By Lauren Stacy Berde
Have you ever cooked a veal brisket? No, not a veal breast- I am talking of its meatier cousin the brisket. The meat is succulent, rich and has its own cachet. After all, it is veal and veal just has a different pedigree. I enliven the meat even more by studding the raw brisket with shelled pistachios. Tucked in and embedded, each slice comes with the nut's own green buttery charm.
This recipe is perfect for the Passover holiday table. Once made, the braised meat can be sliced, placed in its serving dish, and later reheated with ease.
Unlike a beef brisket, this veal is rolled and ready to be portioned into medallions.
The meat sits pretty on the dinner plate, shoulders above the other foods.
Speaking of height, try serving the veal sitting atop a sturdy, thick slice of wild mushroom pudding that is made with matzo farfel. This pudding and the meat are made for one another. As in any braise, the sauce practically happens almost by itself and adds its wonderful luster.
You have fed the cooking pot all the necessary ingredients. Now walk away and do something else during the 2 - 2½ hours of seasoning and cooking.
½ cup shelled pistachio
1 tablespoon fresh thyme washed and checked then "picked"
2 large cloves garlic, smashed
1 veal brisket (not veal breast!): about 3-4 pounds
fresh ground pepper
bouquet garni - 1 bunch parsley, 1 bunch fresh thyme, 2 fragrant bay leaves
¼ cup potato starch
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup dry white wine
3 tablespoons tomato paste
3 cups chicken stock/water
wedge of lemon
basil leaves, washed, checked and dried
Place the pistachios into a small dish. Place the veal brisket fleshier side up in front of you on the cutting board.
With the tip of a paring knife, make a ¼" incision into the meat. Lodge a pistachio into the incision. Repeat until you have inserted about 30 pistachios over the surface of the meat.
Scatter the fresh thyme leaves over the surface. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Begin to roll the meat up. Starting at the narrowest point, roll the meat into a tight jellyroll, seam-side down on the cutting board.
Cut 8 pieces of butcher's string about 8" each.
Place the meat in front of you, perpendicular to the cutting board. Using both hands, place the first string under the beginning of the roll and tie so that it touches the meat and feels snug.
Repeat until the meat is neatly packaged.
Make a large seasoning bundle (bouquet garni) and tightly wind the butcher string around at least three times. Cut and tie.
Sprinkle the surface of the meat with salt and pepper. Sprinkle on an even coat of potato starch. Over medium-high heat, put 3 tablespoons of oil into braising pot and brown the veal on both sides (about 6 minutes a side). Remove the veal and discard the oil.
Pour the wine (into the braising pot). Reduce wine by half. Scrape the bottom of the pan as the wine reduces.
Add the tomato paste, chicken stock (or water) and stir.
Bring to a low simmer. Return the veal to the pot. Place seasoning bundle (bouquet garni) into the pot. Place a piece of foil over the pot rim. Place a lid over foil and cook on low about 2 hours. The meat should be knife tender. Cook more if necessary.
Save the sauce separately if serving later.
Remove the veal from pan and let cool. Cut all the strings and discard.
On high, cook the sauce about 5 minutes to thicken it a bit. Add a few drops of lemon. Taste for salt and pepper.
Slice the veal into 2½ inch portions and moisten with sauce.
Pass additional sauce on the side. Alternatively, refrigerate the veal and sauce separately overnight, then reheat the next day.
6-8 servings (depending on the veal brisket size)
If serving with the Wild Mushroom Pudding:
Follow the recipe directions, but place each veal medallion atop the warm, sliced Wild Mushroom Pudding. Add sauce and basil leaves.