
Marcella says that a platter piled high with all of these meats is impressive to look at, but the meats dry out quickly. So it's better to keep it in the broth, and quickly pull out each piece of meat before serving. She suggests serving this with an assortment of sauces, of which I planned on making two-Piquant Green Sauce and Horseradish Sauce. I made the Piquant Green Sauce (Salsa Verde), which is a mixture of parsley, capers, anchovy fillets(optional), mustard, red wine vinegar, salt, and olive oil all blended together. My husband went to the grocery store for me, and brought home what they told him was horseradish. It wasn't-it was daikon radish. So no horseradish sauce.
I am very happy to say that I am one who has now made an authentic Bollito Misto. The meats were as tender as could be, and the broth was delicious. I'll be freezing that for making risotto later. The meats were good sliced with the Salsa Verde on top.
I served the Bollito Misto a second way. I cooked some potatoes, turnips, and carrots in some of the broth until tender. I placed the vegetables, meat, and broth in a bowl and served it this way. It kept the meat more tender this way, as it was always sitting in that flavorful broth.
I have my doubts as I'll ever make a full Bollito Misto again. It was quite expensive-that little cotechino sausage cost me $20! And it makes a huge quantity. And it takes a lot of time to make. I might just make a paired-down version with less meat. But I know I will think differently now when I hear anything about "boiled meats". It used to conjur up an image of unflavorful, unappealing meats. Now I know differently, and that image will be replaced with succulent, tender meats in a most flavorful broth.
Thank you, Marcella, for including a recipe for a dish that is dying out. It is a dish that I would have never made if I had stumbled upon the recipe, and I am so glad that I am one of the few who has now discovered the charm of Bollito Misto.