Home Made Cured Meat

I have always been under an impression that making a decent cured meat at home without having underground cellars or owning some kind of special equipment was impossible. Therefore, every time we visit Italy for vacation, we buy some (as much as the air luggage could care) pieces of cured meat and “prolong the taste of the vacation” for a few weeks at home. And then begins the long waiting period – until the next vacation. When I found this idea in a culinary magazine, I simply had to try it to see the results for myself. To make a long story short – the result is amazing. My guests couldn’t believe that this was home-made and not bought at some deli. And the fun part – the toughest thing here is to find enough space in the refrigerator…. So, anybody up for some cured meat? 🙂



1 kg meat (*)
40 gr. sea salt
30 gr. sugar
4 gr. ground coffee
10 gr. black pepper, coarsely ground
10 gr. ground juniper berries (**)
5-6 bay leaves

* It is recommended to use a long piece of topside beef

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Russian Beef Stew with Porcini Mushrooms, White Wine and Vegetables

Here’s a very nice variation on Russian beef stew. It is very light and could serve as a great dish on every table.



1.5 kg beef
2-3 tablespoons vegetable oil
Some flour
1 large onion
20 gr. dried Porcini mushrooms
1 bottle dry white wine
5 sprigs of thyme
salt and pepper
water (or vegetable broth)


Cut the meat into cubes (approximately 2 x 2 x 2 centimeters). Cut the onion into half-rings. Put the dried mushrooms into a bowl and pour a glass of boiling water on them.

Warm up the frying pan, heat the vegetable oil, add onion and thyme and fry. When ready, remove the content of the frying pan.

Roll the meat cubes in flour. The best technique to do this is in a plastic bag – put a couple of tablespoons of floor in, add some meat cubes close and shake vigorously to reach the desired effect.

When ready start frying the meat cubes on high heat (not all of them together – better to do that in small portions). Afterwards, add back the onion and thyme, pour in the wine and bring to boiling.

In the meantime, squeeze the mushrooms to remove extra liquids and chop them into small parts. Add both the mushroom parts and the water squeezed from the mushrooms into the pan containing the meat. Then top up with the additional water (or vegetable stock) to cover the “barely” cover the meat with liquids. Add salt and pepper, bring to boiling and then simmer over low heat for 2-2.5 hours.

As a garnish for this dish I would recommend some simple oven-baked vegetables.

1 cauliflower
1 large sweet potato
1 large onion
2 small zucchini
3 branches of thyme
10 garlic cloves
Salt (better use coarse)
2 tbsp. olive oil

Dismantle the cauliflower into florets, coarsely slice other vegetables (important – leave the garlic cloves intact). Add some salt, pour in the oil and mix by hands. Bake in the oven on 200C for approximately 40 minutes until the vegetables are ready.



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Phyllo “Cigars” with Beef and Lamb

This is a very famous oriental (middle-eastern, I guess) dish made with Phyllo dough. The original ones are usually deep-fried in oil and, therefore, become very fatty. In my version, I sprinkled the cigars with oil and then baked them. The result is very crispy and much less fatty. The only downside 🙂 is the fact that rolling them is still a lot of work.


Ingredients (for 20-25 units):

600 gr. meat (lamb mixed with beef)
1 large onion
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp crushed coriander seeds
1/3 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
12 sheets Phyllo

Salt and Pepper, as well as 1/4 glass of olive oil

The Process:

If your Phyllo dough is frozen (it is sold that way) – put in the fridge beforehand. Onion should be cut into small cubes.

In a heavy saucepan, heat the oil and fry the onions until they become transparent. Add beef and cook over high heat, stirring and breaking up the pieces of meat with a fork into gravel-like form.

When all the beef completely change color – add spices, salt, pepper; mix everything again and remove from heat.

Cool to the mixture to room temperature. Cut the Phyllo dough into quarters. It’s best to cut all the sheets at once (first cut into two rectangular halves, fold and stack these rectangles, then cut in half again into two squares). Beware, the dough is drying very fast, so while you wait for “rolling” the cut pieces of dough should be stacked and covered.

Now to the rolling itself:

Take one piece (quarter) of dough, and brush some oil on it. Do it lightly, being careful not to put too much oil and not to tear the “page” of dough. Then cover it with another square piece and brush it with oil as well.

Spread approximately 1/2 tablespoon of the meat mixture near one and and start rolling the cigar in the sequence shown below – first cover the part with the stuffing, then fold the sizes and roll into a tube.





Resulting rolls should be laid on a baking for covered with baking paper laid baking paper. Sprinkle some oil, preferably for a pressurized container (I used olive oil) and then bake in pre-heated oven for 30 minutes at 200C, until the exterior of the cigars turns golden brown. Serve hot – when they cool, the dough gathers moisture and looses the desired texture.

Bon Appetit!

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