What veal cut is this, and how should I cook it?
May 14, 2008 4:34 PM   Subscribe

MysteryMeatFilter: Help me identify this veal cut and a good way to cook it.

Note that veal is my presumption here; the original store label says it's lamb, but "veal" has been written in and there's a "how to cook veal" label on it. (Bought last month from the markdown section; it's been in the freezer up until I thawed it yesterday.)

So tell me, what am I dealing with here? (I have a basic understanding of what veal is; please note that this is not intended to be a moral/ethical question.) What's a good way to cook it, preferably one that'd work well as leftovers? Or should I not cook it and throw it out?
posted by Ponsonby Britt to Food & Drink (7 answers total)
I think it is, as labeled, veal breast. From what I understand, it's an inexpensive cut, and mostly bone, but it responds well to braising.

Is it separate pieces or one large piece? If one piece, this confit of veal breast recipe sounds delicious, although it calls for 5 pounds of meat, so your 1.3 pounds might not make the effort worthwhile. If separate pieces, this veal short rib recipe sounds tasty.
posted by cabingirl at 4:51 PM on May 14, 2008

Is that bacon wrapped around it?
posted by Max Power at 5:11 PM on May 14, 2008

If it truly is veal "breast", then, according to The Bible (a/k/a "The Meat Buyer's Guide" from the North American Meat Processors Association), it is Veal Cut #313 ("Veal Breast") or Veal Cut #314 ("Veal Breast with Pocket"). Either way, it is from and should contain 11 ribs (if a full breast) and should consist of "the intact plate and brisket portion of the forequarter" of the veal. It's basically the equivalent of a brisket.

In terms of cooking, prepare it like a beef brisket. If bones are present, treat it like beef short ribs. Veal breast is a popular cut in French, Italian, German, and Jewish cooking.

Here's a basic approach ready for your preferences/improvising:

Rub all over with salt, pepper, and spices such as ginger, paprika, and ground coriander.
If desired, make a stuffing. Cool the stuffing and then pack loosely into the veal pocket just before cooking. Sew or skewer the pocket closed.
Place the breast (stuffed or not) on a bed of chopped aromatic vegetables. Add white wine and stock and cover, sealing as tightly as possible.
Roast for 2 hours at 350°F. Uncover and roast 1 to 2 hours longer, or until it is fork tender and browned.
Pour off the pan juices and ladle off the fat. In a small pot, reduce the juices over high heat till syrupy, then strain and season. Cut the veal into thick slices (between the bones, if applicable). Pour sauce over each portion.

Flavor Affinities: Apples, bacon, dill, garlic, ginger, lemons, mustard, prunes, sherry, sour cream, thyme, white wine.
posted by webhund at 5:43 PM on May 14, 2008 [2 favorites]

It responds well to stewing. The classic French dish blanquette de veau uses this cut. Veal breast is absolutely delicious if cooked long and slowly in a nice broth. Webhund's recipe looks delicious, but if you're feeling ambitious look up Julia Child's recipe.
posted by gesamtkunstwerk at 6:29 PM on May 14, 2008

Any meat in the grocery store that says "Manager's Special" on it shouldn't be purchased. It's marked down for a reason -- it's old and/or no one is buying it because it sucks.

That being said, you can take just about any veal cut, pound it flat and make veal piccata, which when done right, will make your house smell heavenly.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 9:23 PM on May 14, 2008

Here's what looks like a good recipe from Epicurious: Roast Veal Breast with Marsala-Mushroom Sauce.
Any meat in the grocery store that says "Manager's Special" on it shouldn't be purchased. It's marked down for a reason -- it's old and/or no one is buying it because it sucks.
Are you serious? They're specials because they'll go bad in a few days, that doesn't mean you shouldn't buy them now if you can find a way to use them quickly. I've made plenty of great-tasting, cheap meals with meat on special.
posted by peacheater at 9:42 PM on May 14, 2008

Are you serious? They're specials because they'll go bad in a few days

Or, they're specials because the butcher has decided they've already turned, regardless of what the date on the package says. Or, like I said, no one is buying it, and people don't buy things for a reason. Everything a restaurant does to make the food sell happens in grocery stores, too. But go ahead -- have the fish special on a Monday. ;-)
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 10:53 PM on May 14, 2008

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