How to Cook Veal
Like beef cuts, veal cuts are sold under similar names (so make sure to use the appropriate cut that the veal recipes ask for). Veal meat is either light veal or heavy veal. Light veal is from a lightweight calf that is fed with milk and grain, while heavy veal on the other hand comes from milk and grass-fed heavyweight calf.
Tips for Cooking the Perfect Veal Dish
Veal is a tender and delicately flavored meat that is incredibly versatile in cooking. Because it naturally has a lighter taste, veal takes on the flavor of the sauce or spices used to season it. This lighter taste allows bolder sauces and spices to be used in veal dishes. To keep veal tender, moist and flavorful, the following tips will help when learning how to cook veal.
Select the Proper Cut for the Desired Dish
Different cuts of veal work best for different dishes. Chucks can be braised or stewed slowly over low heat for longer periods of time, allowing the tougher meat to become tender. The breast and loin cuts of veal have less fat and also work best in pot roasts or stews, where longer cooking times and lower temperatures help to break down the meat.
The rib chop, rib cuts and scaloppine veal cuts all have higher amounts of fat and do well when roasted, grilled, sauteed, broiled or pan-fried. Rib roast, or standing rib roast, tastes best when dry roasted and can be served either bone-in or with the bone removed, for easier slicing.
Safely Store Veal to Retain Freshness and Flavoring
One of the first things to do when learning how to cook veal is proper storage. Veal that isn’t properly stored may spoil or become freezer-burned, ruining its potential. Veal can be stored unopened for one to two days in the refrigerator. Veal can also be frozen at zero degrees in its original packaging for up to two weeks.
For longer storage, veal should be removed from the packaging and tightly wrapped in heavy-duty plastic wrap or plastic storage bags, taking care to squeeze out all of the air prior to closing the bag. Veal can be stored in the freezer in this manner for six to nine months. Ground veal, however, is the exception and should be stored no longer than three months in the freezer. Frozen veal should be thawed in the refrigerator, allowing four to seven hours per pound of veal in order for it to properly thaw.
Marinate Veal Prior to Cooking to Enhance Flavor and Moisture
Veal that is being used for chops, steaks or roasts can be marinated up to five days before cooking. Veal cubes or stew cuts should only be marinated for one to two days prior to being cooked. A simple marinade consisting of a good-quality olive oil, balsamic vinegar and desired spices can greatly enhance the flavor of the meat before being cooked in the desired method.
Use Seasonings that Enhance the Natural Flavor of Veal
Sherry and white wine both pair well with veal and can be used in sauces or braises. Choose a sherry or wine that would would be desirable as a drink, rather than a cooking sherry or wine, for the best results. Celery, parsley and onion also will enhance the flavor of the veal, and can be used while braising, roasting or in a side dish. Rosemary, marjoram, sage, black pepper, oregano, cinnamon, mustard, garlic, bay leaf, nutmeg and thyme are all spices that go well with veal and could be used in a spice rub or as a seasoning while cooking.
Cook Veal to the Recommended Temperatures
Optimally, veal should be cooked straight from the refrigerator, ensuring that bacteria isn’t permitted to grow on the meat. The veal should then be cooked until the internal temperature reaches 155 to 160 degrees on a meat thermometer. After removing the veal from the heat source, the meat will continue to cook off, raising the temperature enough that it is safe to consume, but not high enough that the veal will become dry. If a well-done meat is preferred, the veal should be cooked to 165 degrees before being removed from the heat source. Veal is a lean meat that will cook quickly, so care should be taken to monitor it while cooking as to not over-cook the meat.
Learning how to cook veal will bring variety into dinnertime. Whether it is braised, roasted or grilled, veal is a succulent meat that takes on the spices and sauces used to season it and can be used in a variety of dishes.
Veal in Lemon Sauce with Crispy Potatoes
- 700g potatoes (thinly sliced)
- 1 small onion (thinly sliced)
- 3/4 cup skim milk
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg (freshly grated)
- 4 80-gram veal schnitzels
- 1 tbs olive oil
- 3 shallots (finely sliced)
- Freshly ground pepper
- 1 tsp drained capers(chopped)
- 400g baby beans (trimmed)
- 1/2 cup fresh parsley leaves (roughly chopped)
- 1 lemon (juiced)
- Lemon rind (finely grated)
- Preheat oven to 220 degrees C.
- Place potatoes and onion (alternately layering) in a roasting pan.
- Add milk and sprinkle with nutmeg.
- Bake for about an hour or until golden.
- Season schnitzels with lots of pepper.
- Over medium flame, heat oil in a large non-stick frying pan.
- Cook veal for one minute each side.
- Plate and cover with foil.
- To the pan juices, add your shallots, capers and lemon rind.
- Cook until soft.
- Add lemon juice, water, and parsley.
- Simmer and reduce sauce to about half.
- Blanch and refresh beans.
- Serve veal with crispy potatoes and beans.
- Drizzle with lemon sauce and enjoy!