Anthony Puharich and Colin Fassnidge discuss a contentious cut of meat and argue that we should eat more of it. The secret to making this ragu a date-night winner? Read on for the big re-veal…
This month’s meal is the veal deal.
C: Irish Italian Stallion. Italian and Irish both begin with an ‘I’. A: Right. This is where we’re going today. C: We’re going with veal! Veal ragu. A: Sounds good. You can use any part of the veal shoulder for this, too.
C: Vegetables, barley, lots of rosemary, a good splash of white wine, chicken stock, and you bring it to the boil, then reduce the heat and leave it to cook for a few hours. In Ireland it’s called an Irish stew.
A: Yeah. It’s a cheap but very comforting dish. I am pro this.
C: Veal isn’t peasant though. Veal is Victor Churchill; a Paddington dish. We’ll call this the Paddington Peasant’s dish.
A: Is your perception of buying veal that it’s expensive?
C: Yes, it’s the quality that has increased the price of it.
A: I am very passionate about this because veal is a by-product of the dairy industry. The reason we don’t eat enough veal is because of the stigma that has always been around it and the way it’s farmed.
C: Yes, they usually kill the male calves don’t they? And we’re using rosé veal here, not white veal.
A: Yes, so we salvage the calves from the dairy industry. We put them into a feeding program, and eventually produce this rosé veal. Delicate, soft, tender. Beautiful veal. And there’s so much pressure and dependence on beef and lamb in this country that we have to introduce another protein in order to get people to be more sustainable. We need an equilibrium. The stigma comes from how veal used to be produced, but that’s not how we’re doing it. I love what you’re doing here, because you’re bringing in a new way of cooking it.
C: Yeah, people just think of veal schnitzel. This would be great cooking for date night. The man can just put all the ingredients in the pot – simmer it, thicken it, then season and serve it. A: Any idiot can cook this? C: Any man can cook this. You might not have the Italian accent, but you have the tricks in the kitchen! We’re not reinventing the veal here. Get it? A: Yes. C: It’s the Sophia Loren of cooking. It’s got passion, it’s got flavour, and it’s understated.
A: Who doesn’t like Sophia Loren!
PARMESAN VEAL RAGU SERVES 4
1kg boneless veal shoulder
(substitute veal chuck), quartered 1 bunch baby (Dutch) carrots,
trimmed 6 eschalots, peeled, halved 2 rosemary sprigs, plus extra
2 tsp finely chopped picked leaves 6 garlic cloves, bruised
1/ 2 cup (125ml) white wine 8 cups (2L) chicken stock 1 parmesan rind (optional) 1 cup (200g) pearl barley 15g unsalted butter, softened 1 tbs plain flour
1/4 cup (60ml) extra virgin olive oil 200g fresh breadcrumbs Finely grated parmesan and chopped
flat-leaf parsley leaves, to serve
Combine veal, carrot, eschalot, rosemary sprigs, garlic, wine, stock and parmesan rind, if using, in a large flameproof casserole with a fitted lid. Place over high heat and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook at a gentle simmer, stirring every hour, for 2 hours 30 minutes or until veal is very tender.
Meanwhile, cook pearl barley according to packet instructions, drain, then set aside.
Transfer veal to a chopping board, coarsely shred with 2 forks and set aside. Discard parmesan rind and rosemary stalks from the ragu. Increase heat to medium-high and bring to a simmer. Combine butter and flour in a bowl and, piece by piece, gradually stir through ragu. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes or until thickened slightly.
To make the rosemary breadcrumbs, heat oil in a large frypan over medium-high heat. Add extra chopped rosemary and breadcrumbs, and cook, stirring constantly, for 5 minutes or until golden. Remove from pan and drain on paper towel.
Divide barley and ragu among serving bowls and scatter with rosemary breadcrumbs, parmesan and parsley to serve.
BUTCHER’S CUT ROSÉ VEAL
While it’s a meat that attracts some controversy, veal production, especially in Australia, is very much on the ‘high welfare’ side. Strict guidelines state calves must be reared in open pens and fed a mixture of milk and grains or grass. The result is meat with a more pinkish colour (as opposed to the common ‘white veal’) called rosé veal. Slow-cooked, braised, roasted or panfried, veal delivers a tasty, tender result.