In this classic Italian dish, sausages are poached in a rich broth until deeply flavored and meltingly tender.
Slideshow:More Italian Main Dishes
salted and brined meats
Two 4-pound chickens
2 3/4 cups kosher salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 gallons cold water
16 dried hot red chiles
6 bay leaves
4 heads of garlic, halved horizontally
2 large white onions, sliced
2 tablespoons black peppercorns
1 1/2 tablespoons coriander seeds
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 star anise pod, crushed
Eight 1 1/4-pound whole fresh pork shanks or one 6-pound veal shank, cut into 4 sections by the butcher
One 6-pound beef brisket
5 pounds garlic pork sausages
6 celery ribs, cut into thirds
6 carrots, cut into thirds
4 heads of garlic, cloves smashed
6 dried hot red chiles
6 bay leaves
3 large onions, quartered
2 cups parsley
1 fennel bulb, thickly sliced
One 1-ounce package thyme sprigs
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
2 bottles dry white wine
How to Make It
Step 1 salt and brine the meats
In a baking dish, rub the chickens with 1/4 cup of the salt. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
Step 2 salt and brine the meats
In a large pot, combine the remaining 2 1/2 cups of salt and the sugar with 1 gallon of the water and boil, stirring, until the salt and sugar dissolve, 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and add the chiles, bay leaves, garlic, onions, peppercorns, coriander, fennel and star anise. Add the remaining 2 gallons of water, the shanks and the brisket and refrigerate overnight.
Step 3 make the bollito
Rinse the chickens. Drain the brined meat; discard the garlic, onion and seasonings. Halve the brisket lengthwise along the grain. Divide the chicken, shanks, brisket and sausages between 2 pots. Divide the remaining ingredients between the pots and add enough water to cover the meats. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer until the chicken and sausages are cooked through, 1 hour; transfer to a roasting pan and cover loosely with foil.
Step 4 make the bollito
Continue to simmer the bollito until the shanks and brisket are very tender, 1 hour and 20 minutes. Add the shanks and brisket to the roasting pan. Strain the broth; discard the vegetables and spices. Spoon off the fat. Return all of the meat to the broth to rewarm.
Step 5 make the bollito
Pull large pieces of meat from the shanks; discard the bones. Thinly slice the brisket across the grain. Cut off the chicken drumsticks, thighs and wings and thickly slice the breast meat. Slice the sausages. Arrange the meats on platters and ladle broth on top to moisten them. Serve the remaining broth with the meats, or reserve for another use.