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How to make Pastirma with Truffle Oil and Dates

How to make Pastirma with Truffle Oil and Dates

Pastirma which is also called basturma, pastourma, bastırma, as well as basterma, is a seasoned, air-dried cured beef that is part of the cuisines of a number of countries including Albania, Turkey, Armenia etc. Each country has their own recipe on how to make Pastirma.
Prep Time 4 hrs
Cook Time 10 mins
Resting time 30 d
Course Appetizer
Cuisine Albanian, Turkish
Servings 10 peopl
Calories 350 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 2 pieces Filet Mignon
  • a lot Kosher Salt
  • 100 ml Truffle Oil
  • 500 gr Dry Dates
  • 4 cans Beer

Instructions
 

Phase 1 : Marination of Pastirma

  • In a big bowl, add the two pieces of meat and mix them with 4 cans of beer. In this case I used Paulaner but you might use any type of beer you like. Beer has enzymes which will break down the protein of the meat to make it more tender and also add a unique taste to it. Cover the bowl and leave it in the fridge overnight. The next day the beef is ready. Take the meat out of the beer bowl, and wash it thoroughly with water. Now it is ready for the next phase.

Phase 2 : Sterilization of Pastirma

  • This phase is very very important. Raw meat is a great carrier of bacteria such as e coli, salmonella etc. Make sure to buy organic expensive meat. We don’t want to use cheap meat since its usually not taken care that well. In a small baking pan, add one layer of kosher salt. Do not use regular salt because it will add a lot of saltiness to the meat.
  • Take the beef and make sure to cut all the visible pieces of fat. We want the least amount of fat to the meat because it ruins the taste. After that, crush some black pepper and cover both sides of the meat. Put them in the baking pan with salt, and cover until you cannot see the beef anymore. Make sure to put the pieces separately from each other. When you cover the meats with salt, put a very heavy object on top of the salt.
  • This will press the meat with salt, that’s why it is called Pastirma (‘being pressed’ in Turkish). What this salt bath will do is that it will kill almost all the bacteria in the meat so that later on, it will be safe to eat raw. Put the pan in the fridge for 2 days. After 2 days, take it out and drain the water. You might want to flip the meats. Put it back in the fridge for another day.
  • On the third day, the meat is ready to dry. Wash it thoroughly with water to remove excessive salt. Some people prefer to soak it in water for 24 hours, but I like beef to be salty, that is why I skip this step.

Phase 3 : Drying in the Fridge

  • Cover the meats with 2 or 3 layers of cheese cloth. Make sure to press it using cotton strings. Hang the beef inside the fridge. Make sure to put a small bowl below them since they might drop some water. If you want to be fancy, you can also use a refrigerator whose purpose is to dry meat. We are going to leave the meat dry in the fridge for at least 10 days.
  • Make sure to air your fridge daily, since it will start to smell due to the meat drying process. It is very important to also check the cloth in case some bacteria is being developed. If that is the case, it means the quality of the meat is not that good and cannot be used to make Pastirma.

Phase 4 : Drying outside the Fridge

  • After 10 days in the fridge, now its time to move to the other phase. Remove the old cheese cloth from the meat and cover them up with new cheese cloth. You might notice the old cheese cloth will be partially red because of the blood. Make sure to press the meat with cotton strings. When the meats are fully wrapped, add a few drops of truffle oil on top of the cloth.
  • Make sure the whole cheese cloth becomes yellow because of the truffle drops. Hang the cured meats in a dark shelf. We need to make sure the temperature is no more than 60 degrees F.
  • The beef will stay in the shelf for about 7 days. Make sure to add additional drops of truffle oil day by day to emphasize the flavor. On the seventh day, take a small bowl and mix the meats with the leftover truffle oil. Cover them in plastic wrap and put them in the fridge overnight. The next morning, Pastirma is ready to be consumed.
  • Another great option to dry the meat and add more flavor to it, is to use a room with a wooden oven. This technique has been used for years in so many countries. Basically, you hang the meat in the ceiling and then you use the oven to produce a lot of smoke. The smoke will eventually get into the meat to give that perfect smokey taste. Also, if your oven is fancy enough, check the manual because it might have an option to smoke the meat inside of it. Just be careful not to raise the temperature too high.

Here is a very simple appetizer I have developed

  • Cut the Pastirma in very thin slices (just like prosciutto). Take a few dates and remove the pits. Cover the dates with Pastirma. To make the Pastirma stay, use a toothpick. This will be a great appetizer for your family and friends. I would recommend to eat them with red Cabernet wine. The meat can stay in the fridge for month, depending on how well it is maintained, and if it is contaminated with other food.
  • *Consuming raw or under-cooked meats, poultry, seafood, shellfish or eggs may increase your risk of food-borne illness
Keyword Albanian Food, Pasterma