Haiku for the vealcake...

April 8, 2010

You had me swooning
"This is SO good I could die"
Twelve times during dinner.

Um, yes, so there's a reason I'm not a poet. MOVING ON.

My parents bought half of a baby cow last year from a butcher last year. Don't worry, he was hugged and snuggled and loved to his last days. Is it odd that I only buy responsibly raised fish, but will eat veal? Maybe. But this was a LOCAL cow. So I justified it in my head. Plus if you had to live in an area where high school football dominates the newspaper year round, you might not mind dying young either. So there. Anyway, back to the veal. My parents found out they could buy a half cow when my dad showed up at the butcher and said he was ready to pick up his order. The below exchange is approximate.

Butcher guy: We have the whole lamb you ordered processed and ready to go.

Dad: I'm not allowed to take something like that home without a note from my wife.

But it gave them the idea! After my mom wrote the note, they got a lamb, and this past year was half a baby cow. So that's how I ended up with a couple of pounds of ground veal a few weeks back. And how this luscious vealcake came into my life. And now my pants will never fit the same...

Vealcake with mushrooms, from Gourmet, February 2006
Serves 2

1 slice of bread, torn into bits
3 tablespoons cream, divided
1 egg, beaten
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons chopped chives - divided
3/4 lb ground veal
1/4 cup bread crumbs*
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1-2 tablespoon butter
1/2 lb cremini mushrooms, chopped

Put the torn bread and two tablespoons of cream in a large bowl to soak for five minutes. Add the egg, salt, pepper, two tablespoons of chives and veal, then mix gently with your hands. (No squishing and squashing between your fingers allowed.) Form the veal into two patties. Spread the bread crumbs on a plate and dredge the vealcakes in the crumbs.

Heat the vegetable oil and one tablespoon butter in a heavy skillet. Cook the vealcakes 4-5 minutes per side, until golden brown on the outside. If you have a meat thermometer, it should read 148 degrees. If you don't - well, go with your gut or use the time-honored method of cutting and peeking to see if its done.

Remove the vealcakes to a plate and cover with foil. If there's enough fat in the pan to cook the mushrooms, then just toss them in. If not, add a tablespoon or so of butter. Cook until they are softened, about 5 minutes. To really guild the lily, add a tablespoon of cream and let that cook for a minute or so. Serve the mushrooms on top of the vealcakes, and garnish with the remaining tablespoon of chives.

*When I have fresh bread that gets too stale to eat, I zip it up in the food processor to make crumbs, which I keep in a bag in the freezer. It's a motley mixture of crumbs - English muffin, whole wheat bread, sourdough, etc. But they work just fine for most coating and stuffing jobs.


Dean N said...

Hi Beth - Is that italics part at the end you or part of the recipe?

Beth said...

The italics part at the end is me, and sort of part of the recipe. Just an idea of how make good use of food that is a little past its prime. If you want to use regular store bought breadcrumbs, go for it.