Who's the Baketard?

Why Baketard? Love to cook, hate to bake. Despite having gone to cooking school and working in some top kitchens, I never learned the baking side of things. I'm building my baking and photography skills, while sharing recipes that rock my world in the mean time.

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Roasted Veal Chop with Morel and Cacao Sauce

This is the time of year when my cookbook obsession sends me into overdrive. A ton of great cookbooks came out in the past 12 months celebrating seasonal ingredients that aren't common grocery-store fare. The availability of foraged foods increases exponentially in the spring, but the limited window forces me to squeeze in all the recipes I've bookmarked to cook. The Wild Table, by Connie Green and Sarah Scott, is THAT kind of book.

Living in Seattle, we are lucky to have some kick-ass foragers and farmers at the farmers' markets who sell their hard-earned loot. You can make this dish with dried morels anytime. But with morels in season now, I've been on a binge. What the hell--you only get them for a couple months of the year so you may as well enjoy them, right?

Let me just say that unless you have a butcher nearby or a (harder and harder to find) grocery store that actually breaks down meat in-house instead of having it delivered pre-cut, it can be a bitch to find uncommon cuts, including veal. Veal is typically one of those bad-karma ingredients, because they torture the baby cows. So if you do make this according to the recipe, you WILL go to hell. Just so you know.

I had a hard time initially finding veal, let along happy, untortured veal for this dish. Most of the local, organic, rainbows-and-butterflies-kumbyah-circle butchers don't carry veal because it *is* so hard to find a reputable source. My friend Becky (who is an amazing chef) suggested venison chops as a substitute. Yeah, because venison is so much easier to find. I figured if we're doing that, why not just serve it on unicorn chops? (Becky, bite me). I think this would also rock on lamb or a big-assed, double-cut pork chop.

Regardless of the protein on which you choose to serve it, this recipe will be in my "Try Again" file for sure. It was fantastic.

Roasted Veal Chop with Morel and Cacao Sauce

Adapted from The Wild Table, by Connie Green and Sarah Scott

Serves 4 


Four 10- to 12-ounce veal rib chops

1 Tbsp cocoa nibs

2 Tbsp unsalted butter

1 shallot, finely minced

½ lb. fresh morels, cleaned, stems trimmed to ¼ inch

2 Tbsp Madeira

3 oz veal demi-glace

3 tbsp beef broth

1 cup heavy cream

2 tbsp finely grated high-quality unsweetened chocolate

1 tbsp finely grated high-quality 70% bittersweet chocolate

1/8 tsp ground cinnamon

Pinch of ground cloves

2 tbsp pure olive oil

Fleur de sel 


  1. Position a rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Farenheit and place the veal chops on a baking sheet.
  2. Place the cocoa nibs on a cutting board and, using a sharp knife, chop through them until they are the texture of coarse-ground pepper. (Note from Marc: Or, if you’re a lazyass like I am, whiz them a couple of times through a spice grinder so you don’t have cocoa nibs flying all over your damned kitchen) Reserve ½ teaspoon of the chopped nibs. Sprinkle the remaining nibs evenly over the surface of the veal chops. If you will be cooking the chops within an hour, leave them at room temperature. If not, refrigerate them and bring them out 1 hour before cooking.
  3. Place the butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. When the butter is just starting to turn golden brown, add the shallot. Cook, stirring frequently until the shallot is slightly caramelized and tender, 3 to 4 minutes.
  4. Add the morels to the pan and stir to coat them evenly with the butter and shallot. Continue cooking until the morels are tender and starting to caramelize, 4 to 5 more minutes. (If you are using fresh morels, remove them from the pan at this point and set aside. If using dried morels, leave them in the pan and continue.) Add the Madeira and cook, stirring, until it has almost evaporated. Add the demi-glace and beef broth to the pan. Turn up the heat and bring to a boil. Cook for 1-2 minutes, or until the veal stock has reduced a bit, then stir in the cream. Bring back to a boil , then turn down the heat to a vigorous simmer.
  5. Stir in the unsweetened chocolate, the 70 percent chocolate, the cinnamon and the cloves. Stir briskly until the chocolates are melted into the cream. Stir in the reserved cocoa nibs. (Add the fresh morels back to the sauce at this point.) Cook until the sauce is thick and evenly colored, 3 to 4 more minutes. Remove the sauce from the heat and hold in a warm place while you cook the rib chops. (Note from Marc: we found the sauce to have amazing depth, but the nibs combined with the unsweetened chocolate made it a little too bitter and flat from our perspective. We did the typical sauce-doctor correction of adding salt and acid to round out the flavors (in this case, we used Sherry Vinegar for the acid) as well as a Tablespoon or so of honey to round out the bitter note.)
  6. Place oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Have a large baking sheet or shallow roasting pan lined with a rack nearby. When the oil is hot, add the veal chops to the sauté pan, being careful not to crowd the pan. You may have to cook them in batches. Brown on each side, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Remove to the baking sheet or roasting pan until they are browned.
  7. Place the chops in the oven and roast until the internal temperature is 125 degrees Farenheit for rare, about 15 minutes, or 135 degrees for medium rare, 5 to 6 more minutes. Remove from the oven and let rest for 10 minutes before serving. (Note from Marc: Let them rest. Seriously. If you don’t let the meat rest it will be dry and have WAY less flavor. I know you’re hungry, but just wait. You’re so impatient!)

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Reader Comments (8)

I hate getting misquoted. I didn't say "use venison as a substitute" I actually said, "you dumbfuck, I won't eat dinner at your house if you serve me anything less than the finest chop from a virginal unicorn that has only ever eaten rainbows and kittens and breathed in air made from love and cupcakes and drank water that flows in streams untouched from baketards and losers such as yourself." Or maybe I just suggested venison, I can't remember.

June 20, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBecky

That looks so delicious! I'm enjoying watching you grow as a blogger. Yay!

June 20, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterHsiao-Ching

Did you just call me fat, Hsiao-Ching?

June 20, 2011 | Registered CommenterMarc

okay I never post but couldn't resist this time:
First of all, I need to meet Becky because clearly her passion for sarcasm and hilarity exceeds my wit, second of all, I was in Portland with a friend last weekend, and we visited some of her family. Her cousin told her "oh since you are staying at the Heathman, you really need to go to the place with "The Cow Drinking Chocolate". so my friend kept saying, We have to find "The Cow Drinking Chocolate" place. we get into the Heathman, head out for dinner and I see in the lobby "Cacao Drinking Chocolate"...a gorgeous little shop with....wait for it "Cacao Drinking Chocolate".....which we will now always call "The Cow Drinking Chocolate". And I can't wait to try making Roasted Veal Chops with The Cow Sauce!

June 20, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJanice

This deserves the hashtag #fuckmefood.

June 21, 2011 | Unregistered Commentersaltyseattle

I'm already going to hell so, where did you procure your veal?

June 23, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterOC2Seattle

I ended up going to the butcher in Issaquah (because I happened to be out there for a doc visit)
REALLY nice to meet you this week!


June 24, 2011 | Registered CommenterMarc

Wow, very nice photo, Marc! I love taking a break from reading Carl Sagan and Neil DeGrasse Tyson and Roman Polansky to catch up on your blog :-)

June 28, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSeattleFoodGeek

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