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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Entries in veal (3)

Monday
Jun252012

Animelle di Vitello in Agrodolce (Veal Sweetbreads with Sweet and Sour Sauce)

I love sweetbreads. They’re delicate in flavor, they’re versatile enough to fry, roast, or stuff into something else, and they’re cheap. If you can find them, that is. I’m surprised that many butchers don’t carry them, and the vendors at my favorite farmer’s market only have them a couple times per year. When I can procure them, I buy a few pounds and freeze them. I can't help it. I LOVE THEM.

Sweetbreads fall into the offal category, and no, they’re not a nice way of saying “brains”. They’re typically veal, and they can be either thymus gland or pancreas. Most of the time you’re getting thymus.  When I tell people sweetbreads are part of a menu, most of them go to brains. I did too—WHO TAUGHT US THIS???  It’s like we all have unconsciously absorbed this mass of false information that has no basis in reality. Like being a Tea Party voter.

But I digress.

I have two favorite sweetbread recipes. One is from the Chanterelle cookbook, and the sweetbreads are fried and tossed in a spicy, deep ginger and orange sauce – like an upscale General Tso’s chicken.  The one I’m sharing with you today is from (I know you’re sick of hearing me rave about this book) Giorgio Locatelli’s Made in Italy: Food and Stories.  In previous blog posts, I’ve given you Giorgio’s balls.  You’ve seen the nettle risotto, and been warned about the prick if you aren’t careful with that. I’ve told you how my friend Becky came to dinner, tweaked his recipe and had a table of guests swooning over what she could do with her fish. This time, we’re going for the throat…

Sweetbreads are a bit of a pain. First, they have to be soaked for at least 24 hours, but all you have to do there is change the water a few times. Next, you have to remove the membrane from around them. Once they’ve soaked, it’s a pretty quick process. And yeah, I know it sounds gross to cook anything involving the word “membrane”. The meat sauce that goes with this dish will become your de facto meat sauce base. I promise. It’s like a quick demi-glace, and it’s incredibly rich. You can make the veal sauce and the agrodolce a day in advance if you like, and clean the sweetbreads a couple of hours ahead. Once your guests arrive, it’s a quick process to fry these up, toss them in one sauce and top with another.

The only variation I made to this recipe was to ignore the instructions for sautéed spinach, because I find it boring. I subbed in some garlicky sauteed pea vines instead. Use whatever veg you want here. The sweetbreads are the star of the show.

My copy of this book is from the UK, so the measure here are metric. I’m entering the recipe as it is given in the book, but italicizing my variations and commentary.

Animelle di Vitello in Agrodolce (Veal Sweetbreads with Sweet and Sour Sauce)

Adapted from Giorgio Locatelli

4 handfuls of spinach

20g unsalted butter

100ml extra virgin olive oil

4 large carrots

1 garlic clove

1 bay leaf

4 veal sweetbreads, each about 120g, peeled and washed

1 tablespoon plain flour

2 tablespoons sunflower or vegetable oil

8 tablespoons Veal Sauce (recipe below)

Agrodolce di capperi (recipe below)

Salt and pepper

Preparation:

Blanch the spinach in boiling salted water for 5 seconds, refresh under cold running water, drain and squeeze out the excess water. Put into a pan with half the butter and half the olive oil.

Blanch the whole carrots for a couple of minutes in boiling salted water drain and leave to cool naturally, then cut at an angle into slices about 1cm thick.

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees Centigrade (480 Farenheit).

Crush the garlic with the back of a knife and put into a pan with the rest of the oil, the bay leaf and the sliced carrots. Place over a very low heat, cover with a lid and gently stew for about 10-12 minutes, until the carrots are soft. Take off the heat.

If the sweetbreads are still whole, gently break them apart (They will fall naturally into pieces). Season and dust with flour. Heat a large sauté pan (that will transfer to the oven), add the sunflower or vegetable oil and put in the pieces of sweetbread. Cook until golden on all sides, turn the heat down, leave for a minute, then transfer to the oven for about 3 minutes until cooked through. When they are ready, if you press them with your finger they should be springy, like a sponge cake. Or your mom’s ass.

While the sweetbreads are cooking, put the pan containing the spinach on to the heat to warm through, and season. Then put the pan containing the carrots back on the heat to warm through.

Take the sweetbreads out of the oven and let the pan cool down slightly, put it on the hob (“What the fuck is a hob”, you ask? It’s a stove top burner. Not to be confused with a hob-knocker, which is an entirely different thing. Look that one up on urban dictionary.), pour in the sauce, and heat through. Toss the sweetbreads in the sauce to coat. Take off the heat and carefully beat in the remaining butter, taking care not to smash the sweetbreads.

Spoon the spinach into the middle of your warmed plates and arrange the carrots around. Lift out the sweetbreads and spoon on top of the spinach. Then pour the veal sauce over the top. Finish with a tablespoon of agrodolce over each plate.

Basic Sauce for Meat

Makes 750ml to 1 liter

2-3 tablespoons sunflower or vegetable oil

400g meat trimmings (chicken, veal, pork, lamb, beef, venison, duck, pigeon, partridge, your neighbor’s cat, feral children,…). Note: I didn’t have meat trimmings so I just bought a cheap cut of veal on the bone. Don’t spend a lot of money on this—it’s just to caramelize and give depth of flavor.

1 carrot, diced into roughly the same size as the meat (make sure the dice are the same size so they cook evenly)

2 garlic cloves

1 sprig of rosemary

1 bay leaf

1 shallot, diced

20-30g butter

1 teaspoon flour

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1.5 liters good stock (chicken, veal, etc., depending on your meat,) For this dish, I used veal stock, but really anything will do. It’s flexible.

400 ml (A little more than half a bottle) Chianti or other red wine. Note that this is optional for the basic meat sauce described here, but for this veal sweetbread recipe it adds amazing depth of flavor.

Preparation:

Heat the pan to medium-hot, then put in the oil.

Just before it starts to smoke, put the trimmings into the pan a few at a time, making sure they all touch the bottom of the pan. Leave these to roast without touching them for 2-3 minutes, until they start to become golden underneath. Turn them until they are golden and caramelized on all sides, another 5-10 minutes.

Add the carrot, garlic and herbs, and leave to roast for another 2-3 minutes, then add the shallots and roast for another couple of minutes.

Turn down the heat, add the butter and let it foam without burning. If adding wine, add it now and let it reduce until some of the alcohol has evaporated – I let it go 10-15 minutes.

Add the flour and tomato paste, turn up the heat again, and cook for a minute or so, until the temperature of the pan has come up again.

Add the stock, scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Bring to the boil, skim, turn down the heat and cook for about half an hour.  

Put through a fine sieve and reduce until you have a sauce consistency.  I let this baby simmer and reduce for about 2 hours until it was a thick, deep, decadent sauce

Agrodolce di Capperi (Caper Sweet and Sour Sauce)

5 tablespoons white wine vinegar

70g caster sugar

100g capers in brine, drained, washed and dried

100ml extra virgin olive oil

Preparation:

Make the agrodolce sauce by putting the vinegar and sugar in a small pan and letting it bubble up and reduce to a clear syrup.

Hand-blend the capers, very slowly, adding the syrup (as if making a mayonnaise), then blend in the oil (again very slowly, so that the sauce doesn’t split) until creamy. Transfer to a small pan and keep on a very low heat, without boiling, for about 15-20 minutes, until any excess liquid disappears and the sauce is very thick. Leave to cool.

Monday
Jan092012

Marrowbone, Caramelized Onions, and Chimichurri

As I’ve mentioned before, I am a huge fan of Vinny Dotolo and Jon Shook, the chefs at Animal in Los Angeles. They showed me that not only do I love pork, I love the bits of pork I never even considered. Their Fried Pig Ears with Chili-Lime Vinaigrette rocked my world.

I was thrilled when I bought the Made in America: Our Best Chefs Reinvent Comfort Food cookbook last month (by Lucy Lean) to find they had contributed another bit of unexpected deliciousness to the mix. Bone Marrow, anyone?

I never knew how much I loved bone marrow until the first time I tried it while staging at the Herbfarm in Woodinville. One of the chefs made French Dips for family meal one night, served with fried bone marrow chips. They were orgasmic. Since then I’ve been a bone marrow pig. (I don’t know why it’s so hard to diet in this house.)

This recipe isn’t very complicated, but does involve some work a day ahead to get the marrow ready. Not a ton of work—you just need to salt them overnight. Calm down. We always have caramelized onions in the fridge (see above regarding difficulty dieting), so the actual assembly is pretty quick.

In my last post I talked about my fun day last month with Matt Wright, working on food styling and photography. This was one of the four dishes we prepared and it was the unexpected surprise in the mix. It is absolutely, spectacularly delicious. Creamy, beefy marrow with sweet caramelized onions and zingy chimichurri. How could you not love this? Well, unless you're vegetarian. Or vegan. Or stupid.

This cookbook already contains many anal-retentively filed bookmarks and references for me to come back and try other recipes. Usually, a cookbook needs 3 or 4 good recipes for me to buy it. Made in America far surpasses that. I’m always rambling on about not dumbing down restaurant recipes. This one doesn’t. It’s the real deal.

I hope you enjoy this as much as we did. 

Marrowbone, Caramelized Onions, and Chimichurri

Adapted from Vinny Dotolo and Jon Shook of Animal, Los Angeles

Ingredients:

Marrowbones:

3 center-cut veal marrowbones, 6 inches long, split down the middle (6 halves)

NOTE FROM MARC: My butcher was not able to cut the bones when I came in, so I bought bones cut vertically. They still worked as intended so don’t get too hung up on the size. (Mark this date as the first time those words have come out of my mouth)

Chimichurri Sauce:

1 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

1/3 cup finely chopped fresh oregano

1 whole jalapeno (leave some seed and membrane for heat), worked to a paste

¾ cup distilled vinegar

7 cloves garlic, worked to a paste

1 tablespoon hot red pepper flakes

¾ cup extra virgin olive oil or grapeseed oil

Salt

Caramelized Onions:

1 ½ tablespoons grapeseed oil

2 small diced white onions

To Serve:

Chimichurri Sauce

4 tablespoons Caramelized Onions

6 pieces Marrowbone

6 slices pain de mie or good quality white bread (NOTE FROM MARC: As always, you can make this gluten free by omitting the bread and replacing it with a large piece of tree bark)

2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) unsalted butter

Serves 6

To Prepare the Marrowbones:

  1. Heavily salt the marrowbones the day before and refrigerate for about 20 hours.
  2. The next day, preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
  3. Wash off the marrowbones and pat dry.
  4. Place the marrowbone, uncovered and face up, on a sheet pan. Transfer to the oven for 4 to 6 minutes, depending on the size, until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees Farenheit all the way through.

To Make the Chimichurri Sauce:

Combine all the ingredients in a nonreactive bowl, and set aside.

To Make the Onions:

Heat a large sauté pan over medium-high heat and add the grapeseed oil; it should slide across the pan with ease. Add the onions. Cook, stirring, for about 5 minutes until the onions start to become translucent. Reduce the heat to medium-low and continue to cook until the onions are deeply caramelized, about 30 minutes.. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature. Use immediately or refrigerate.

To Assemble and Serve:

  1. Heat the caramelized onions in a pan until hot.
  2. Meanwhile, cut six 2-inch slices of pain de mie (or bark), butter both sides of the slices, and toast in a pan over medium heat. Remove the marrowbones and divide among six plates. Divide the caramelized onions equally among the six marrowbones and spoon on top of each. Spoon some chimichurri sauce on top of the caramelized onions. Cut the toasted pain di mie in half diagonally and place to the side of the marrowbone.

Monday
Jun202011

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 

Ingredients:

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 

Preparation:

  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!)