Mixed boiled meats may not sound particularly appetizing to the uninitiated, but it is one of Italy’s most refined and delectable dishes, one whose successful execution can be a determining factor in a restaurant’s reputation. At its most ambitious, bollito misto may include close to a dozen different meats, such as beef, veal, chicken, pork, turkey, pheasant, calf’s head, tongue, and cotechino and zampone (two types of boiled sausage). Such a bollito misto is no small feat, requiring many different pots, and is best left to a restaurant kitchen.
The following recipe requires only one pot and has the additional benefit of producing a wonderful Italian meat broth. It has three meats: beef, veal, and chicken, but if you wish, you can make it with only beef and veal or beef and chicken. Italian broth is quite different from dark French meat stock. It is a delicate, light broth made with raw meats and vegetables, not the oven-roasted bones and vegetables that give French stock its intense, concentrated flavor. The meats of a bollito misto are very good served just with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and a sprinkling of coarse sea salt, with Smothered Red and Yellow Peppers, or Salsa Verde. The marrow from the bones is delicious with a few drops of lemon juice and a sprinkling of salt.
If you are not going to serve the meats right away or if you have leftovers, place the cooled meats in a container with enough broth to cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days. When you are ready to serve, reheat the meat in the broth.
© 2005 Giuliano Hazan. All rights reserved.