Priest's Hat: Nutritional Properties, Role in Diet and How to Cook

Priest's Hat: Nutritional Properties, Role in Diet and How to Cook


What is the priest's hat?

Cappello del prete is a name used to indicate products of the same fundamental group of foods, totally different as regards the nutritional properties, but similar for the typical triangular or tricornuta shape.

With the words priest's hat, therefore, we could identify:

  • Fresh cut of beef, which is part of the forequarter, more precisely the shoulder; other synonyms are "shoulder" and "shoulder pulp"
  • Pork sausage "to be cooked" - such as, for example, cotechino, zampone and salama da sugo Ferrara - typical of the Po Valley, from the provinces of Parma and Piacenza, which enjoys the recognition of Typical Agri-food Product (PAT). It is packaged by separating the staple and scapula muscles, which will be tanned with salt and spices, and then stuffed into the rind suitably processed and sewn in the shape of a triangle. A seasoning period will follow between two wooden boards, after which it will be ready to be cooked in the traditional way. Note: unlike the sausages mentioned above, this one contains whole anatomical cuts, not ground.

Sources of high biological value proteins, vitamins - especially of the B group - and specific minerals - mainly bioavailable iron, phosphorus and zinc - both types of priest's hat belong to the XNUMXst fundamental group of foods. Like all meats, they are also a natural source of cholesterol, saturated fatty acids - globally equal to or even less than unsaturated, although the ratio may change depending on the case - of purines and amino acid phenylalanine - contraindicated for hypersensitive subjects but harmless to healthy people. They do not have a particularly high digestibility. The portion and frequency of consumption of the anatomical cut and the sausage are different from each other. In the first case it can be superimposed on that of all fresh meats, in the second - due to the possible presence of fat contained in the coating rind - it is lower.

In the kitchen, both types of priest's hats are used to prepare second courses; this does not mean that they cannot be ingredients of excellent quality for selected ground products intended for sauces and fillings. The priest's hat is considered a low-quality cut. Rich in collagen, it lends itself exclusively to prolonged cooking and absolutely DON'T raw food or blood preparations. The shoulder and the coppa are normally used in cooking "pulled pork", a typically American recipe that can be reproduced on the barbecue as well as in the oven. It is one of the most suitable pieces for braised beef. Boiled, beef is part of the official Piedmontese boiled meat recipe and is widely used to prepare meat broth.

The cut of fresh meat in the priest's hat has a moderate cost; the sausage on the other hand, for the processing it requires, is more expensive. However, as with all products, this characteristic depends above all: on the subspecies or animal breed, on the sex, on the age, on the breeding etc.

Nutritional Properties

Nutritional properties of the priest's hat

Classifiable in the XNUMXst fundamental group, both types of priest's hats are foods rich in proteins with a high biological value, specific vitamins and minerals. They have an average energy intake in the case of the anatomical cut and higher in the case of the sausage.

Calories are mainly provided by proteins and lipids - higher in pork sausage - while carbohydrates are absent. The peptides have a high biological value, that is, they contain all the essential amino acids in the right quantities and proportions compared to the human model. Fatty acids are predominantly unsaturated, especially monounsaturated, followed almost equally by saturated ones; polyunsaturates, consisting mainly of omega 6, are the least significant fat portion.

Cholesterol is present in significant quantities, especially in pork sausages, while in beef muscle it could be defined in line with those of the muscle meats category - therefore decidedly lower than egg yolk, crustaceans, certain molluscs, offal etc. Both types of priest's hats do not contain dietary fiber, gluten and lactose; the pork sausage can mature a certain concentration of histamine. Instead, they have significant amounts of purines and phenylalanine amino acids.

From a vitamin point of view, these are foods in line with products belonging to the same category. In relation to our nutritional needs, they mainly contain water-soluble vitamins of group B, such as niacin (vit PP), pyridoxine (vit B6) and cobalamin (vit B12); the others of group B are proportionally less relevant - thiamine (B1), riboflavin (B2), pantothenic acid (vit B5), biotin (vit H) - ascorbic acid (vitamin C) and all the fat soluble (vit A, vit D, vit E, vit K).

Even with regard to mineral salts, the two types of priest's hats do not stray too far from the relative group they belong to. The iron content is good, but also zinc and phosphorus; they also provide potassium.


Priest's hat in the diet

The anatomical cut of the priest's hat can be inserted in most diets. If obtained from a young animal, therefore thin, without the addition of seasonings and well trimmed from fat - from medium-aged animals, therefore not mature - it could also be used in the diet of certain clinical conditions such as severe overweight and hypercholesterolemia. - although it would be advisable to prefer lean meats such as chicken, turkey, horse, lean fish, etc. Pork sausage, on the other hand, being covered with rind to which a certain layer of fat is retained, is to be avoided in the case of a low-calorie normolipid slimming diet.

Both should not be included in the diet too frequently and systematically, as they must alternate with other foods of the same nutritional role: other meats (game, offal, poultry), fishery products (fin fish, crustaceans, molluscs) and eggs.

Rich in high biological value proteins, they are very useful in the diet of those who have a greater need for all essential amino acids; for example: pregnancy and breastfeeding, growth, extremely intense and / or prolonged sporting practice, old age - for eating disorder and tendency to geriatric malabsorption - pathological malabsorption, recovery from specific or generalized malnutrition, defedation, etc.

By virtue of the reasonable cholesterol content and the acceptable percentage of saturated fat, the anatomical cut of the priest's hat can be used in the diet against hypercholesterolemia, as long as the portion and frequency of consumption are acceptable. Note: in food therapy against dyslipidemias it is however less appropriate than fish - finnuts proper - rich in omega 3 (EPA and DHA). Pork sausage, on the other hand, being richer, should be avoided. They are neutral foods for those suffering from hyperglycemia and / or type 2 diabetes mellitus, hypertriglyceridemia and primary arterial hypertension.

Like other meats, the two types of priest's hats are to be avoided or moderated in case of severe hyperuricemia - tendency to gout - and kidney stones or lithiasis caused by uric acid crystals; should be completely excluded from the diet for phenylketonuria. They show no contraindications for lactose intolerance and celiac disease; they should also be harmless to histamine intolerance. Both the anatomical cut and the sausage are appreciable sources of bioavailable iron and participate in covering the metabolic needs, higher in fertile women, pregnant women, marathon runners and vegetarians - especially vegans. Note: iron deficiency can cause iron deficiency anemia. They contribute to the satisfaction of the need for phosphorus, a mineral very common in food but still very abundant in the body - in particular in the bones in the form of hydroxyapatite, in the phospholipids of cell membranes and in nervous tissue, etc. The zinc content - essential for hormonal and enzymatic antioxidant production - is more than appreciable. They are not to be considered essential sources of potassium, but they still participate in satisfying the body's demand - greater in case of increased sweating, for example in sports, increased diuresis and diarrhea; the lack of this alkalizing ion - essential for the membrane potential and very useful in the fight against primary arterial hypertension - induces, especially related to lack of magnesium and dehydration, the onset of muscle cramps and general weakness.

The two types of priest's hats are very rich in B vitamins, coenzyme factors of great importance in cellular processes. They can therefore be considered an excellent support to the functioning of the various body tissues.

They are not allowed in the vegetarian and vegan diet; they are inadequate for Hindu and Buddhist nutrition. Pork sausage is not a kosher and halal food.

After total cooking, they are also allowed in the diet during pregnancy. The average portion of the anatomical cut is about 100-150 g; that of the sausage equal to or less than 100 g.


Cooking the priest's hat

Cooking the priest's hat - anatomical cut of beef

The anatomical cut of the priest's hat lends itself mainly to the preparation of main courses. Together with other pieces of secondary value, such as fresh ham, it is often used for minced meat intended for hamburgers, meatballs, meat sauce, various fillings, etc.

Due to the firm and compact texture of the meat, it should not be eaten raw. On the contrary, it requires slow and prolonged cooking, which is essential for the dissolution of collagen. The most suitable methods of heat transmission for cooking the priest's hat are mixed:

  • Conduction: from the container / pot to the meat, and from the cooking liquid to the meat
  • Convection: from air and steam to meat; it takes place mainly inside the oven or covered pans.

The recommended temperatures are of medium entity and generally long times; for example, to cook a cut of a couple of kilograms, the oven could be set at 140 ° C for about 3-4 hours, so that the meat - suitably covered - gradually reaches 95 ° C at the core and thus melts the collagen without drying out. By cooking a smaller roast instead - no more than one kilogram - you could take advantage of higher temperatures (170-190 ° C) and shorter times (about 60 ').

The most used cooking techniques or systems are: braising, stewing, indirect cooking on the American barbecue and possibly in the oven, boiling in water.

Your country's most famous recipes based on the priest's hat are: Piedmont-style boiled meat, larded roast and braised beef. It is also an ingredient for meat broth.

Cooking the priest's hat - pork sausage

The bagged priest's hat - pork - is a preparation aimed at itself. It requires a preliminary soaking in order to soften the external rind. Subsequently it will be cooked in the same way as the cotechino, the pot salami, the Ferrara salama da sugo and the zampone; dipped in cold water, it must reach a boil and keep it for the time necessary to partially dissolve the collagen - about 3 hours.

It is mainly accompanied with stewed lentils, mashed potatoes and various kinds of sauces such as horseradish (horseradish sauce) or green sauce.


Description of the priest's hat

The priest's hat is also called shoulder or more precisely shoulder pulp. In cattle, as much as in pigs, it has a more or less triangular - trapezoidal shape, and is mainly made up of the muscles that move the scapula.

In English, pork is made from a piece called "boston butt" while beef from the anatomical region "chuck and blade".

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