One of the specialties we brought from the Miboulay farm, was the veal shoulder blade, so I started looking for the recipe. Unable to find any that would please me to 100%, I decided to apply the one I have been using for the beef shoulder blade for years. This one never fails to surprise. Its festive and decadent, and you can cook the roast up to two days in advance and then just put it back in the oven to heat.
This roast is definitely a part of the cooking tradition known as la cuisine ”grand-mère” (grandmother’s cooking) for its simple ingredients and long cooking to ensure tender and flavorful meat. Today I am featuring it with polenta (the recipe will follow) turning it Italian way. However, mashed/new potatoes, cauliflower or just sautéed greens make excellent side dishes to this roast as well.
You can use a boneless chuck roast bringing the recipe very close to the first part of an Italian staple of ”vitello tonnato”, which I will surely post one day. But that is for the summer. In minus 25 degrees C we want this roast hot and steamy. I prefer the shoulder blade for the bones and that collagen that makes the cooked meat so much tastier. During the slow cooking process it melts and turns into gelatine, the umami factor of the dish. The bones give lots of gelatine too as well as a strong meaty taste to the broth.
Browning the roast before you braise it is important to seal the juices in the meat and thus add more flavor to the dish. Even though that means another dirty pan the difference in taste is well worth the cleanup. The slow cooking part should not discourage you from making this dish, as the steps are easy and ingredients are no-brainer for even a beginner cook. Not only you will enjoy it, but will have plenty of time to make a great side course or salad and do many other little chores while your place will be filled with the divine smell of roasting veal and porcini.
When served hot with polenta, this veal roast pairs beautifully with a glass of Blaye (Côtes de Bordeaux), such as reasonably priced 2009 Château des Tourtes Rouge.
VEAL SHOULDER BLADE ROAST:
1 handful of dried porcini
2 cups of boiled water (to soak porcini)
1 milk-fed veal (or beef) shoulder blade (1.5 to 4 lbs)
2 teaspoons coarse salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 table spoon olive oil
1 garlic bulb sliced in half
2 yellow onions thinly sliced
1 bouquet garni (parsley (6), bay leaf (1) and thyme (3) tied with kitchen twine)
1 cup dry white wine (or 1 cup apple cider vinegar mixed with water 50/50)
Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C).
Boil 2 cups of water and soak the dried porcini in it for about 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, rub the milk-fed veal roast with the salt and pepper.
In a Dutch oven (or heavy pan) warm the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the roast and sear on both sides turning once for about 6 minutes in total. Add the garlic bulb to the pan roasting pan for 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer the roast and garlic bulb to a platter.
Add the onions to the pot and cook stirring for 1 minute. Gradually pour in the wine and deglaze the pot scraping the browned bits with a wooden spoon. Add the strained soaking liquid from porcini and bouquet garni, return meat and garlic to the pot and scatter reconstituted porcini over the roast. Cover with aluminum foil and lid and put in the oven. Lower the oven temperature to 325°Fafter first 30 minutes of cooking. Cook for about 3 hours in total or until the meat is tender.
Let the veal roast stand for 10 minutes, then discard bones, garlic and bouquet garni and carve crosswise into 1/2 inch slices. Serve hot with pasta or polenta, top with porcini and spoon with the braising sauce.
OR , cool down the roast and keep it in the fridge until next day to assemble the cold veal canapés as an appetizer and to use the leftovers for yet another dish (see the next post).