What is veal ? Looking for veal recipe’s ?
All You Ought to Know About Veal
What is veal?
Veal is meat from a calf(young cattle) this is what is referred to as veal. Opposed to beef, which is much older cattle, veal can be slightly expensive. It is obtained from the calf of any breed and either sex however it mostly comes from male calves of dairy breeds. This is because the male calves are usually of no use to dairy farmers. They are taken away from their mothers while they are around six months old and are still nursing while the females are kept as future milk producers. The males are then slaughtered to produce meat.
A little bit of history about the early years
The Sumerians who are one of the oldest societies at around 2500 BC are acknowledged to confine and subdue any wild cattle that wandered the plains of Mesopotamia. To them, veal was a luxury, which was often consumed by those that could risk losing milk or a draft animal in order to satisfy their cravings. The rich nobles and priests of classical Sumeria and Babylonia feasted on and drank wine at sophisticated banquets. This is depicted in fine detail on mosaics and bas-relief structures. Those that could not afford to eat such exquisite meat had to wait until their cattle were old and no longer able to serve them in any way, before killing them for food.
Did you know there are different types of veal ?
Yes and in fact there are around five different types of veal from all around the world.
- They include;Formula fed or milk fed. These are calves that are brought up on milk formula supplement. Their meat usually has an ivory or creamy pink colour and a firm, velvet appearance. They are usually ready for slaughter at around 18-20 weeks of age and they are likely to be weighing between 200 and 230 kg.
- Rose veal: This term is mostly used in the UK,in Europe they call it young beef. This is young cattle raised on farm with the intervention of the UK Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals’ Freedom Food project. It is pink in colour as the calves are slaughtered at or after 35 weeks (8-12 months)
- Special fed: This is veal from calves that are fed balanced milk or soy based-diet with a number of essential nutrients.
- Free raised: It comes from calves raised in the pasture with unrestricted access to mother’s milk. They are not given hormones or antibiotics. Their meat’s colour is a rich pink that is low in fat. They are then slaughtered at around 24 weeks of age.
- Non-formula fed: This is meat from calves’ raised on hay, grain or any other solid food in addition to milk. The meat is a darker in colour.
Various types of veal cuts
As you may know veal is prepared depending on the cuts. Common cuts include;
Breast: It succulent and ideal for slow coking recipes.
Leg: Commonly used in Veal Milanese.
Rib chops: They are available as bone-in or boneless steaks.
Rib roast: Are left with the bone in to make them convenient for slicing and dry roasting.
Rib cuts: They can be grilled, roasted, pan fried, broiled or sautéed.
Other cuts include shanks, scallopini, loin cuts and chuck.
If you decide to marinate veal, keep it in the refrigerator for not more than 5 days if it is chops, roasts or steaks. Cubes or stew meat can only be marinated for 1 to 2 days. Any uncooked or leftover marinated meat should be discarded.
Some different cooking methods
Broiling: On a preheated broiler pan that is 3-5 inches from the source of heat. Let it broil until it is brown on one side and then do the same for the other side. It is best to heavily season also add some sumac the tangy flavour works great.
Grilling: It involves cooking using heat from gas, charcoal or electricity. It is an ideal way to cook veal cutlets just add salt and pepper and a little oregano or rosemary.
Braising: This is between boiling and steaming. Put a little amount of oil in a pan and brown all the sides of the meat. Remove the drippings from the pan and then cover the meat with stock and let it simmer over low heat for 1-3 hours. The great thing about braising is the ability to add all of your ingredients at once and have a great meal in a few hours. The likes of potato, carrots, tomatoes, bay leaf, thyme, onions, parsnips and turnips all works very well.
Roasting: cooking the veal in an oven. Place it on an uncovered pan without adding liquid and then set the oven temperatures at around (325˚F). You should know the rest!!!
Sauté: This has got to be one of our favourite ways of cooking veal.Put a little amount of olive oil in a pan, dusted the veal scallopini some flour then cook it in a pan for one minute and turn over to the other side. Work a medium – high heat and leave the pan uncovered throughout add some mushrooms and some marsala wine you got yourself a classic veal marsala.
Stew: You can use a number of desirable ingredients and flavourings to fry your veal in a little amount of olive oil and then add a small amount of chicken stock or red wine then cover and lightly simmer over low heat. This will allow the veal to absorb the flavours.
What goes well with veal?
There are a number of items that you can team up with your veal to make a sumptuous meal. They include;
Seasoning and Vegetables – such as onions, garlic, lemon, capers, mushroom, flour, tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant, lives, spinach, leeks, olives, fennel, artichokes marsala wine and red or white wine
Cooking oils like extra virgin oil or butter works wonders.
Herbs that include parsley, rosemary, sage and oregano go absolutely wonderful as well.
Some very classical veal dishes
One of the most famous has got to be the humble osso buco. What is veal osso buco ?
Osso buco mean’s in Italian “bone with a hole” osso buco is the cross cut of the shank with the marrow in.
The second has to be veal scaloppini piccata.
What is veal piccata ? It’s a classic Milanese way of cooking veal and the method goes as follows flour the veal then quickly sautéed add some stock, lemon juice, capers and parsley we personally love to add a little lemon zest once the stock is added.
The 3rd has got to be veal scaloppini marsala.veal masala
What is veal scaloppini marsala ? It’s veal very lightly floured sautéed in some olive oil and marsala wine added.
Some of the wines we recommended to accompany your veal dish include Borgaio, Valpolicella and Chianti classico.
Generally, veal is preferred for its soft texture and low cholesterol levels. It is also considered to be of much lighter taste and flavour compared to beef. This makes it ideal for a number of dishes. The nutritional benefits of veal are also numerous depending on how it is cooked.
Always ensure that you buy your veal from licensed and authorized dealers to guarantee safety and morality and well fare of the animal.
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