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Stuffed Veal Breast

When sliced, a stuffed breast of veal makes a dramatic presentation. By all means ask a butcher to bone the breast for you, although the task isn’t as daunting as it might sound. You’ll save money removing the bones yourself and it’s good practice for an enthusiastic home cook. A stuffed breast of veal is also delicious served cold. Refrigerate overnight, tightly wrapped in foil, and serve thinly sliced with a crock of good mustard and some vinegary cornichons.

Ingredients:

For the stuffing:

  • 2 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 1 yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 lb. ground veal
  • 1/2 cup fresh bread crumbs
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh spinach
  • 1 tsp. grated lemon zest
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  •   1 boneless veal breast, about 3 lb.
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 2 hard-cooked eggs, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch slices
  • 4 thin slices boiled ham, about 1/4 lb. total, cut into thin strips
  • 2 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 2 Tbs. canola oil
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine, such as Chardonnay
  • 1 cup chicken broth

Directions:

To make the stuffing, in a small fry pan over medium-high heat, melt the butter. Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, until softened, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool.

In a bowl, combine the ground veal, bread crumbs, garlic, spinach, lemon zest, nutmeg, egg and onion. Stir well until blended and smooth. Season with salt and pepper.

Lay the veal breast on a cutting board with the boned side up. Season with salt and pepper. Spread a thin layer of the stuffing over the surface of the veal, leaving a border of about 1 inch on all sides. Arrange the hard-cooked egg slices uniformly over the stuffing. Place the ham strips evenly on top. Gently roll up the meat into a cylinder. Securely tie the roll at regular intervals with kitchen string.

In a large fry pan over medium-high heat, melt the butter with the canola oil. Add the veal and cook, turning frequently, until lightly browned on all sides, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer to a plate.

Pour off all but 1 Tbs. of the fat in the pan and return the pan to medium-high heat. Add the onion, carrot and celery and sauté until softened, about 5 minutes. Pour in the wine and deglaze the pan, stirring with a wooden spoon to scrape up the browned bits from the pan bottom. Stir in the broth and bring to a boil.

Oven method: Preheat an oven to 350°F. Transfer the veal to a large Dutch oven. Pour in the broth and vegetable mixture. Cover, transfer to the oven and cook until the veal is tender, 2 to 2 1/2 hours.

Slow-cooker method: Transfer the veal to a slow cooker. Pour in the broth and vegetable mixture. Cover and cook on low according to the manufacturer’s instructions until the veal is tender, about 6 hours.

Transfer the veal to a cutting board, cover loosely with aluminum foil and let rest for about 10 minutes. Using a sharp knife, cut the veal crosswise into slices about 1/2 inch thick, removing the strings as you cut. Arrange the slices on a warmed platter, spoon the cooking juices on top and serve immediately. Serves 6 to 8.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Essentials of Slow Cooking, by Melanie Barnard, Charles Pierce & Denis Kelly (Oxmoor House, 2008).