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Bollito Misto Recipe

A traditional dish of Northern Italy, particularly the Po Valley, consisting of mixed boiled meats. Recipes vary within the space of a few miles, but a typical version follows. It is a regular weekend offering at smarter restaurants, where it's served with great panache. This is largely because the variety of meat makes it rather large for most families, except for at special occasions. The meat should be cooked until it's tender enough to be eaten with a fork. The dish developed because families lacked ovens, so had to cook on top of their stoves.

It is served with any three or four of the following (all recipes are in our Recipe Section), or are available from a good Italian delicatessen -

Crostini fried in olive oil, spread with English mustard and topped with bone marrow (previously wrapped in muslin and cooked in the bollito liquid for the last 45 minutes)

Mostarda di Cremona
Mostarda di Venezia
Salsa Verde
Salsa di rafano (horseradish sauce)
Salsa di pomodoro e prosciutto di Parma (cooked tomato and Parma ham sauce)
Salsa rustica (raw tomato sauce)


For about 10-12 people (to make less is unworthwhile):

11 pints/5 litres Water

4 big Carrots, peeled and cut into pieces

4 sticks of Celery, cut into pieces of a matching size

2 medium Onions, peeled and cut into big pieces - 2 whole cloves stuck into two of them

1 Leek, split and thoroughly washed

1 head of Garlic, unpeeled and left whole

1 Bouquet Garni, including a Bay Leaf - (the Bouquet Garni for Poultry from ( goes excellently with this dish)

1 level (2ml) teaspoon of whole Black Peppercorns

2 rounded teaspoons (10ml) Sea Salt

1 whole Ox Tongue - cooked separately in water for 2 hours (if it has been brined by your butcher) - before being drained and added to the main mixture for a further 2 hours. If it is unbrined, it can be cooked, with, and for the same time as the other meats.

2 lbs/1.8 kilos Beef Brisket - left in the piece

2lbs/1.8 kilos Veal Silverside - left in the piece (if not able to find veal, use double the quantity of beef

1 very big Chicken or Capon - left whole

1 Pig's Trotter, carefully washed

2 big pieces of Marrow Bone, wrapped in muslin if possible

1 whole Cotechino Sausage (available from a good Italian delicatessen) - optional

Equipment needed: a very big flameproof casserole - capable of holding all the ingredients


1. Bring the water to the boil, then reduce it to a simmer.
2. Add the bouquet garni, the pepper, salt and vegetables.
3. If you’re using tongue, and it’s unbrined, add it now and cook it for 1 hour before adding the beef – if it has been brined by your butcher cook it alone for 1 hour and then add now with the beef. The beef itself will take about 2½ hours – so the other meats are added in stages after that.
4. After 1 hour, add the chicken/capon, veal pig’s trotter and marrow bone.
5. Simmer extremely gently for a further 1½ hours – checking the chicken/apon after one hour, as it might have to be carefully removed – this will depend on its size and age (but don’t forget, that within reason the more age the more flavour, if cooked gently).

Remove the meats to a display dish and serve with your chosen sauces. The stock can be frozen in batches and used to make risotto, soup and suchlike.

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