Braised Veal Breast
Rolled Boneless Veal Breast Braised in Stock
Adapted from a recipe by Marc Vetri.
- Servings: 4.
Veal breast is a cut of meat that is notably inexpensive -- sometimes less than $2.00/pound -- but it also requires special handling and cooking to make the meat tender and flavorful. Otherwise it is very tough and fatty.
This cut of veal is almost always sold on the bone and with a layer of fat so ask your butcher to remove the bones (freeze them to make stock some other time). If you're buying a breast that's already wrapped and in the grocer's meat case, just bring the package to the butcher and ask him/her to remove the bones and re-package the meat. You'll pay the same price but you'll have had the meat professionally prepared for your recipe.
Prepare the meat by using a sharp knife to remove as much of the fat as possible. You should be left with a rectangular shaped piece of meat.
Unless you are practiced in tying a roast, here's an easy method. Cut 5 lengths of cotton kitchen twine each about 12-inches. Roll the meat like a jellyroll, tucking the meat upon itself so to create a roll. Try to make the piece as uniform as possible because this will help it cook evenly. Holding the roll in place with one hand, use the other to wrap the pieces of string around the roll every inch-and-a-half. Tie the ends tightly and trim off any hanging string.
Because the sauce made from the aromatic vegetables and cooking liquid is so flavorful, it's wonderful to serve this with mashed potatoes -- either white or sweet potatoes.
- 3-4 pound boneless veal breast
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 1 medium or 2 small carrots, peeled and chopped
- 2 celery stalks, chopped
- 2-3 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 3-4 cups chicken stock
- 1 tablespoon fresh sage, minced
- 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, minced
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Special equipment: cotton kitchen twine
- Prepare the boneless veal breast by removing and discarding all visible fat. Let the meat come to room temperature.
- Roll the meat into a roll, tightly turning one edge inside and on top of itself, like a jellyroll. Cut 4 or 5 12-inch lengths of kitchen twine and tie the roll so that it keeps its uniform shape.
- Season the entire roll with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
- Place a large French oven or braising pan (one that has a cover) over high heat. Add the canola oil and heat for 30 seconds until shimmering.
- Add the meat and brown on all sides. This will take about 10 minutes. Don't rush this step because the browning adds important flavor to the dish.
- Remove the meat to a plate and add the carrots, onion, celery and garlic to the pan. Lower the meat to medium and cook until the vegetables soften, about 6 minutes.
- Pour in the wine. Let it boil, scraping the sides and bottom of the pan to remove all the brown bits.
- Add 3 cups of chicken stock and bring to a boil, then immediately lower to a simmer. Do not add any more salt or pepper at any point because through the cooking, the flavors will concentrate and the seasoning on the meat before you browned it will probably be enough. You can also adjust for seasonings at the very end of the cooking.
- Return the meat to the pan. If the meat isn't submerged at least half-way in the stock/wine mixture, add more stock until it is, up to one more cup.
- Cover the pan and adjust the heat so that the liquid is at a low simmer. Cook for 2 to 2 1/2 hours, turning the meat over at least once half-way through the cooking.
- When the meat is tender and soft to your touch (press it with the tips of your fingers and make sure that it gives a bit), remove the veal roll from the cooking liquid and place on a plate. Cover with foil to keep it warm.
- Turn the heat up under the remaining cooking liquid and bring to a boil and cook for 5 to 10 minutes until the liquid has reduced by half. Check to see if it has reached a sauce-like thickness by dipping a teaspoon in the liquid, turn the spoon over and run your finger through the liquid coating the spoon. If it leaves a clear mark, it has probably thickened enough.
- Strain the liquid through a fine-holed sieve to remove the vegetables. Return the sauce to the pan and add the minced herbs. Taste for seasoning.
- Slice the meat into 1/2-inch pieces and drizzle the sauce over the slices or else pass the sauce in a separate serving dish.