Archive for the 'Veal' Category

Chuleta de Ternera al Ajo Cabañil (Veal Chops, Shepherd Style)

Veal Chops, Shepherd Style

I’m starting to feel that the only thing I do on here is apologize for not posting more often.  My current excuse is that the holidays were hectic.  Angela’s parents came to visit for a week and then we went skiing in Vermont.   But now I’m back and will hopefully be able to provide a little more attention to this food blog of mine.

This meal actually occurred before our New England winter sojourn.  Angela’s mother (my mother-in-law) spent a significant portion of her college experience in Spain (she’s now a Spanish teacher).  Given that she hasn’t been back to Spain since, I had the bright idea that maybe I could bring a little bit of Spain to her by making something Spanish.  It didn’t hurt that I had a new Spanish cookbook that I haven’t had a good opportunity to explore.

Veal Chops

While Angela’s parents were here, we finally decided to take them up on their offer to let us do what we normally do (we always respond that we don’t normally do much of anything and that it’d be boring for them).  I was in desperate need of some black peppercorns, so we set out in search of the Penzey’s in Falls Church. That portion of the trip was relatively uneventful (except for being told that they are discontinuing the Sarawak peppercorns that we prefer). On our way back, we passed a 7-Eleven where we stopped to pickup a soda. Driving into the parking lot, I noticed that there was the Lebanese Butcher in the same shopping center. While not a particularly large shop, they do have a good selection of meats (but no pork) at good prices (particularly for veal). Because of the prices and the fact that we wanted something fairly simple, we settled on the veal chops. I also picked up some tahini, pomegranate molasses, and rose flower water. The last two are a bit harder to come by in western stores and have nothing to do with this recipe.

Mise en Place for Veal Chops, Shepherd Style

This is a fairly simple recipe but I managed to mess it up a bit when I made it.  After you brown the veal, liquid is added and it’s cooked at a low temperature for 10 to 15 minutes (simply 15 minutes in the original recipe).  Unfortunately, different stoves have different settings for low.  When we were in California, low meant turning the knob just lower than medium (anything lower and it wouldn’t cook at all).  Here in Virginia, low is turning the knob to almost off.  While I prefer this stove to the California stove, it meant that I overcooked the veal.  It wasn’t bad, just not quite where I’d like.  So be careful about what temperature it’s cooked at.

Veal Chops Cooking

Chuleta de Ternera al Ajo Cabañil (Veal Chops, Shepherd Style)
Adapted from The Foods and Wines of Spain

2 tbsp olive oil
4 veal rib chops, about 3/4″ thick
2 garlic cloves, minced
salt and pepper
1/2 tsp paprika
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
1 tbsp chicken broth

  1. Season the veal chops with salt and pepper.
  2. Heat the oil in a large skillet over high heat.  When the oil is hot, brown the chops on both sides.
  3. Add the garlic, salt, pepper, paprika, vinegar, and broth and lower the heat to low.  Cook for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the veal chops are cooked to the desired doneness.
  4. Serve immediately with roast potatoes.

Serves 4.

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Homemade Bratwurst

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For home cooking, there are a few things that you usually buy pre-made and aren’t really considered convenience foods: bacon, puff pastry, and sausage. Except, I decided that it would be fun to make my own sausage. And that’s when I realized I was a real foodie.

It’s not as if I don’t have access to quality sausage (the local butcher shop makes their own even if they seem to run out of hot Italian sausage before I can ever buy it). It really was a crazy idea.

In my defense, I did get the food grinding and sausage stuffing attachments for “free.” My employer offered a $50 gift certificate for completing a short health survey that I then applied to sausage making equipment.

Bratwurst isn’t the first batch of sausage that I made. That honor would go to garlic sausage that ended up too garlicy and not salty enough. That’s also when we found out that Angela is much better at feeding the meat into the casings than I am (I get to push the meat into the stuffer).

Will had planned an Oktoberfest themed Halloween party and I offered to bring homemade bratwurst. On the Monday before Halloween, Will came over for dinner and documented the process (all images except the top one are Will’s) of sausage making. It’s amazing the number of sexual innuendos you can make when making sausage; particularly when part of the process is done by your wife.

Making sausage is actually pretty easy as long as you have the proper equipment. I use a KitchenAid Mixer with the Food Grinder Attachment and Sausage Stuffer Attachment. The key issue is keeping everything really cold at all times. This is particularly true for the grinding portion or the fat will start to melt and the grinder won’t work anymore (this happened the first time I made sausage; I didn’t have the meat on ice and towards the end the grinding die kept getting gummed up with melted fat).

So how good was the sausage? Good enough that we didn’t remember to take any pictures of the bratwurst when it was cooked. Good enough that all that we cooked was eaten (and we made extra). Good enough that people wanted to take some home with them. Good enough that Angela, who doesn’t particularly like sausage (which means that I’m even crazier for wanting to make sausage), loved it. It was the best sausage I’ve had and that includes some in Germany and Austria.

So, I’ve made sausage and I have some panchetta curing (which is close enough to bacon for me). I suppose I need to make some puff pastry at some point.

Homemade Bratwurst
Adapted from Charcuterie

1350 grams (3 lbs.) boneless pork shoulder butt, cut into 2 inch pieces
450 grams (1 lb.) boneless veal shoulder, cut into 2 inch pieces (or substitute 1 lb. ground veal)
450 grams (1 lb.) pork belly, skinless, cut into 2 inch pieces
40 grams (1 1/2 oz.) kosher salt
6 grams (2 tsp) ground white pepper
5 grams (1 1/2 tsp) ground ginger
5 grams (1 1/2 tsp) grated nutmeg
2 eggs, lightly beaten, very cold
1 cup heavy cream, very cold
10 feet hog casings

  1. Combine all ingredients except eggs, cream, and casings in a large bowl. Toss to distribute the seasonings evenly. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
  2. Place the hog casings in a bowl of water and refrigerate overnight.
  3. Several hours before grinding, place the food grinder, mixer bowl, paddle attachment, and any other attachments in the freezer.
  4. Remove the meat mixture from the refrigerator and place in a bowl of ice and salt. Grind the mixture through the small die into the mixer bowl set in a bowl of ice and salt.
  5. Beat the mixture with the paddle attachment on low speed for 1 minute. Add the eggs and cream and increase speed to medium. Mix until the mixture is uniform. Refrigerate the bowl until ready to stuff.
  6. Sauté a small portion of the sausage in a small bit of oil and taste for seasoning.
  7. Remove the hog casings from the refrigerator and rinse both the inside and outside of the casings in running water.
  8. Setup the sausage stuffer using the largest stuffing attachment. Place meat in the sausage stuffer and turn on to low speed until the meat is just at the end of the attachment. Slide the opening in the casing onto the stuffer and then push the remaining casing onto the stuffer until there is about an inch hanging off. Tie off the end of the casings. Slowly push the meat mixture into the sausage stuffer while holding the casing and letting the meat fill it (this is a two person job). The speed is determined by the speed of the meat being putting into the stuffer not the speed of the mixer. When there is no more casing, tie it off and repeat this step with the remaining casing.
  9. Twist the sausage into 6 inch long segments and cut with shears.
  10. Cook the sausage to an internal temperature of 150ºF.

Makes 5 lbs. of sausage.

Escalopes de Veau à l’Estragon (Veal Scallops with Brown Tarragon Sauce)

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I like veal a lot. The only problem is finding it. In our area, the only types I can find are veal scallops, veal chops, and ground chops. And, once in a great while, veal blade steak. And, sadly, while we have ethnic grocery stores in our area, none are the type to carry veal (they’re all Asian or Hispanic).

So, in most cases, I stick with veal scallops which aren’t quite as expensive as the veal chops. To Americans, the classic preparation of veal must be in veal parmesan (which has been mostly subsumed by the chicken variety). While it’s good (and I’ve made it and will probably make it again), I think the veal flavor gets overwhelmed by the tomato sauce and cheese.

When I pull out of the freezer, I usually look for something a bit out of the ordinary. While veal isn’t a special occasion dish for us, it is a bit more special than a normal dinner. French preparations seem a bit better at emphasizing the flavor of the veal without overwhelming it.

The major reason for choosing this recipe was that I had fresh tarragon that I wanted to use. The dish is fairly fast and the main time constraint was boiling water for pasta twice because I didn’t discover that the egg noodles had bugs in them until after the pasta was in the water (I switched to farfalle in fresh water afterwards; I didn’t need extra protein that night). The sauce nicely accents the veal without overpowering it. It also has the consistency of a cream sauce without having any actual cream in it.

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Escalopes de Veau à l’Estragon (Veal Scallops with Brown Tarragon Sauce)
Adapted from Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume One

4 veal scallops (veal scallopini)
salt and pepper
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tbsp minced shallots
2 tbsp vermouth
2 tsp fresh tarragon, minced
1/3 cup chicken stock
1 tsp corn starch mixed with 1 tsp water
1 tbsp softened butter

  1. Season the veal with salt and pepper on both sides. Dry with paper towels.
  2. In a large skillet, melt 1 tbsp butter with the oil over medium-high heat. When the butter stops foaming, add the veal scallops and brown on each side, about 5 minutes per side. Remove the veal to a plate.
  3. Add the shallots to the skillet and cook for one minute.
  4. Deglaze the pan with the vermouth, scrapping up any browned bits.
  5. Add the chicken stock, corn starch, and 1 tsp tarragon. Boil for 2 minutes or until the sauce is thickened.
  6. Return the veal to the skillet and simmer for 5 minutes or until the veal is cooked through.
  7. Check the sauce for seasoning. Off heat, add the softened butter and remaining 1 tsp tarragon.
  8. Serve with buttered egg noodles (or at least that’s what we had).

Serves 2.

Blanquette de Veau à L’Ancienne (White veal stew)

Look at how off-white my white sauce is

The name of this dish really stretches the limits of my French ability (which isn’t saying much as I don’t speak French). I did try an online dictionary to translate blanquette which apparently is translated as blanquette in English (I know English is a strange language but I never really though blanquette was part of it; Firefox’s spellcheck hasn’t heard of it). Anyway, it’s basically a white stew.

The genesis of this dish (well, for me making it) stems from my love of veal. As a note to farmers, please confine cute baby cows to tiny cages in order that they may be slaughtered and I may feast on their succulent flesh. I have no qualms about the condition of the animals as long as they’re still tasty. Which is not entirely true but makes for good copy.

So, several months ago (at this point, “several months ago” can be construed as a bad sign) I was grocery shopping and happened to notice that there was veal blade steak for sale (not a cut of veal that the grocery store regularly sells; speaking of which, why is there such poor selection of veal and lamb at the average grocery store? I’ve never seen a veal roast of any type anywhere). Not only was it for sale, it was also no sale. So I grabbed the promised deliciousness, after all there was something I could make with it. Once it arrived home, it was put into refrigerator. And it waited. And waited. Until I realized that it was liable to go bad if I left it in there any longer. So, up to the freezer it went. And it waited. And waited. And waited. Realize that several months have passed at this point and it looks like it’s accumulating a significant amount of freezer burn (good thing I didn’t take any pictures of that or I’d be the laughing stock of the food blog world for weeks; or maybe not, there’s at least one advantage to not being popular). And of course I’ve realized by this point that I have no idea what to do with it. It’s shoulder meat which isn’t particularly tender but it’s sold as a steak which would imply that you should pan fry it and cook it quickly but the shoulder part says it should be braised. What to do? As you may assume, I decided to just let it relax in the freezer for awhile (it was kept comfortable by various chicken pieces, some pork chops, several pieces of pork butt, and some veal scallopini).

The potatoes turned out much more photogenic than I ever imagined

About a week ago, I decided that it was time to use up all that meat that have been lounging in the freezer for who knew how long (which resulted in the General Tso’s Chicken and the Chicken Pot Pie; I actually have some freezer room available now). On Friday I decided it was time to play my trump card and actually cook (and hopefully eat; it wouldn’t be the first time a meal I’ve made has been inedible) the veal.

Now, I’ve heard reference to blanquette de veau several times. I know it’s mentioned by Anthony Bourdain in at least one of his books (uh, the one full of short stories) and I know there’s a recipe for it in Les Halles Cookbook (oddly, Amazon is charging more for the paperback version than the hardback version). Of course, being a French classic dish means that it’s almost never served in a restaurant anymore (I think the only places that serve classic French are cruise ships and it’s a bit too exotic, or possibly expensive, for a cruise ship). I had no real clue as to what it was or what it tasted like but I figured it couldn’t be that bad. And when had Julia Child led me wrong?

From what I’ve read (it sounds like I’ve extensively researched this dish; I have not; I’ve just heard reference to it), it’s supposed to be in a white sauce. And it’s supposed to be pretty much completely white. Go look at the pictures I posted and determine if the sauce is white. Sure, it’s not brown by any means but it’s also not the whitest sauce ever (you should’ve seen it before the addition of the cream). And really, I’m okay with that. It all results from the fact that I make much more of a brown chicken stock than a white one. This is the first time I’ve had a recipe that really wanted a white stock and even then, I can’t imagine making it. You mean you want me to generate less flavor by not browning the meat and then you want me to make some Rube Goldberg-esque contraption involving a raft of egg whites? Just so the stock isn’t dark? I’m sure that will fly in a classical French brigade kitchen but I’ve got better things to do with my time than that. There’s, uh, Scrubs reruns to watch. That’s the ticket. So I just used the brown chicken stock I had in my freezer (I really don’t think the taste would’ve changed much).

Isn't is sad that such beautiful vegetables get thrown away?

So what’s my opinion of the dish? It’s, uh, different. I’m not used to eating boiled meats and the texture was different (it reminded me of corned beef which is usually boiled). The flavor of the sauce was quite good. The veal probably could of used being salted before being cooked; it seemed like it was missing some salt (there’s no instruction to salt the meat before cooking; is there a reason you wouldn’t want to do that with a dish like this?). Also, the original recipe includes an addition of parsley at the end. The green of the parsley just looked odd and the taste didn’t really mesh with the rest of the dish. I would vote for omitting it. If you want an adventure, go ahead and try it. It’s not as hard or complicated as it looks and you might just like it.

Blanquette de Veau à L’Ancienne
Adapted from Mastering the Art of French Cooking


1 lbs. veal stew meat cut into 1″x1″ pieces (I used veal shoulder blade steak)
2 to 3 cups chicken stock
1/2 an onion studded with 1 clove
1 half of a large carrot, peeled and cut into several pieces
a bouquet garni consisting of 1 stalk of celery, 4 parsley stems (with leaves removed), 1/2 bay leaf, and 2 thyme sprigs
salt
9 small white onions
1 1/2 tbsp butter
1 tbsp butter
9 mushrooms
3 tbsp heavy cream
1 egg yolk

  1. In a dutch oven, place the veal and cover with water by 2 inches (you may want to season the veal with salt before this step). Simmer for 10 minutes. Pour the water and veal through a strainer. Rinse off the veal and clean out the dutch oven.
  2. Return the veal to the dutch oven and add the chicken stock to cover the veal by 1/2 inch. Bring the veal to a simmer. Skim any remaining scum from the surface. Once the scum has subsided, add the onion, carrot, and bouquet garni. Season the sauce lightly with salt. Cover with the lid slightly ajar and cook the veal at a simmer for 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes.
  3. While the veal is cooking, cook the onions: Peel the onions and cut a cross in the root end. Place the onions, a 1/4 cup of the stock from the cooking veal, 1/2 tbsp of butter, and a pinch of salt in a sauce pan. Cover and lightly simmer for 50 minutes.
  4. When the veal is finished cooking, pour the contents through a strainer into a bowl. Return the veal to the dutch oven and discard the vegetables. In a sauce pan, over medium heat, melt 1 tbsp of butter and then whisk in 1 tbsp of flour. Cook for 1 minute. Off heat, whisk in the stock from the veal and any remaining liquid from the onions once they have finished. Simmer the mixture for 10 minutes.
  5. Sprinkle the mushrooms with a few drops of lemon juice. Add the mushrooms to the sauce mixture and simmer for another 10 minutes. Check the seasoning of the sauce.
  6. Pour the sauce into the dutch oven with the veal. Add 1 tbsp of cream. Place the dutch oven over medium heat.
  7. In a small bowl, combine the egg yolk with 2 tbsp of cream. Whisk in 1/4 cup of the hot sauce from the dutch oven then add the mixture back into the dutch oven.
  8. Simmer the mixture for a few minutes to warm the contents.

Serves 2.