3-4kg beef topside or silverside

1kg coarse sea salt

12 sprigs rosemary

12 bay leaves

20 cloves

4 garlic cloves, crushed

1 tbsp cracked black peppercorns

2 teaspoons dried chilli flakes

5-6 strips finely pared orange zest

5-6 strips finely pared lemon zest

1 bottle red wine


Trim the outside of the meat of any fat or sinews, and remove any string.

Mix all the ingredients for the marinade, place in a non-metallic container into which the joint will fit quite snugly and then add the meat, turning it to coat it well. Cover and leave in a cool place – the fridge if you like. Turn the meat over twice a day for five days, then remove and pat dry with a tea towel. Wrap it in a double layer of muslin, tie up with string and hang in a dry but cool and draughty place (like an outbuilding or covered porch) for at least 10 days. It should be fairly hard to the touch.

Bresaola should be trimmed before slicing. Cut away the outer 5mm from the bit you’re going to slice. Slice very thinly across the grain of the meat, ideally with an electric meat slicer. You will notice that the outer edges of each slice are browner than the interior; this is normal and no cause for alarm. A finished bresaola can be hung in a cool place for up to a month and used as and when you need it, but in warm weather, transfer to the fridge. Always wrap in muslin or a cotton cloth, not clingfilm, so the bresaola can breathe and not sweat.

To serve, spread the thin slices out on a plate (4-5 slices per person) and trickle with the best olive oil. Rocket or finely chopped chives can be used as a garnish, along with a wedge of lemon (only a very few drops are needed), or even (Hugh’s own eccentric version) thin slices of pink grapefruit.

Source: Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall 'The River Cottage Meat Book'

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Soil Association
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Food and Drink Devon
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The Well Hung Meat Company

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