Veal Chops

A while back we saw Lidia on PBS cooking veal chops stuffed with fontina. A really simple, basic recipe that really looked good. While I was shopping Monday at Reading Terminal Market, I was walking past one of the meat purveyors, and veal chops jumped out at me. What can I say? I had to buy them.

Veal chops are not always the most economical cut of meat, but these were really reasonable. Reading Terminal prices, in general, are really reasonable. It's why I head down there every 4-6 weeks for sausages and a few other staples. And in just a couple of months I'll be able to ride SEPTA down there for a buck! There are perks to getting old.

But I digress...

The recipe is really easy - and really, really good. The meat was tender as tender could be, and the oozing cheeses were unbelievably good. Lidia's recipe calls for a specific Fontina from Valle d’Aosta but I used a Sottocenere al tartufo - a raw cow's milk cheese with truffles from Venice. I picked it up at Downtown Cheese. I'm such a rebel.

It was stellar. Really stellar.

I'm copying the recipe verbatim from Epicurious. The recipe has been shared online at numerous sites, so I don't feel bad sharing it here, as well - but you should really just buy her book Lidia Cooks From The Heart Of Italy and get all of the recipes! We have it!

Veal Chops

Adapted from Lidia Bastianich

  • 6 bone-in veal rib chops, about 1 1/2 inches thick, 8 to 10 ounces each
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 8 ounces shredded fontina from Valle d’Aosta (or Italian Fontal)
  • 1 cup grated Grana Padano or Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour for dredging, plus more as needed
  • 12 fresh sage leaves
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 cups white wine
  • 1/2 cup hot chicken broth
  1. Arrange an oven rack to accommodate the covered saucepan, and heat the oven to 400°.
  2. Trim the chops, leaving only a thin layer of fat. With a sharp, thin knife, slice horizontally into the outer edge of each chop, splitting the meaty portion in two almost all the way to the bone, forming a pocket for stuffing. With the mallet, pound and spread the meaty part, flattening it to 1/2-inch thickness. Lift the top flap of the meat you just sliced apart, hold it up, and pound the bottom flap of meat a few more times, spreading it thinner and wider than the upper flap. When all the chops are sliced and pounded, salt them on both sides, using a teaspoon in all.
  3. Toss together the shredded fontina and the grana (grated Grana Padano or Parmigiano-Reggiano), and divide the cheeses into six equal portions. One at a time, lightly compress the cheese portions into oval patties, and slip them into the sliced chop pockets. Fold the larger bottom meat flap over the top flap—enclosing the cheese—and thread a toothpick through both flaps to keep them together. (The chops can be prepared up to this point a day in advance, sealed in plastic wrap, and refrigerated.)
  4. Put 2 tablespoons of the butter and the olive oil in the big pan, and set over medium-high heat. Spread the flour on a plate, dredge each chop on both sides, shake off excess flour, and lay it in the pan. When all the chops are in the pan, drop the sage leaves in between them. Cook the chops for 5 minutes or more, turning them once or twice, until well browned on both sides.
  5. Clear a space in the pan bottom, drop in the tomato paste, and toast it in the hot spot for a minute. Pour the wine over the tomato paste, stir them together, and shake the pan to distribute the liquid. Bring it to a boil, and cook for 3 minutes or so, to reduce.
  6. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons butter and whisk it into the pan liquid. Turn the chops over, pour in the chicken stock, sprinkle on the remaining salt, and bring to a boil.
  7. Cover the pan, and place in the oven. Roast for about 15 minutes, then remove the cover and roast another 10 minutes or so, until the chops are done and the sauce has thickened.
  8. Remove from the oven, and place the chops on a warm platter. (Drape a towel over the handle of the pan when it comes out of the oven to remind you it is very hot.) If the sauce is thin, put the pan over high heat and reduce until the sauce has the consistency you like.
  9. Serve right away—while the cheese is still oozing—arranging all the chops on a warm platter and spooning the sauce over, family-style, or on warm dinner plates with mashed potatoes alongside and sauce drizzled over. (If you do have fresh white truffle, shave it on the top of each chop at this moment.)


Veal Stew with Potato Dumplings



There's just nothing better on a freezy day than a loaf of bread in the oven and a pot of stew on the stove. This is what days off were made for.

I had some veal stew meat in the freezer that needed using up so I looked through a few old magazines and found a great recipe in Saveur. Instead of the regular ol' noodles or potatoes, it called for potato dumplings! It sounded like just what I wanted to make - and I didn't have to leave the house for anything. A very important consideration when it's cold outside.

This was another case of just a few ingredients creating big flavor. The slow simmer concentrated the flavors of the stew, making for a rich dish without a lot of extraneous spices. The dumplings added a pleasant change from the traditional egg noodles or potato cubes. I could see this happening, again.

My slightly-larger-than-golf-ball-dumplings cooked up to tennis ball size. They worked perfectly, but if you want 'em smaller, make them smaller than golf balls to begin with.

Veal Stew with Potato Dumplings


  • 1 lb veal stew meat
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp fresh-ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 4 carrots, cut into 1" pieces
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 12 oz. mushrooms, sliced
  • 4 cups beef broth


  • 1 lb potatoes
  • 3/4 cup unseasoned bread crumbs
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 1 tsp dill
  • 1 tbsp chopped parsley
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour


Combine flour and spices. Add veal pieces to flour mixture and toss to evenly coat. Heat 2 tbsp butter in a large braising pot over medium heat. Brown veal on all sides.

Add remaining butter to pot and stir in carrots, onion, and mushrooms. Cook vegetables until onions are slightly translucent.

Add broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook until veal is very tender and broth is thickened, about 2 hours.


Place whole, unpeeled potatoes in a pot, cover with water, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cook until potatoes are easily pierced with a knife, 30 or so minutes. Drain potatoes and let
cool until they are easily handled.

Peel potatoes, then mash into a large bowl. Add bread crumbs, egg yolks, milk, dill, salt, and pepper. knead together using your hands until mixture is just combined.

Form dough into golf ball-sized dumplings. Place flour in bowl and evenly coat dumplings with a thin layer.

Boil dumplings in salted water until cooked through, about 15 minutes.

To serve, place dumplings in bowls and top with a generous portion of stew.


The stew just simmered away, concentrating flavors.



And the dumplings just kept growing... They were good, though. Like mashed potato balls.


It was definitely a hit. Nonna ate every bit of her dinner. Well... except the mushrooms.

Veal Stew



I'm in major-use-things-out-of-the-freezer mode. My last few shopping trips have been a bit freezer-excessive. I definitely got some good deals and all, but I've kinda lost track of what's in there - and I can't get it organized until I get more stuff out of there.

When things are going well, the first basket is meats, the second poultry, the third vegetables, and the 4th stuff. Right now, stuff is everywhere.

Last night I pulled out the first packet I saw - it was veal stew meat. I didn't have a recipe or a plan... I just needed to use something...

Stew is not something I need a recipe for, but I thought I might like to do something just a bit different, so I grabbed an old Bon Appetit year book... First recipe I saw sounded good. The fact that I didn't have half the ingredients didn't stop me. I know how to substitute!

I went to work...

Veal Stew

  • 1 pound veal stew meat
  • flour
  • garlic powder
  • paprika
  • salt & Pepper
  • olive oil
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 cup dry red wine
  • 4 plum tomatoes
  • 1 8oz can tomato sauce
  • 1 tsp dried sage
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 1 jar roasted red peppers, chopped
  • 1 tbsp capers

Mix flour with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and paprika. Toss veal with flour mixture. Heat oil and butter in heavy large pot. Working in batches, add veal to pot and sauté until brown, about 6 minutes per batch. Transfer veal to plate as it is cooked. Saute peppers. Add wine, tomatoes, tomato sauce, chopped peppers,and sage to pot, breaking up tomatoes. Return veal and any accumulated juices to pot; bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer 1 1/2 hours. Stir in capers. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve over noodles or pasta, rice, or potatoes.

Definitely a keeper. And since the tomatoes I used were from our garden and frozen in September, I was able to clean out a bit more...


Stuffed Veal Breast


We did good tonight, boys and girls! I tried something new and I'm pleased to announce that it really worked well.

Over the years I have seen and/or heard of veal breasts and stuffed veal breasts from time to time.  I've never cooked one, never worked anywhere that ever cooked one, and, while I may see them on a cooking show now and again, rarely see them in the store, either.

So, whilst doing my shopping early this morning, I came upon a bone-in veal breast on sale for about a third of its regular price. With absolutely no idea what I was going to do with it, it was an impulse-buy right into the cart.

Once home, I started looking for recipes.  It seems that they all started out by saying "Have your butcher bone the veal breast and cut a pocket..." 

Now...  I don't know about you, but out here in the suburban wastelands, our grocery store butcher knows how to cut the tape on the box of pre-portioned product that goes onto the refrigerated shelves. I decided it would be easier - and infinitely less-expensive - to bone it, myself.

It really took no time at all to take the bones off and I was left with - a veal brisket. Now call me silly, but I had completely forgotten that the brisket comes from the breast. I'm pretty sure I butchered a beef forequarter when I was in Uncle Sam's Yacht Club, but I think I was more concerned with trying to keep from cutting my own limbs off with the band saw than remembering the primal cuts...  the knee bone's connected where?!?  But while I may have forgotten where it came from - I definitely hadn't forgotten what to do with it!

Briskets are pretty fatty - and one right off the bone is even more-so.  I trimmed off the smaller top piece and with my handy-dandy KitchenAid grinder attachment (Thanks, Debbie!!!) I ground it for the stuffing.  It was maybe a pound and a quarter, pound and a half...

To it, I added salt and pepper, garlic, about a half-pound of frozen spinach and a half-jar of sun-dried tomatoes in oil.  I mixed it all up and set it aside.

I butterflied the remaining piece and opened it up like a book.  I spread the stuffing all along it, rolled it jellyroll-style, and tied it with kitchen twine - keeping the fattiest layer on top.

And then the fun began.

First thing I did was brown it all off in a dutch oven.  When it was nicely browned, I added half a bottle of red wine, a quart of beef broth, and a can of diced tomatoes in juice to the pot, along with a few hefty pinches of French herbs, salt, and pepper.  I brought it to a boil and then, covered, into a 350° oven for 2 1/2 hours.  About every 30 minutes I would turn it to submerge another piece.

I pulled it out of the oven and then let it sit for about 30 minutes before slicing.

Stuffing fell out while cooking and I had a goodly amount of it along with the tomatoes in the braising liquid.  I just broke it up into uniform pieces and thickened all of it with a bit of cornstarch.

The meat was tender as tender could be - and the sauce totally rocked.  It totally rocked.  There were only a few ingredients but they spent a lot of time together.  They played together well.

So...  we have another winter meal concept to play with... I'm looking forward to it...

Stuffed Veal Scaloppini

Two years ago we were newlyweds in New Hampshire.  We had just been married by our dear friend, Marlene.  Dorrie, Jordan, Ruth, and Dave made it up for the festivities, and we ended up at an Irish pub for our mini-reception.  It was pretty low-key.  A bit unusual for us, I know, but after having to cancel our marriage in San Francisco because of Prop 8, we thought low-key was probably better.

It was a fabulous day with fabulous friends and a day we will never forget.  It's also not the day we will be celebrating as our anniversary - that will continue to be November 23rd.

But officially celebrating or not, I still have to acknowledge it - and what better way than with a fun new dinner?!?

I had a bit of veal in the freezer  and La Cucina Italiana came through, yet again.

I have to admit I was a bit skeptical of the recipe, because I don't always have the best luck keeping things contained inside breading, but this came out great!

It also wasn't that difficult, although it did make for a lot of dirty pots and pans.

Oh well...  It was worth it!

Stuffed Veal Scaloppini

adapted from La Cucina Italiana


  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2 ounces prosciutto, diced
  • 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 12 oz veal scallops
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 1½ cups dried bread crumbs
  • Canola oil for frying


Prepare the filling: In a small bowl, combine the butter and flour. Knead together to form a paste. Warm the milk in a small saucepan, and add the butter-flour mixture. Whisk to avoid any lumps, and simmer, stirring often, until thick, about 6 minutes. Remove from the heat, and transfer to a bowl. Add the prosciutto and Parmigiano, and mix well. Season with salt and pepper, and set aside to cool.

In a large nonstick skillet over medium heat, heat the olive oil. Season the veal scallops with salt and pepper, dredge in flour, and shake off any excess. Add the veal to the skillet, and sauté for 30 seconds on each side. Remove from the skillet, and set aside to cool.

Spread a layer of the filling over each veal cutlet. Place the veal in the refrigerator for 30 minutes or until the filling is firm.

Remove the veal from the refrigerator, and dredge both sides in flour. Shake off the excess, and dip in the eggs. Coat the veal evenly in the bread crumbs.

In a large skillet with high sides, heat 1 inch of canola oil over medium heat. Add the breaded cutlets, filling side down, and fry until golden. Carefully flip each cutlet, and cook until golden. Drain on paper towels, and serve.

The filling firms up nicely and was very easy to bread.

What started out as small scallops continued to grow.  Two of the scallops were more than enough for each plate.  Leftovers!!!

The cauliflower steaks are really simple to make, as well.

Simply cut the cauliflower head straight down in about 1" slices.  Place in a skillet with a bit of olive oil and brown on one side.  Flip, shred a bit of parmesan cheese on top along with a pinch of salt and pepper, and place in a hot oven for about 15 minutes.

And a faux Potatoes Anna is always an easy way to do potatoes when you don't want to watch them.

Place a bit of butter in a small pan and allow to melt.  Thinly-slice potato and layer in pan.  Drizzle a bit more butter in the pan, cover, and cook on stove-top about 15 minutes.  Flip, and continue cooking another 5 or so...

All-in-all, a fun meal.  And we have Pumpkin Pie for dessert!


Asparagus and Mushroom Flan

Tonight's dinner is brought to you by a grocery store magazine.  Well...  they came up with the concept, anyway...

I received a copy of the Wegmans magazine the other day and one of the recipes that caught my eye was a Mushroom Flan.  It just sounded like something I would like.

The recipe as printed serves 8 people.  Even the way we eat, that was excessive, so I cut it way back, substituted asparagus for the gourmet mushrooms and used 10 oz souffle cups to bake them.

They came out great! The browned and lightly-crisped top and edges contrasted perfectly with the light, creamy, melt-in-your-mouth interior.  It almost floated off the plate.

Here is the Wegman's recipe.  I made about a third of this.

Mushroom Flan

  • 2 Tbsp Olive Oil, divided
  • 1 pkg (5 oz) sliced shiitake mushrooms
  • 1 pkg (8 oz) Sliced Baby Bella Mushrooms
  • Salt and cracked black pepper
  • 1 tsp chopped Fresh Thyme
  • 2 Tbsp White Wine
  • 4 cups Heavy Cream, divided
  • 1 pkg (4 oz) Gourmet Blend Mushrooms
  • 3 Large Eggs
  • 1 Tbsp Cornstarch

You'll Need: 8 (3 1/2-inches each) ramekins, nonstick cooking spray, rimmed baking sheet, food processor

Preheat oven to 350°.

1. Add 1 Tbsp oil, shiitake and baby bella mushrooms to skillet on HIGH. Cook, stirring, about 5 min, until mushrooms are golden and no moisture remains. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

2. Reduce heat to MEDIUM; add thyme and wine. Cook 1-2 min, until wine is reduced to almost dry. Add 1 cup heavy cream. Cook, stirring, 6-8 min, until mixture is thick and reduced by two-thirds.

3. Transfer mushroom mixture to food processor; puree until almost smooth (some mushroom bits should remain). Transfer to large bowl; refrigerate until chilled, about 1 hour.

4. Wipe skillet with paper towel.  Add remaining 1 Tbsp olive oil and gourmet mushrooms to skillet on HIGH.  Cook, stirring, about 4 min,  until mushrooms are golden. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.

5. Spray ramekins with cooking spray and place on rimmed baking sheet. Spoon gourmet mushrooms into bottoms of ramekins, portioning evenly.

6. Make custard: Whisk together eggs, remaining 3 cups heavy cream, and cornstarch into bowl. Add to cooled mushroom mixture. Season with salt and pepper. Divide custard evenly among ramekins.

7. Bake 45-50 min, until knife inserted 1-inch from edge comes out clean and tops are lightly browned and custard is set. Serve in ramekins or cool about 15 min to unmold. To unmold, run knife around inside edges of ramekin. Cover ramekin top with small plate; invert. Invert again onto serving plate.

Chef Tip(s):
# Can be made a day ahead and refrigerated. Reheat in 350 degree oven 20 - 25 min.
# Can be baked in 3-quart shallow (at least 2-inches deep) baking dish directly on oven rack for 50-60 min or until knife inserted near center comes out clean.

This is something that is going into the repertoire.  There are a billion-and-one variations that can be made with this.

The main course was a veal marsala.  Veal scallops dusted with a mixture of flour, sage, garlic powder, salt, and pepper.  About 4 oz mushrooms, sliced and a half-cup of marsala to deglaze the pan.

When the wine cooked down, I added about a cup of chicken stock and then about a half-cup of heavy cream.  I let it boil until it was thick.

Served over noodles...

I used veal stew meat for the scallops.  Just pounded them thin.  They were about half the cost of pre-cut scalloppini...

New Year's Eve 2011

2011.  It's hard to grasp.

I remember as a little kid figuring how old I was going to be in the year 2000.  Not just old.  Ancient.  I couldn't quite fathom being almost as old as my grandparents.

And here it is, 11 years after that.

I do know that that little boy in San Francisco never imagined his life would be what it is today.  I don't think I even knew where Pennsylvania was, let alone thinking that I would actually be living here.

And I certainly didn't imagine going to war, working in hotels all over the United States, or actually settling down and getting married to the greatest guy in the world after a rather wild and somewhat misspent youth.

No.  That little boy couldn't have imagined half of it.

A computer?!?  The World Wide Web?!?  Transistor radios were the hot new thing and television was in black and white.  Annette was the most popular Mouseketeer, but Cubby was secretly my favorite.

A long time ago.

And not such a long time ago, I don't think I imagined this being my 999th blog post.  How fitting that New Year's Eve should be the last post before I hit 1000.

1000 posts!  What will I cook?  What will I say?  We have been planning having Linda and David over on Sunday.  I never did plan anything for New Year's Day, itself.

In typical Tim fashion, I'll just have to wing it.

Like I did with dinner tonight.....

I knew I was doing veal chops and I knew I was going to serve them on a bed of arugula, but that was about it. I found a recipe from Gourmet with radicchio and white beans that gave me the idea for endive, tomatoes, and white beans.

Veal Chops

  • veal chops, 1" thick
  • olive oil
  • rosemary
  • garlic, minced
  • tomato, diced
  • 1 can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • Belgian endive, roughly chopped
  • arugula
  • red wine vinegar
  • chicken broth
  • cornstarch
  • salt and pepper

For 2 chops, mince 1 clove garlic and mix with 1/4 teaspoon rosemary and about a quarter-cup of olive oil.  Marinate the chops for about an hour, turning a couple of times.

In a hot skillet, sear the chops and then place in a 375° oven for about 20 minutes.

A couple of minutes before the chops are done, quickly saute arugula in a drizzle of olive oil, salt and pepper.  Arrange on plate.

Place chops atop arugula.

In chop pan, add endive and diced tomato.  Add 2-3 tablespoons of red wine vinegar (or vinegar of your choice.)  When vinegar has reduced a bit, add beans and about 1 cup of chicken broth mixed with a tablespoon of cornstarch.

Cook until lightly thickened, check for seasoning, and spoon over chops.

That chop was way too much even for me, but I gave it that old college try.  Cybil will be eating well for the next couple of days!

The flavors all worked well together.  The vinegar was just sharp enough, but also diluted by the chicken broth so as not to be overpowering.  The tomato added sweetness, the beans a comforting smoothness.  The endive added a nice bitterness and a good crunch.  The chops themselves were excellent.  And the peppery goodness of the arugula played off everything else.

In other words, it was a perfect meal to end the first decade of the second millennium.

And post 999.