Braised Veal in the Style of the Camargue
Makes 4 servings
The powers to be in sixteenth-century Arles launched a serious effort of reclamation that turned the malaria-infested Camargue into a land that could support modest stock rearing on its alluvial lands. Young calves were not in great abundance—they were little and skinny—but by the nineteenth century there were greater numbers of cattle and they found their way into braised dishes, a popular means of cooking because the pot could be left unattended.
This recipe is adapted from Jean-Noël Escudier's Provençal cookbook. It is excellent served with spaghetti moistened with the remaining sauce or with risotto alla milanese.
10 ounces pearl onions (about 3 cups)
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
One 3-1/2-pound veal breast with bone in
or veal rib roast, trimmed of fat
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
3 garlic cloves, lightly crushed
1/4 pound button mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 cup dry white wine
1 cup finely chopped fresh or canned tomatoes
12 imported green olives, pitted and chopped
1. Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil and blanch the pearl onions for 3 minutes to make it easier to peel them. Drain and slice off the root ends with a sharp paring knife. Peel by squeezing to pop off the skins.
2. In a small skillet, beat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over medium-high heat, then cook the onions until softened, 3 to 4 minutes, stirring. Remove and set aside.
3. In a large casserole, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat, then brown the breast or rib roast on both sides, 4 to 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add the garlic, mushrooms, and the onions. Stir to distribute around the casserole and pour in the wine and tomatoes. Reduce the heat to low and cook for 2 hours, stirring the sauce occasionally. Add the olives and cook another 15 minutes.
4. Transfer the veal breast to a serving platter. Surround the breast with the remaining vegetables in the casserole using a slotted ladle. Spoon some sauce over the veal breast and serve.
A Mediterranean Feast
The Story of the Birth of the Celebrated Cuisines
of the Mediterranean, from the Merchants of
Venice to the Barbary Corsairs,
with More Than 500 Recipes
By Clifford A. Wright
William Morrow & Co., November, 1999
Recipe reprinted by permission.
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Modified August 2007
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