Traditional Tuscan cuisine: Lamb's Bouillon, a typical Maremma recipe
The lamb bouillon is a recipe from traditional Tuscan cuisine but also the banner of an ancient time, made up of stories of nobles, skilled housewives, shepherds and distant tales.
The lamb shank: its origins
The lamb bouillon is the symbol of the Maremma of the butteri, the shepherds, the charcoal burners and that fascinating land depicted by Giovanni Fattori and narrated by Renato Fucini.
It is a dish that still animates the menus of the most authentic trattorias and remains the undisputed protagonist of festivals and village feasts such as those of Capalbio Scalo and San Martino sul Fiora.
The term bouillon is ambivalent: on one hand it recalls a distant assonance with the French bouillon, a noun indicating a careful and prolonged boiling of meat and fish, and on the other hand it is a typically Maremman term meaning a collection or 'jumble' of things.
One of the most fascinating aspects of the national culinary tradition is discovering how typical recipes originated. Often these origins are lost in the mists of time, and bouillon is no exception. One thing we know for sure, however: in Maremma bouillon rhymes exclusively with lamb. It is this meat that is the sole protagonist of that thick, fragrant and strong sauce that tantalizes the palate and beguiles the senses of the most unrepentant gourmets.
The bouillon was thus born in places where sheep-farming dominated the local economy and tells of long, freezing nights warmed by a soup of sheep meat, powerful red wine and a fire around which to find comfort.
There is, however, a parallel narrative that tells of aristocratic tables artfully laid and of leftovers brought to the kitchen and given to the servants in a gesture of improbable 'generosity', and it is precisely at this moment that the housewives mentioned at the beginning come into play.
Skilled hands throw nothing away but ingenuity: they remove the remaining meat from the bones, blanch it, season it with chopped olive oil, garlic, rosemary and parsley, and flood it with a cascade of tomato and red wine. After slow, patient cooking, the meat loses its identity and boundary, becoming a 'buglione' to be served with bread and embellished with Tuscan extra virgin olive oil, the region's green gold.br />
The recipe for lamb bouillon
Our journey of discovery of the lamb shank continues with the search for the recipe that will bring everyone together.
To find it, we decided to consult the works of Giovanni Righi Parenti. This eclectic pharmacist from Siena, born in the 1920s, was and still is a cornerstone of Tuscan cuisine.
Disappeared about 20 years ago, he left us an authentic heritage in terms of recipes and local food and wine traditions.
If you want to prepare the bouillon recipe, arm yourself with time, patience and curiosity.
For 4 persons, take 800 grams of lamb shoulder, cut it into cubes and leave it to soak for a few hours in a marinade consisting of red wine, vinegar, water and a mixture of aromatic herbs: sage, rosemary, bay leaf and a few basil leaves.
Prepare a fine chop with plenty of onion, a few cloves of garlic, chilli pepper and two thinly sliced rigatino.
The time has come to put the meat 'to make water', as the housewives of old used to say: drain it from the resting liquid and heat it over a low heat in a saucepan, preferably an earthenware one.
Take another saucepan, pour in plenty of oil and the previously prepared rigatino. Fry, paying attention to the rigatino, which should ooze gently without burning.
Add the meat, brown it and add half a glass of red wine and 300 grams of juicy tomatoes from which you have removed the skin and seeds.
Add three thinly sliced onions, a few carrots and cook, helping with some fat-free stock or plain lukewarm water and seasoning with salt and pepper.
Towards the end, when the meat has acquired an almost buttery consistency, add a tinge of nepitella (mint) and a generous grinding of black pepper.
The touch that cannot be missed is the bread. Slice some Tuscan bread, roast it and rub it with a clove of garlic.
Take a serving bowl, lay the bread on the bottom and add the bouillon. Allow the marriage of meat and bread to consume and serve with a glass of Chianti Dei Colli Senesi or a Morellino di Scansano.
Don't feel like or have time to try your hand at this preparation? Then all you have to do is book a lunch in the restaurants and trattorias where the authentic lamb buglione is still prepared. Among the best addresses are the Fidalma restaurant in Sorano, the Locanda Laudomia in Poderi di Montemerano, the trattoria Il Grillo in Pitigliano and the trattoria La Torre da Carla in Capalbio.
Hotel Residence Valle del Buttero: the breath of the Maremma
The Maremma cannot be described, it needs to be experienced and breathed in at full lungs. This vast strip of land, overlooking the Ligurian Sea and the Tyrrhenian Sea, is a rare natural jewel chiselled from unique and precious elements: the lake environment, the crystal-clear sea, the very long beaches, the fine, light-coloured sand, but also the plains, the woods, the fertile soils and a sun that smells good.
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Our hotel is located just a few kilometres away from all the attractions of the Maremma, but above all it is a perfect starting point for your excursions to discover the authentic lamb. What are you waiting for? Book a room and get ready for a unique and unforgettable experience in our Maremma!