How to Prepare a Bone-in Veal Breast

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Slow-cooked veal is rich and tender.
Slow-cooked veal is rich and tender. (Image: Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

The breast of veal, as the name would suggest, comes from the portion between the forelegs and corresponds to the human chest. It contains a large quantity of bones and cartilage, and the meat is usually either ground or deboned and rolled for slow roasting. Bone-in veal breast is almost invariably slow-cooked in a flavorful liquid, a technique called braising. This process melts much of the cartilage and connective tissue, yielding a rich and tender dish.

Things You'll Need

  • Half breast of veal, approximately 5 to 7 lbs.
  • Paper towel
  • Large heavy roaster, or other large pan with lid
  • Vegetable oil
  • Tongs
  • Cutting board
  • 1 large onion, peeled and diced
  • 1 stem celery, washed and diced
  • 1 small carrot, peeled and diced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 6 cloves of garlic, crushed and peeled
  • Wooden spoon
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 bottle dry, unoaked white wine
  • Beef broth (optional)
  • Serving platter
  • Aluminum foil
  • Strainer
  • Saucepan or skillet
  • Spoon
  • 1 tbsp. cold butter

Check the veal breast carefully, and wipe away any bone chips or spots of blood with a damp paper towel. Use paper towels to dry all the surfaces.

Place the heavy roasting pan on the stovetop. Heat it over a medium-high burner with a small amount of oil. Sear the veal on all sides until well browned, using tongs to turn it.

Remove the veal to a cutting board. Add the onions, celery, carrot and herbs to the hot roasting pan, stirring them with a wooden spoon to keep them from burning. When they have begun to brown, add the four cloves of crushed garlic. Stir for a minute longer, until the garlic becomes aromatic. Remove from the heat.

Season the veal with salt and pepper. Using the wooden spoon, gather the browned vegetables together to make a small cushion in the middle of the roasting pan. Set the veal on top of the vegetables. Pour the bottle of wine around the veal, until two-thirds of the meat is immersed. Use water or beef broth to make up the additional volume, if necessary.

Cover the roasting pan and place it in a preheated oven at 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Slow-cook for 2-1/2 to 3 hours, or longer if needed until the veal is very tender. Remove the pan from the oven. Transfer the veal to a serving platter and cover it loosely with aluminum foil, to keep it warm.

Strain the cooking liquid into a saucepan or skillet, and bring it to a rapid boil. Reduce the liquid until it is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Whisk in cold butter, and remove from heat. Serve the veal from a platter with the sauce on the side.

Tips & Warnings

  • Use the smallest roasting pan that will fit the veal. This will require less wine, and shorten the overall cooking time. A large Dutch oven will also work.
  • Choose an unoaked, fruity white wine for the best results. Avoid whites with a distinct mineral character, as this can be unpleasant in the sauce. A German Riesling or one of the many Italian whites would work well.

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