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Roasted chine of pork of the Council of Firenze

(L'arista in "arrosto bastardo" del Concilio di Firenze)

Quantity for 8/10 people

  • 2,5 - 3 Kilos of chine of pork with bone
  • a thick shake of rosemary
  • sage
  • salt
  • pepper
  • spices and olive oil
  • the skin (only the yellow part) of 2 lemons
  • a well mixed stuff composed by 2/3 of salt, 1/3 of black pepper and some spices
  • a meat stock cube
  • olive oil
Remove from the bone of the chine pork any internal and external fat parts (even if you had better leaving a covering of fat in the external part of the meat) and perforate the loin, going through one side to the other, entire its length over the bone, with a long and sharp knife with thin blade. Then salt uniformly the piece of meat with the mixture of salt - pepper - spices pushing it also in the holes you have first made with the knife. Now spread abundantly all the piece of meat with the over-mentioned shake and push it, with a finger, inside the above holes. In the same holes push also the skins of lemon. Then position the loin in a roasting tin with high edges and leave it for a night to flavour. At the right time prepare the oven at a temperature of 180° C, take the tin with the chine of pork, add 5-6 spoons of olive oil, the meat stock cube and hot water until the meat will be semi-sunken.
Put in the oven, cook without covering until the water will be almost dried and remember to turn the meat each 10 minutes in order to have a uniform roasting. It will take about one hour and a half to have a right cooking, that means to have a very tender and succulent meat, inside, and very crispy outside. It can be eaten, preferably warm, with fresh beans cooked at the "uccelletto" or it can be eaten, but in this case cold, with boiled and cold beans, with some fresh onions, chopped very finely, and seasoned with olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper.
In Tuscany the pork's loin is called "arista" (chine of pork); from the same kind of piece, but only with veal, it is possible to obtained the famous "Bistecche alla Fiorentina" (Florentine Steaks). The difference is represented by the fact that the steaks are cut one by one when they are row, according to the classical cross piece rib by rib, while the chine of pork is cooked in bigger pieces (that is why we have indicated an amount for 8/10 people) and then cut in small steaks, but only after the cooking, at the moment they have to be served. Also the cooking method is different (grill for the steak, spit or oven for the chine of pork) as well as the cooking point (with blood - or not well cooked - for the steak, homogeneous for the chine of pork).
It is a common opinion that the chine of pork is equally good, both cold and warm. We do not agree with this opinion: we prefer very hot chine of pork, when it is cooked classically, on the spit; while we prefer it cold when it is cooked in the oven, particularly in "arrosto bastardo" (this term was used by Francesco Gaudenzio, a Florentine cook of the XVII century), because the meat remains more succulent and damper in the inside.
This is the reason why we present the chine of pork like a winter course, but with considerable success in summer months.
Its name (it is not possible to find it outside Tuscany) is linked to a legend born during the Ecumenical Council to reunite the creeds and announced by Pope Eugenio IV in 1439 under the aegis of Cosimo "Il Vecchio" dei Medici. During this Council, the Fathers of the Eastern Church, while eating this course, murmured "aristos" that means good in Greek language.

A Giuseppe Alessi recipe
Translated by Gianna Toni

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