I haven’t cooked a veal breast in years. The last one I made was stuffed and it was good, but…. Well, let’s put it this way, it didn’t make my taste buds do cartwheels. This one, which is based on Jacques Pépin’s recipe, does! Jacques Pépin knows a thing or two or three about cooking. So when I ran across this recipe, and I happened to find a nice veal breast in the supermarket, I decided it was time to make a veal breast again. Maybe braising was the way to go. You know, if it’s good enough for Jacques, well, it certainly is good enough for The Goddess!
Of course, I couldn’t leave the recipe alone. The big thing you’ll notice is the absence of the pearl onions and the artichokes, even though I listed them in the recipe title. Well, I thought I had the “pearls”, but alas, no I didn’t. And I didn’t want to go to the store. Yes, I’m just that lazy. And, I love and adore artichokes, but The Spicy Honey doesn’t. So, I left them out. The sacrifices one makes for love! But, do please, please, please add them when you make this. I wanted to use the multi-cooker for this, but if you want to prepare this in the oven, then check out the original recipe. You should do that anyway, really. My plan was to slow-cook for part of the time, then check for doneness and if the meat isn’t quite tender, switch on the pressure cooker and finish it off. Turns out it was perfect and I didn’t need to. But, it’s a good option to have. You’ll note the addition of unflavored gelatin. WHAT? This is a good thing. The gelatin gives the juices the “texture”, if liquid has texture (it does!), of a slowly simmered homemade broth, which I didn’t use today. I also didn’t add any thickening agent. I didn’t think it needed any. I used the same amount of veggies in the recipe, but the veal breast I used was only 2 1/2-pounds. Next time I make this (and there will be a “next time”), I will add really good quality black olives, just before serving.
This is what the process looked like—
Braised Veal Breast with Pearl Onions, Fennel and Artichokes
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 bone-in veal breast (3 to 4 pounds)
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt (I use Diamond Crystal®)
- 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup diced fennel bulb (about 1/2 a large bulb)
- 1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped onions
- 12 peeled garlic cloves (or more, if desired)
- 1/2 cup homemade chicken stock or canned low-sodium chicken broth
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 1/2 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
- 1/2 teaspoon dry thyme leaves (or 1 fresh sprig)
- Grated zest 1 lemon
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice.
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 cup frozen pearl onions, unthawed
- One 9-ounce box frozen artichoke hearts
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
Heat the butter in the multi-cooker insert. Season the veal breast all over with the salt and pepper, place it meat-side-down in the hot butter. Brown it on all sides, turning as it browns, about 15 minutes. Transfer the meat to a plate.
Add the chopped onions, fennel and garlic to the drippings in the pot; cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally. The mixture will pick up a bit of color, but will not be completely browned. Add the stock, wine, thyme, lemon zest and juice, unflavored gelatin and bay leaves; stir to mix well.
Return the veal to the pot, cover, and set the multi-cooker to “Slow Cook”, with the vent “Open”. Set the time for 6 hours on LOW. (The recipe can be prepared ahead to this point and the veal set aside for up to 1 day. Bring to a simmer before proceeding.)
When ready to serve, remove the veal from the pot. Turn to the “Sauté” setting. Add the frozen pearl onions and artichokes to the pot. Simmer gently for 10 to 15 minutes, until the pearl onions are just tender. Slice the veal into rib chops. Serve on hot plates, with the veggies, and a lot of the braising liquid. Sprinkle with the chives.
Recipe adapted from Heart & Soul in the Kitchen by Jacques Pépin.