Hello everybody! Sorry for the waiting, in these weeks at the end year we are having crazy busy days and didn’t have the chance to stop a minute!
Btw… today we’d like to talk about Christmas traditions around here.
As we said in our first article, I was born and still lives today in Verona, the city of love, of Rome & Juliet, good Amarone wine and excellent food.
So today we want to talk about one ancient traditional food that we usually have during Christmas festivities in Verona, “Lesso e Pearà” (boiled meat with a special sauce that you can only find here in Verona).
Next week, a few days before Christmas, we’ll also post the recipe so if you want to try it at home for the festivities you’ll have the chance.
“Lesso e pearà” it’s a very ancient recipe, it is said that the recipe dates back to about 1400 years ago, during the reign of the King of the Lombards Alboino, who in 568 led his people to conquer Italy, abandoning their homeland, Pannonia. Succeeded in the feat that all the Germans had dreamed of (conquering Italy), he became a legendary character.
Legend has it that it was the court cook of Alboin who invented this simple but substantial recipe because he needed a food capable of restoring strength to Rosmunda, who, forcibly became the king’s wife and was letting herself die of hunger after being forced to drink from the skull, transformed into a cup, of his father Cunimondo, king of the Gepids, killed in battle by Alboino himself.
A truly cruel and creepy story but it gave us one of the most important and exclusive Veronese dishes, which is constantly highly appreciated and loved also by whoever has ever tasted it. It is the Dish that every Veronese grandmother prepares very often on cold winter Sundays and definately for Christmas lunch. It is one of those scents that remind you of childhood and home.
But first of all let’s try to understand what’s “pearà”: it is actually a poor sauce or, more properly, a simple sauce.
As already mentioned before, this sauce is traditionally served accompanied by mixed boiled meat. The spread of this sauce is limited almost exclusively to Verona and its province and is prepared using broth, marrow, stale bread, salt and lots of pepper (and it is in fact from here that the meaning of the word “Pearà” derives, the Veronese dialect word which means “peppery”).
Usually before “Lesso e Pearà”, we would have a first course with broth, such as paparele or tortellini from Valeggio, both of them are typical Veronese pasta, the tortellini are even made with a part of boiled meat as its filling.
The broth in this case is exactly what we created by cooking boiled meat.
And as before mentioned, the same broth is also that with which we cook the Pearà sauce. This underlines how extremely important the preparation of the good broth. And then, after this broth-pasta dish, we would have Lesso e Pearà, the Pearà sauce accompanied with mixed boiled meat and bitter wild herbs.
This denotes how “Lesso e Pearà” does not indicate only a simple dish, but actually a certain type of lunch in its entirety.
The typical cuts used for boiled meat are cow tongue, cow shoulder and hen. The procedure for preparing the boiled meat is simple and the main ingredient is time. It takes a lot of time and it must be at a slow cooking speed, in fact the water must never boil but ‘quiver’.
Continuously removing the foam on the surface coming up during the cooking is another key point.
The result of this process will be not only an extraordinary boiled meat to be served with your favorite sauces but also a tasty meat broth, which you can enjoy with pastas inside or be used as an essential ingredient of great recipes as Pearà.
With this we have given you some information on this typical Veronese dish, we assure you that it is really delicious and will appeal to everyone, young and old! See you next week for the recipe of “Lesso e Pearà”.