Pichti, the Christmas appetizer. A jelly dish that hides tender pieces of pork that have been boiled in beef broth. A dish that I avoided as a child but am now looking for as an adult.
WHAT IS PICHTI
Pichti is a jelly dish that you will find mainly in Macedonia but also in other places such as Crete. It is served mainly as an appetizer, and its recipe varies by region. However, the basic technique used to make the pichti is the same as it involves boiling meat bones for many hours, from which the collagen necessary for coagulation is extracted. It is a dish similar to aspic with the difference that the coagulation of the pichti is due to the slow cooking of the bones, without any additional coagulant such as agar agar.
Basic ingredients of the recipe
To make pichti you will need the following ingredients:
- Beef bones
- Pork (leg or shoulder)
These four ingredients are enough to have a dreamy result. However, if you want you can add the following optional ingredients to your pichti:
- Red pepper flakes
Finally, if you want to impress your guests, do not forget to serve the pichti with a little fresh dill and edible flowers. I chose to serve the thick with cappuccino, a flower with spicy notes.
WHAT BONES DO WE USE?
The traditional pichti is made with pork bones, ears and legs. However, our family tradition includes beef bones instead of pork. In addition to the bones that we are used to making in our family, we also add pork, leg or shoulder cut into small portions.
HOW DO WE UNDERSTAND THAT IT IS READY?
The recipe for the pichti takes time for the natural collagen from the calf bones to diffuse into the water and make it thicken. Below you will see how I mention some times but they may differ in execution. This depends on the type of bone, the age of the animal and even how the bones are cut. To make sure it is ready, just try a few drops of the broth. If we feel a sticky feeling on our lips then it is ready.
Pichti, the Christmas appetizer
- beef bones
- 800 gr. pork, leg or shoulder (cut into portions)
- 3-5 cloves of garlic
- 1 carrot, cut into small cubes (optional)
- red pepper flakes (optional)
- fresh dill
- edible flowers
- In a large saucepan add the bones, after first rinsing them. Fill the pot with water until covered. Leave the bones in the water overnight.
- Rinse the bones very well and refill the pot with water until we cover them. Bring to a boil and with a small strainer remove the foam that will appear on the surface.
- Lower the heat and simmer for about 2 hours or until the amount of water is reduced to 3/4.
- Add the meat to the pot together with salt and cook for another 3-4 hours, or until the initial amount of broth is reduced to 1/4.
- Check if it is ready by tasting a few drops of the broth. If we feel that the broth sticks to our lips then it is ready.
- In the bowl of a blender, add a little of the broth together with the garlic cloves. Beat until the garlic dissolves. Return the broth to the pot.
- Remove the meat from the pot with a slotted spoon. Throw away any fat, and chop the meat with our hands.
- In a large mold, or many smaller ones, add the meat, the carrot pieces and the red pepper flakes.
- Drain the broth, passing it through a strainer that we have coated with tulpan, taste the salt and pour over the meat.
- Leave at room temperature and then, after the temperature of the broth drops, put it in the refrigerator overnight.
- Use a spatula to remove the fat that has frozen on the surface. Unmold by passing a knife to the walls of the mold to detach, or dip it for 1-2 minutes in hot water and turn it over on a plate.
- Serve with fresh dill and edible flowers.
So this was the pichti, the Christmas appetizer. A gelatinous appetizer that hides a tender pork that has been simmered in beef broth. If you want you can add a little carrot or even red pepper flakes.
I would be thrilled to hear from you. Even more, if you make my recipe and post a photo of it. Just don’t forget to share your photo under the hashtag #tetisflakes. Please do not hesitate to comment below or contact me on Instagram, or Facebook or Twitter!
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