Medieval jerky

The preserving of meat and fish through drying, curing (salting), and pickling goes back to ancient Egypt, and in what is considered the oldest Arabic cookery book (10th century), there is already a recipe for antelope (!) jerky (قديد, qadīd). The recipe recreated here is from a 13th-century Tuniso-Andalusian cookery book and can be made with any kind of meat (in this case beef), which is cut it into strips and then put into a marinade of vinegar and salt for about half a day, after which it is seasoned with pepper, dried coriander, cumin, caraway, and murrī. Once these wonderful flavours have infused the meat, it is taken out and hung on a rope in the sun for a day — for those who do not have the luxury of sunlight, feel free to use an air dryer. It is ready when the meat has lost all of its moisture. Store in a jar in dark dry place. Interestingly enough, it was not supposed to be enjoyed as a snack, like today, but to be cooked and used ‘just like fresh meat’.


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