The Tradition of Brescian Skewers
4 June 2016
Skewers are a culinary artform that has been perfected in Brescia. This dish is has ancient rural origins and it is usually enjoyed for sunday lunch.
As per tradition, Brescian families get up early in the morning in order to prepare and cook these skewers.
Usually eaten with some polenta on the side, Brescian Skewers are prepared using assorted chunks of lean and fatty meats (chicken, rabbit, pork neck, shoulder and ribs) skewered in metal picks called ranfie.
Each different part of the Province has its own local version, yet they are all grilled over wood, with potatoes at each point of each skewer and sage leaves placed between meat pieces in order to give it a more tangy flavor.
The following are the most common ingredients:
- Pork neck pieces, 5 mm thick
- Thin bacon slices
- Chicken thighs, breast or wings
- Rabit (any part except the head and innards)
- Pork ribs
- Plenty of fresh sage
- Fine salt
The traditional recipe also included osei, that is slender beak birds, without eyes and legs but with all their innards, but this has been banned by restaurants and businesses.
Preparing skewers requires time, since meat must be placed in sticks for cooking, so it is very important that every single stick weighs the same in order for the dish to be evenly cooked.
Cut the meat in small chunks and make sure they are more or less the same size and skewer them with a stick, put a sage leaf and a slice of bacon between each piece of meat.
Each “sword” must be filled with different types of meat in the same order. The ideal order for a Brescian Skewer goes like this: rib, chicken, pork neck, rabbit. Potatoes are placed at both extremities of the concoction.
Once arranged, skewers are placed in a closed chamber rotisserie that contains a burning brazier for cooking, which lasts from 5 to 6 hours.
Butter and salt to taste can be added during cooking time.
Once cooked, meat should feature a brown/reddish color and a shiny, almost lacquered surface.
A nice meal with this dish is usually preceded with a bowl of Minestra Sporca, a light broth with liver that is quite popular in the area.
Brescian Skewers are an exquisite specialty that represents Brescia’s culinary tradition. The recipe for preparing them is well worth a try. Buon appetito!