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Veal Chops Stuffed with Herbs and Lemon

Veal rib chops carry quite a bit of fat along the bone, and if you were not stuffing them, you might be tempted to ask the butcher to french the bones. But here that extra surface area is needed to accommodate the herb and lemon stuffing. You can trim away the fat from the bones before serving, if desired. Wilted baby spinach tossed with toasted pine nuts and dried currants makes a delicious accompaniment.

Ingredients:

  • 2 veal rib chops, each about 10 oz. and 1 inch thick, patted dry 
  • 3 Tbs. minced fresh dill 
  • 2 Tbs. minced fresh oregano 
  • 1 Tbs. minced fresh sage 
  • Grated zest of 1 small lemon 
  • 1/4 tsp. kosher salt, plus more, to taste    
  • 4 tsp. plus 2 Tbs. olive oil 
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste 
  • All-purpose flour for dredging 
  • 2 Tbs. unsalted butter 
  • Lemon wedges for serving 

Directions:

Place the chops on a baking sheet and freeze, uncovered, for 20 minutes.

Working from the side of each chop away from the bone, make a horizontal cut toward the bone to form a pocket. In a bowl, stir together the dill, oregano, sage and lemon zest. Add the 1/4 tsp. salt and the 4 tsp. olive oil and stir to combine. Stuff the chops with the herb mixture. Secure the edges with 2 or 3 toothpicks, inserted diagonally. Season both sides generously with salt and pepper.

Place some flour on a plate near the stove. Set a large, heavy fry pan over medium-high heat. When it is very hot, add the 2 Tbs. olive oil. When the oil begins to shimmer, add the butter. As soon as the butter foam has subsided, quickly dredge the chops in the flour, shaking off the excess, and place the chops in the pan without letting them touch. Sear without moving them for 2 1/2 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium, turn the chops over and sear for 2 minutes more. Holding the chops with tongs, sear each edge until no longer pink, 20 to 30 seconds. Reduce the heat to low and cook until the chops are firm to the touch and an instant-read thermometer inserted into a chop, away from the bone and not in the stuffing, registers 130°F, 1 to 2 minutes more. Transfer to plates.

Remove the toothpicks and serve the chops immediately with lemon wedges. Serves 2.

A note from the butcher: Other tasty cuts to look out for when hunting for a good chop for frying: pork porterhouse, pork shoulder chops and vittellone chops. An alternative to frying the meat on top of the stove is to get your pan smoking hot, sear the meat on one side, and then flip it over and finish it in a 400°F oven.
— Melanie Eisemann, Avedano’s Holly Park Market, San Francisco, CA

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma The Cook and The Butcher, by Brigit Binns (Weldon Owen, Inc., 2011).