Friday, 4 July 2014

World Cup Food Challenge: France - Jarret de Veau

With France beating Nigeria on Monday for a spot in the Quarter Finals of the World Cup I had a few days to plan another meal for tonight's match against Germany.  After failing to get horse and running out of time to get veal for the last round I made certain that I would have veal tonight.  I made the trip into Leeds on Tuesday afternoon, popped into B & J Callard's on Kirkgate Market and set the wheels in motion.

I was after veal breast to make Blanquette de Veau, a traditional French white stew, but as Callard's don't stock veal I was in their hands and the hands of their suppliers.  It turns out that the few veal suppliers out there are more than happy to sell prime cuts of meat but tend to use the secondary cuts to make burgers and sausages, presumably betting more bang for their buck, or at least shifting meat that they would otherwise struggle to sell.  Getting breast or anything from the shoulder was proving difficult, but Kyle from Callard's didn't let me down.

He managed to source a veal shin from a farm in North Leeds.  I regularly cook with beef so I knew it would be suitable to stew.  My plan was to cut the meat from the bone and crack on with the cooking, but once I saw the three wonderful Osso Buco steaks I had a change of heart.  I wanted to use them whole so that the marrow could cook into the sauce, so I started looking around for French versions of the classic Italian dish.

I found a typically French Jarret de Veau aux Champignon, got it translated and set about cooking it.  The meat was dusted in seasoned flour and then fried in duck fat*.  Diced onions, carrots and celery were then added to the pan along with a glass of white wine and some stock.  This was brought to the boil before being reduced to a simmer for an hour.

While that was cooking I made some boulangere potatoes and tucked into the rest of the bottle of wine that I had opened to cook with.  By the time I finished the dish with chopped fresh parsley, garlic, and lemon zest, France had been knocked out of the World Cup by Germany.  An outcome that I had seen coming from before the first ball was kicked back on the 12th June.

The veal was superb.  The meat fell of the bone and the addition of the fresh herbs at the end lifted the sauce.  Z was a little squeamish about eating the marrow but loved it after her first tentative morsel.  I would buy and cook this again in a heart-beat, if only veal was more readily available in our butchers and supermarkets.  The thought of perfectly good meat going to waste just because of fads, trends, and people's sensibilities saddens me.

I'm also sad to have cooked my last meal of the World Cup Food Challenge.  It's been fun but there is always another challenge.

*the recipe called for butter but after making confit duck I happen to have quite a lot of duck fat that needs using.

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