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Bollito con la Pearà

Sunday lunch in Verona is a special time, and Bollito con la Pearà is one of the many dishes which grace Veronese tables.
The pearà, a Venetian term meaning ‘pepper’, is a sauce made from breadcrumbs, beef marrow, Parmesan, and of course chilli pepper. The Bollito is boiled beef, or lesso as it is called, which is cooked slowly for 2 to 3 hours, with the pearà then served on the side.
Legend has it that the King of the Lombards invented the dish to give strength to his wife Rosamund, who had almost starved to death, and before becoming popular with everyone it was originally thought of as a peasants dish, enjoyed by agricultural workers. However, from the story of the King, I think you will realise that anyone sitting down to a Sunday lunch of Bollito con la Pera won’t leave the table hungry.
If you would like to try this dish many of the local Agritourismo and restaurants in the Vento region will serve it, but if you can’t wait to try for yourself, here is a recipe to try at home.
1 kg beef
1 carrot cut into chunks
500 g onions quartered
1 clove garlic
1 stick of celery cut into chunks
1 litre of water
For the Pearà
50 g butter
150 g bread crumbs
60 g of bone marrow
5 tbspns grated Parmigiano
1 crushed dried chilli
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preparation Instructions:
1. Fill a large pan with salted water and heat until boiling. Add the meat and cook for five minutes.
2. Add the vegetables, cover and cook over medium heat for 2 to 3 hours until the meat is tender and perfectly cooked. You will need to skim the liquid frequently to clear the stock.
3. Meanwhile make the sauce. In a small saucepan, sauté the bone marrow in the butter, add the garlic and breadcrumbs, and cook until the breadcrumbs are toasted.
4. Add 1/2 cup of cooking liquid from the beef and stir until the breadcrumbs have absorbed the stock. Cook for 1 hour over low heat, adding more stock to maintain a sauce like consistency.
5. When the meat is ready, add the cheese, chili and salt to the breadcrumb mixture and blend all ingredients thoroughly.
6. Remove the meat from the stock, slice and serve accompanied by the pepper sauce.
In addition to the meat mentioned above, the traditional dish also includes half a calf’s head, a sausage and 500g of picked tongue. If you would like to try making the dish this way, boil these ingredients in a separate pan, remembering to change the water at least once an hour.

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