Monday, April 15, 2013

veal breast (with bonus brussels sprouts)

I have two butchers that I deal with with some degree of regularity. And while I felt confident that both of them could get me a veal breast, I knew that I shouldn't just walk in to either and expect to walk out with one, so i called the one that's closer to where I live. It was a Friday morning, and I wanted to make this dish on Sunday.

"We can get it, but you have to order it in advance. We put in our order for the weekend on Thursday nights,"

Doh. That was close.

So I called Stachowski's Market in Georgetown. Friends have had luck with specialty cuts there, and I've had some of it, and it's always fairly amazing.

"We can get it, but we have to order it," guy on the phone tells me. "Hold on. Let me go look to make sure."

(Taps fingers on the desk for about five minutes.)

"I was wrong. We have one. It's about 10 pounds and I can't break it. That OK?"


At this point, I realized that I didn't know how much that piece of meat was going to cost. But I once watched Jeremy buy a piece of meat there that cost more than either of my first two cars, so I was prepared to be shocked.

My anxiety lasted until I went to pick it up the next day. When I walked in and asked for it, I was immediately tagged as "that guy who wanted the veal breast." That's fine. So that guy I talked to on the phone, which is how I immediately tagged him, went to the walk-in and brought back the vacuum-sealed piece of meat. It was gorgeous. It looked just like a brisket, which is what it would have grown up to be, but the meat was snowy white.

I took the bag to the counter, and there was some discussion among the employees about how much the veal breast cost per pound. The numbers swung rather wildly, and each number set off calculations in my head. But when it was all said and done, the total price came out to be less than half the price of either of my first two cars, so I consider it a win.

In conversation, it came up that I barely needed half of this for the recipe I was doing. So he offered to split it and just sell me what I needed, which made me scratch my head, since he pretty much told me on the phone that that wouldn't happen. But by then, I wasn't afraid of the price, and figured I'd find a second dish to do with the rest of the meat.

The dish itself was easy. Just rolls the veal roast up with pancetta then cook it low and slow with a ton of onions.

So many onions. The stack started like this:

And ended up like this:

I've been looking forward to this dish, because it looks so delicious in the photo in the book. A nice piece of rolled meat, with a ton of onions in a red sauce.

Mine was not red, at all. I looked again at the recipe, and there is nothing in it that would make it red. So I'm not sure what to think about that. But it was delicious. It tasted a lot like French onion soup, with a big hunk of meat in it.

I like French onion soup. And big hunks of meat. So all good.

Made the Brussels sprouts with pancetta to go along with it. My reasoning was that the pancetta in the sprouts would go well with the pancetta in the veal. My secondary reasoning was that something with pancetta in it always goes with anything else, whether the other thing has pancetta or no. So it seemed destined for success.

Up next: hey, is that salt cod in the fridge?


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