Discovering marinated meat: aromas and spices for a specialty that tickles the palate

The marination is an ancient and effective culinary technique that allows you to transform even the simplest cut of meat into a succulent and tasty gastronomic specialty. It is an extremely versatile procedure because it can be used for all types of meat: white or red, pork, beef or poultry.

Europrodotti offers natural aromas and spices with which you can prepare infinite combinations of cooked marinades that give to the senses a variety of tastes and aromas and a unique and unforgettable tenderness.

What is the meaning of “marinating the meat”?

Marinating meat means dipping it in a bath of herbs and spices. Thanks to this culinary technique you can obtain four different results at the same time:

  1. to make the meat more tender;
  2. to enrich its flavor and aroma;
  3. to extend the duration of its conservation;
  4. to replace the cooking.

The marination offers you many advantages with a single procedure. Is that enough for you to understand its importance in the kitchen?

Originally the marinades were simple brines (The magic of aromas and spices in cooked ham), i.e. solutions of water and salt. Already the expression marinated meat suggests that sea water was the first ingredient used for this preparation.

Today we know that the use of salt prevents the proliferation of bacteria that attack food. It was enough for ancient peoples to observe that with wet salting the meat of game and farmed animals, fish and even vegetables could be stored for long periods while remaining edible.

To establish the precise amount of salt that the solution should contain empirical methods were used, for example by dipping an egg in a barrel of brine. If this floated the relationship between water and salt was the most suitable for preserving food.

The meat treated with wet salting could remain edible for years even if not everyone appreciated the too strong flavor it offered to the palate. To tone down the excessively savory taste other ingredients selected on the basis of local availability began to be added to the brine: lemon juice and olive oil in Mediterranean countries, spices in the East, wine and vinegar in Europe as well as garlic and onion, plants available practically everywhere.

The addition of aromatic herbs, spices and liquid condiments far exceeded the expectations of those who simply wanted to balance the salty taste of meat. Not only these ingredients increased the effectiveness of the brine thanks to their antibacterial function but they also enhanced the original qualities of the dish, enriching it with new nuances of taste.

Around the world in 17 marinated meat recipes

In the past the marinating technique was linked to the need to increase the preservation of the meat. Thanks to it sailors and travelers were able to face long journeys by sea and by land and entire communities managed to overcome periods of famine. Today marinating allows you to face and overcome other challenges: those in the kitchen of great chefs and amateur cooks.

If also you want to embark on this venture you must know that any food can be marinated: meat and entrails, fish and molluscs, vegetables, cheeses and even desserts. There are therefore no limits to the creative abilities with which you can use aromatic baths. Think, for example, of the famous marinated egg yolk by Carlo Cracco.

However meat remains the favorite ingredient in marinades and some recipes based on this preparation have become typical specialties of international cuisine. Here is a list of marinated meats that all the connoisseurs should try at least once in their life.

  1. Anticuchos, Peruvian beef heart skewers marinated overnight in red wine vinegar, cumin, garlic and red and green chiles.
  2. Baeckeoffe, Alsace specialty made from lamb, pork or beef marinated in a solution of white wine, cloves, thyme, laurel, garlic and onions.
  3. Boeuf à la mode en gelée, jellied cold beef marinated in red wine flavored with brandy, thyme, laurel, garlic and bacon.
  4. Boeuf bourguignon, very famous specialty of French cuisine that has made of the beef stew an elegant and refined dish. The marinade is prepared with a full-bodied red wine, traditionally a Burgundy, olive oil, onion, garlic, parsley, thyme, laurel and black pepper.
  5. Brasato al Barolo, typical Italian dish from the regions of Piedmont and Lombardy also known in Emilia-Romagna and Tuscany with the name of stracotto. This dish is an example of how the marinade is ideal for preparing cuts of meat difficult to cook such as the cappello del prete. The beef is dipped for six to twelve hours in Barolo wine together with carrots, onions, garlic, thyme, rosemary, sage and parsley.
  6. Bulgogi, Korean barbecued beef treated with soy sauce, sesame, honey, onions and garlic.
  7. Coq au vin, another classic of the French culinary tradition. The meat of the rooster is soaked overnight in red wine, also from Burgundy, with onions, carrots, shallot, garlic, parsley, thyme, laurel, salt, pepper and pieces of bacon.
  8. Corned beef, pre-cooked salted beef typical of Irish and American cuisine. There isn’t a shared rule about the preparation of the condiment but among the most used spices and aromas we can mention ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, laurel, pepper, coriander, mustard, juniper berries and cloves.
  9. Hasenpfeffer, German hare or rabbit stew marinated in a sauce made with wine, vinegar, laurel, onions, juniper berries and black pepper.
  10. Kebab, Turkish dish that has become the king of street-foods. A book could be dedicated just to describe the different variations of kebab, from the Greek gyro to the Arabic shawarma. Although it is now prepared with any type of meat, from chicken to veal, the original recipe calls for lamb seasoned with salt, pepper, paprika and parsley.
  11. Pastrami, a recipe of Jewish cuisine prepared with brisket of beef hides behind this curious name. The ingredients of the marinade include spices and condiments with a decidedly spicy taste such as pepper, paprika, mustard, garlic and coriander.
  12. Pollo a la brasa, Peruvian dish marinated for 24 hours in a flavored liquid made from lime juice, white wine, red pepper, coriander, garlic, ginger, cumin and oregano.
  13. Pollo Marbella, this name should not deceive because it is the typical American chicken treated with a mixture of oil, vinegar, olives, plums, capers, garlic, laurel, oregano, salt and pepper.
  14. Rehrücken Baden-Baden, Bavarian game dish. The protagonist of this recipe is the venison saddle, sometimes replaced by wild boar meat. The marinade is prepared with a very full-bodied red wine, onions, juniper berries, carrots, peppercorns, laurel and a cinnamon stick.
  15. Rheinischer sauerbraten, German dish that could win many gastronomic records: from the size of the cut of beef which constitutes the main ingredient (two kilos of rump or round) to the duration of the dipping in the marinade (from three to five days in an aromatic bath of coriander, laurel, chilli pepper, cloves and mustard seeds).
  16. Satay, Southeast Asian chicken, beef, pork and lamb skewers much appreciated in Southeast Asia. They are flavored with turmeric, garlic, shallots, pepper and coriander seeds.
  17. Zhangcha ya, translated from Chinese this name means tea-smoked duck. The meat is prepared by soaking a whole duck in rice wine or sherry with star anise, pepper, ginger and garlic.

Finding the perfect combination of seasonings for a marinade can be a problem both in the large kitchens of starred restaurants and in small home kitchens. Europrodotti guarantees a solution with its vast assortment of natural flavorings and spices, ingredients free of allergenic substances suitable for any type of meat: bacon, chicken, turkey, lamb, beef, veal and pastrami.

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