It may seem strange but boiled meat, or rather broth made from beef, chicken or capon and the resulting boiled meat, were and still are used in Romagna to mark the importance of a festivity. A wedding here just wouldn’t be a wedding without serving cappelletti (small pasta parcels) in broth and a piece of boiled meat, with a little fruit pickle or parsley sauce on the side.
For us, Christmas lunch wouldn’t be complete without broth, just as Easter wouldn’t be complete without lasagne. Boiled meat is used to make excellent broth for soups, the meat used is then served as a main course and the vegetables are served as a side dish.
Ingredients for 4 people
- 1 onion
- 2 stalks of celery
- 3 carrots
- 5 very ripe cherry tomatoes
- 3 medium-sized potatoes, peeled
- 2 courgettes
- 1 leek
- 500 g of beef
- ½ a chicken or ¼ of a capon
- a bone for broth (not used by everyone)
Fill a large pan with water just over half way. Add the vegetables and beef and when it comes to the boil, add the chicken or capon and allow to boil over a high heat for about 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to the minimum setting and allow the broth to cook for a further 2½ hours. In the meantime, every now and again, use a ladle to skim the fat off the broth by removing the foam from the top of the pan. Add a little salt to taste and check the level of the water, adding more if necessary.
Finally remove the vegetables and boiled meats, place them into serving dishes and cover with foil to keep them warm. Pour the broth through a strainer into another pan and then return to the heat and use to make whichever soup you desire.
To make capon broth, which is typically used at Christmas, follow the same procedure but use only capon meat. It’s up to you how much you use and will depend on how many “hungry tummies” you have to fill at home.