On a wet winter’s day it is good to remember some of our summer cooking which has inspired one of the upcoming recipes. The summer dish was based on veal, earlier in the week we had cooked two delightful “Veal Minute Steaks” – (see here) – the rest of the veal was used for this truly fabulous dish. Veal is a very underrated meat and if we are happy to drink cows’ milk, we should probably eat more veal too. Bull calves are an inevitable consequence of the process that brings cows into lactation. Without a thriving veal industry these bull calves are slaughtered at birth. This is rapidly becoming an area being championed by some of the celebrity chefs – but it is something we can help with individually too. It is so much easier to buy veal in Italy than we have found at home which is a real shame as the UK Rose Veal probably has the highest welfare standards in the whole of Europe. Surely better therefore that these bull calves enjoy these high welfare standards for some time rather than simply slaughtering them at birth.
We had found some veal when we first arrived in the village. It was the only veal we could find at the butchers in the local supermarket and we didn’t recognise the cut. The one thing we knew was that it wasn’t the silverside we had used last year for the Vitello Tonnato. We bought it anyway and consultation with the butcher and the dictionary suggested that it was a deboned leg – ‘Polpa di Coscia’ and after trying it 2 different ways we think this is probably right!
The plan was slow roast and serve with pasta. The piece itself when rolled was too big to fit into the 8 inch roasting dish – so we trimmed off a couple of slices to grill as ‘minute steaks‘. The Silverskin was removed from the rest of the meat and the ‘natural inside’ that would have wrapped round the bone was rubbed with Paprika, fennel seeds and salt and pepper. The small joint was tied with butchers string in exactly the same way as you would a deboned leg of lamb. The outside was simply salted and peppered. The Big Green Egg had been set up for direct cooking and the cast iron grill put in place. The BGE was heated to a dome temperature of around 180C.
The rolled veal was then placed onto the oiled grill and simply “rolled around” until nicely browned on all surfaces. It was removed from the grill and replaced with a small roasting dish to sauté the onions. These had been chopped into reasonably fine chunks and with a ‘slug’ of olive oil they were cooked until beginning to turn translucent. At this point a large garlic clove was finely chopped and added together with the leaves of a good handful of rosemary, again finally chopped. Once the onion mix was fully warmed through, the BGE was changed to an indirect setup using the platesetter in the feet up position with the grill on top. The pan was replaced on top of the grill and the seared Veal in turn was placed on top of the onions. A generous half glass of white wine was added. At this point it was all left to cook at 150C for around one and a half hours. About halfway through sliced mushrooms were stirred in and left to cook down. Twenty minutes before the end of the cook 50 ml of veg stock and 20 mls of Passata were added and stirred through the developing sauce.
We were going to serve this with some simple fresh pasta which was prepared separately once the meat was cooked, and the EGG ‘turned off’. Once cooked and drained, half the onion sauce was stirred through the pasta. The meat was sliced and placed on the top of the pasta and the remaining sauce was spooned over the top.
And the result? We were thrilled – a really fabulous dish, both aesthetically, and even better taste wise and certainly one I would want to do again when we next find a suitable piece of veal leg
The inspiration for this dish came from
Veal Forestiere with Pasta
Slow roasted leg of veal, served with a forestiere sauce on a bed of pasta
- Boned leg of veal
- 2 Onions chopped
- Handfull of chopped mushrooms
- 1 clove of garlic chopped
- Fennel seeds
- Half a glass of white wine
- 50 ml Vegetable stock
- 20 ml Passata
- Salt and pepper
- Step 1 Remove the silverskin from the meat and rub the ‘natural inside’ that would have wrapped round the bone with Paprika, fennel seeds and salt and pepper. Roll the joint back together and tie with butchers string
- Step 2 Set the BGE for direct cooking and put the cast iron grill in place. When the dome temperature reaches 180C simply roll the veal over the oiled grill until all sides are browned.
- Step 3 Remove the veal from the grill and replace with a small roasting dish. Chop the onions into reasonably fine chunks and add to the pan and sauté with a ‘slug’ of olive oil until beginning to turn translucent.
- Step 4 Add a finely chopped garlic clove and some finely chopped rosemary.
- Step 5 Once the onion mix was fully warmed through remove from the BGE and changed to an indirect setup using the platesetter in the feet up position with the grill on top. Replace the pan with the onions and using them as a trivet place the seared Veal on top. Add a generous half glass of white wine and leave to cook at 150C for around one and a half hours.
- Step 6 About halfway through the cooking add the sliced mushrooms
- Step 7 Twenty minutes before the end of the cook add 50 ml of veg stock and 20 mls of Passata and stir through the developing sauce.
- Step 8 Once cooked – serve with some simple fresh pasta cooked separately. Stir half the Foriestiere sauce through the pasta. Slice the meat and place on the top of the pasta and spoon the remaining sauce over the top.