Veal is a tasty and lean cut of meat. As I wrote before, the problem is to find a good supplier of meat from an animal that has not been mistreated.
Once that step is taken, and in France the meat is generally of good origin, you have a fine ingredient. You can eat it hot on the first day and serve cold slices later.
Here, I combined it with turnips, tomato, mushroom, garlic, potatoes and herbs.
- Veal blade, one kilo
- Small potatoes
- Several turnips
- Three tomatoes
- 250 grammes of mushrooms
- Four cloves of garlic
- Two shallots
- Two glasses of white wine
- Olive oil
- Salt, pepper
- Bouquet garni (mixed dried herbs)
- Fresh herbs such as oregano, marjoram, thyme, rosemary
- Pat dry the meat, salt lightly
- Heat olive oil in a casserole. Preheat an oven to 200 °C.
- Slice the shallots, break off some cloves of garlic from a head but keep the skin.
- Brown the meat on all sides in the hot oil. Add the shallots, garlic, mixed dried herbs and white wine, put on a lid and wait until the liquid starts to cook. Transfer the casserole to the oven and cook for 30 minutes, turning at least once.
- Meanwhile clean the tomatoes and cut in quarters, peel the turnips and cut up in parts, wash the potatoes and cut in two.
- After half an hour, add these prepared vegetables to the casserole and continue cooking for 15 minutes.
- Clean and slice the mushrooms, wash your choice of fresh herbs.
- After 15 minutes, remove the dried herbs and add the fresh herbs and mushrooms to the casserole and continue for another quarter of an hour.
- After that period, take the casserole from the oven, sprinkle some pepper over the meat and let it rest for at least 15 minutes. Take out the meat and put on a carving dish. Take out the vegetables and put in a side dish.
- You can add butter to the casserole and warm up the rests in the pan to a gravy, or add some more wine for a leaner sauce.
- Cut the meat and present on a plate surrounded by vegetables and with some sauce.
I am spending more and more time at my new house in the Ariège region. The kitchen is not ready yet so I keep things rather simple.
In this rural region, there are many producers that bring their ware directly to the market and raise their livestock with care.
There is a lady with a van on the Mirepoix market on Monday morning with meat from farmers in the mountains behind Foix. The meat is sealed in plastic packages and I buy for several days, putting it in the freezer.
We had a veal cutlet. It was not lightly pink as crate-raised veal would have been – the colour may be desirable for the client but not for the animal – and the cut was a bit too thick for an escalope. I cooked it in butter for 15 minutes, with a lid on the skillet to protect the freshly painted wall behind the old cooker of my aunt, and poured the juice of one lemon over it at the end.
I removed the veal and let it cool and reduced the sauce slightly before pouring over the meat. Some freshly-ground pepper and we had a delicious meal, with pasta and tomato/fresh herb cheese sauce.
The other day I made a grilled chicken with lemon and did not feel like throwing the remains away so I turned it into a chicken stock. Then my wife suggested I made risotto and then I saw nice veal shank at the butcher’s. The ossobuco, “bone with a hole” can be made in advance and is even nicer when reheated. It also takes several hours. Risotto is best eaten straight off the stove, because of the grated cheese, but leftovers can be reheated later.
Continue reading Milan-style Ossobuco and ceps risotto
Ossobucco, bone with a hole, is one of the many classic Italian recipes that take more patience than skill. The Milanese version has you coating the meat with flour and adding gremolata, a mixture of parsley and grated lemon rind.
Last week I went to the butcher’s in Mirepoix for some slices of cooked ham. Once there, I saw lovely veal shanks and veal tail and I could not resist. The tail I used for a veal stock but here I will give you my recipe for “jarret de veau”.
First I dried the meat and removed some bone splinters, then I tied it up around the bone. My ages-old Marcella Hazan cookbook told me to find a shank with the bone in the middle, but the anatomy of calves is that the bone is on the side of the meat so you should tie them up prevent it from falling apart.
I had some vegetables from the market, carrot, celery stick, onion. I chopped that up with some garlic and set it aside.
I put a combination of butter and oil in a casserole and browned the meat on all sides. I put them aside and added some pepper and salt. In the remaining fat, I baked the vegetables until tender. Then I put the meat back, added a glass of white wine (or vermouth) and a tin of chopped tomatoes. I let this simmer for a while before putting in an oven at 150 °C for two hours, with the lid on.
Towards the end, I chopped some fresh parsley and sprinkled it over the meat.
Veal is a very tender and lean kind of meat. Please make sure you are buying meat from a calve that has been able to drink mother’s milk and walk around and not from an industrial ‘crate’ veal.
This practice is luckily no longer tolerated in the European Union, but there remains a big difference between a milk-fed or formula-fed calf, or a free-raised calf. In France there are some labelled kinds of veal, and there are five quality classes
In French cuisine, the veal cutlets are often presented with a sauce, such as the Marengo sauce (fond brun, wine) or Normandy style with cream and apples.
In Germany, Switzerland and Austria, the cutlets are passed though flower and egg for a coating and then fried at high heat into schnitzels.
In Italy there is a recipe for cutlets — escalopini — with lemon and capers. This is a variation.
The cooking time is very short and the meat cools off quickly so prepare it shortly before serving.
- Two veal cutlets
- Two lemons
- olive oil
- Flatten the cutlets slightly with a dough roller (do not pound the meat as this will break its structure).
- Squeeze one lemon for its juice.
- Slice the other lemon in parts.
- Heat some butter and oil in a skillet.
- When sizzling, add the cutlets and fry for two minutes on each side.
- Add lemon juice to the pan and add pepper to one side of the meat, then turn and pepper on the other side, remove meat from the skillet. Continue heating the lemon/cooking juice liquid down to a few spoonfuls, and add to the meat.
- Place lemon quarters around the meat and serve.