July 30th, 2011
The butcher was doing a special deal on veal roasts this week. I’d never cooked one before, so it appealed to my sense of adventure. Graham (the butcher), suggested, that a good way to cook it, would be to poach it gently in vegetable stock for an hour, before finishing it off in the oven. He said it would absorb some of the stock, poached, rather than shrinking, if roasted for the duration.
Veal Roast recipe:
2 sticks of celery
6 pieces of garlic
1 large onion
a little sea salt
8 black peppercorns
2 bay leaves
a few sprigs of rosemary, sage and thyme
a glass of red wine
a splash of red wine vinegar
1 and 1/2 pints of water (or enough water to nearly cover the meat)
some goose fat for roasting (a couple of desert spoons)
First of all, brown the veal joint all over, in a suitable pan – I used a large cast iron frying pan. Heat the pan until it smokes, add a little goose fat and just give the joint a minute or two per side. The idea is not to cook it, but to caramelise (brown) the outside a little for flavour. Remove the meat to a casserole as soon as it has browned. I recommend deglazing the pan with some red wine and a splash of red wine vinegar, so that you can use the reduced wine and flavours from the meat in your gravy later.
For the vegetable stock, add the carrots, celery, garlic and onion, along with the herbs, salt and pepper, to the casserole with the veal. Use a pint, to a pint and a half of water to partially submerge the meat – it’s not necessary to cover it, or fill the pan. Pre heat the oven to 100º C and bring the casserole to the boil (remove any scum that floats to the surface). As soon as the liquid starts to boil, put the lid on the casserole and place it into the oven. By poaching the veal in the oven, it will stay at a constant temperature, without any chance of burning. Remove the casserole from the oven after 45 minutes, but don’t take the lid off – the veal will continue to poach, while you turn the oven up high for the roasting.
When the oven is hot, heat up two desert spoons of goose fat in an oven tray. Remove the veal joint from the casserole and pat it dry. Put the veal into the oven tray, when the fat is smoking and roll it around to coat it evenly. Keep the veal and vegetable stock for gravy, but discard all the herbs and vegetables.
Roast the joint for about 15 minutes, turning it often to give it a nice roasted, brown colour.
Wrap the veal up and rest it for 20 minutes to half an hour – this gives you time to make gravy, with the deglazing liquid and the veal stock. See my gravy recipe here.
Slice and serve the veal with roast or mashed potatoes and seasonal vegetables.
Don’t forget that veal is a by product of the dairy industry – if you drink cows milk, you should eat veal!