Thursday, December 29, 2011

Matzo-Stuffed Breast of Veal (Page 452)

RECIPE #1287

  • Date: Tuesday, November 15, 2011 -- 10pm
  • Location: East Lansing, MI
  • Kitchen: Our House
  • Dining Companion: Matty
  • Recipe Rating: B-

I would have made this recipe much earlier, but I had a very hard time finding veal breast. Finally I found a website I could order it from. I started the dish by making the stuffing. I cooked onion, carrot, and celery in oil until brown. I then ran some matzos under hot water until they were softened. I combined half of the cooked vegetables with the matzos, some parsley, egg, salt, and pepper. I reserved the rest of the vegetables. The veal breast I ordered already had a pocket cut in it, so luckily I got to bypass that step. I pureed together onion, garlic, vegetable oil, paprika, salt, and pepper, then rubbed the veal with the puree, including inside the pocket. I filled the pocket loosely with the matzo stuffing, then sewed the pocket closed using kitchen string and a huge needle. Sewing has never been my specialty. I certainly got by in Home Economics class and I even sewed some clothing for the county fair way back when I was in 4-H. But I wouldn't say that I am talented with a needle and thread. For me the hardest part of this recipe by far was sewing the veal pocket closed. My hands were slippery with raw veal and stuffing, and it took some strength and grip to get that needle through the veal. It was a challenge. My good friend Helen wrote a New York Times Op-Ed recently about how we should bring back Home Economics in schools. This dish would be an efficient addition to a Home Economics curriculum: cooking and sewing in the same project! Once my veal was successfully sewed shut I put it in a pot with the remaining vegetables, some thyme, and water. I braised the veal until it was tender, then sliced and served it with the sauce it braised in.

This dish was OK. The meat was indeed tender, as a good braised piece of meat should be. The meat didn't seem to pick up much flavor from the braising liquid though, which wasn't too surprising as it was braised just in water with a few veggies in it. My real complaint about the dish, though, was the stuffing. It's true, I am biased: I am not a fan of soggy bread (or in this case, soggy matzo). But even my special gentleman, who is a soggy bread eater, was not wowed by this stuffing. The flavor of it was fine, but the texture just wasn't appealing. The stuffing didn't add anything positive to the dish and I found myself wishing that I had just braised the meat unstuffed. Stuffing the veal breast certainly wasn't worth all the extra work of preparing the stuffing and sewing it in there. All that said, the meat was pretty tasty and tender and we ate it all despite our hesitations about the stuffing.

The recipe is here.

Only 6 recipes left to go!

Happy Holidays! We have had a crazy holiday season, full of food, travel, family, and good friends! My special gentleman and I ate 5 holiday meals this season, which was a lot! It all started last Tuesday:

Christmas Dinner #1 -- December 20th -- East Lansing, MI. It might be a stretch to call this a Christmas dinner, but it definitely felt like a holiday meal and we drank out of our glasses with Christmas trees on them, so I'll call it a Christmas dinner! Our good friends Helen and Charles and their daughter Clara are moving to France for a year. It's exciting for them but sad for us, as we spend a lot of time with them, and in particular, we eat with them often! Helen and I share a deep love of food. She is a history professor and one of her specialties is the history of food and nutrition! Plus, she is an excellent cook. In honor of their upcoming travels, we had them over for dinner for a French feast. I made cassoulet, lentil soup with foie gras custards, carrots Vichy, bread, and salad, and Helen made a French chocolate mousse cake. It was a lovely evening with yummy food and an excellent way to start the holiday season.

Christmas Dinner #2 -- December 23rd -- Fond du Lac, WI. Late last week we headed up to Wisconsin to celebrate Christmas with my parents and my extended family. We had a big Christmas dinner at my aunt and uncle's house. My aunt and uncle made turkey and mashed potatoes, I made roast asparagus, glazed carrots, and salad, and my cousins Anne and Sarah made dessert (Better than Sex cake and Apple Dapple cake). It was a feast! There are about 20 people on my mom's side of the family, and we all had a lovely day playing cards, cooking, drinking, eating, and opening gifts! It was a sad day too, as it was our first Christmas without my grandpa. But it was wonderful to gather together and we talked about him often throughout the day and felt his presence.

Christmas Dinner #3 -- December 24th -- East Lansing, MI. On Christmas Eve we drove from Wisconsin back home to Michigan (about 7 hours). In the evening, Helen, Charles, and Clara came over to celebrate Christmas Eve with us. I had made dinner ahead and put it in the freezer so that all I would have to do when we got home was reheat the food and throw together a salad. We had braised veal shoulder, potato and caramelized onion soup, focaccia, salad, and some Christmas cookies. Then we exchanged a couple gifts and sang Christmas carols. My special gentleman and I bought ourselves a piano for Christmas so my special gentleman and Charles took turns playing Christmas carols on the piano and we all sang along. It was a lovely. Later in the evening my special gentleman and I went to church (with more carols!). It was a great Christmas Eve.

Christmas Dinner #4 -- December 25th -- Westerville, OH. On Christmas morning we drove from Michigan down to my special gentleman's parents' house in Ohio. The drive isn't too long -- only about 4 hours -- but we had the kitties with us, and they do not like the car! Indiana has a good attitude about bad situations. He just laid in his carrier and looked pissed. But poor Michigan howled the entire time. Eventually we made it though, in time for Christmas dinner with my father-in-law's extended family. Twenty or so people descended upon my in-laws' house for a big holiday meal! I ate a lot of beef brisket and Uncle Phil's famous no-bake cookies. Merry Christmas!

Christmas Dinner #5 -- December 26th -- Gahanna, OH. The next day we celebrated Christmas with my mother-in-law's family. We all descended upon her brother and his wife's place and had a big meal with twnety or so members of the family, including ham and all the fixings. Yum!

We have been in Ohio since Christmas Day. It has been fun spending the holiday with my special gentleman's family. The are 7 adults, 2 dogs, 2 cats, and a baby all staying at my in-laws' house. It's a little chaotic! Our cats seem both overwhelmed and intrigued by all the activity in the house. It has been a fun trip though. My brother-in-law Wes lives in Cambodia so we don't see him too often, but he is here for the holidays. And the newest addition to our family, our niece Hannah, is always entertaining!

We still have one more holiday meal ahead of us. I am cooking for New Year's Eve! I am taking the opportunity to make one of the few recipes I have left from The Book -- a fresh ham. Exciting!

Happy Holidays!


Jennifer said...

I haven't seen a posting in so long. Are you okay? I hope so.

Teena said...

Jennifer -- Thanks for your concern! I am fine. Just very busy! I will post again soon!