There is something of a stigma attached to veal. Many people are skeptical about how veal is farmed and have horror stories of baby calves in dark crates for all of their short lives on repeat in their heads. Not a pleasant thought…

But nowadays, veal farming has improved in leaps and bounds. In fact, the practice of keeping calves in crates and feeding them only milk to keep the meat white has been banned in the UK since the 90’s and since 2007 in the European Union. But veal farming has never really recovered from the cruelness of the techniques of the 80’s.

Or at least that is the case for us Brits. But the French have a different relationship with veal and it has commonly played a bigger part in their culinary repertoire than ours. So in the spirit of my French gastronomic education, I thought I should venture into the world of veal and investigate a bit.

Once again I am truly lucky to have wonderful local produce easily available to me and I was able to lay my hands on a 5kg box of top class, rose veal from calves I know with 100% certainty, had a very happy life, from my fab friends over at Grasspunk. My box held a delicious array of joyously pink cuts of veal, lean and very beautiful indeed.

Paupiettes are common here in France where the veal escalopes are stuffed with a herby pork mix. Other common ways with veal are to roll it around some herbs or to breadcrumb it and fry it. I was inspired by all these methods when deciding how to cook mine.

I carefully made a pocket in my veal and stuffed it with a little parcel of brie wrapped in Bayonne ham, fixed it with a tooth pick, coated it in Panko breadcrumbs and fried it up. I served it with some buttery crushed new potatoes and a chunky roasted tomato, garlic and basil sauce.

What can I tell you? It was glorious! The veal was so tender that it cut like butter. The oozy soft melted brie inside worked so well with the chunky tomato sauce and the salty ham whilst being mild enough so as not to over power the incredible meat.

I declare myself a lover of veal. I may not have known it until now, but now that I do know it, I intend to embrace it…as regularly as I can!

Veal Escalopes Stuffed with Brie & Bayonne Ham Served with Roasted Tomato, Garlic & Basil Sauce

(Serves 2)

800g tomatoes, chopped up
2 fat garlic cloves, chopped
a good drizzle of olive oil
250g escalope of veal, cut in half for 2 portions
2 generous slices of brie
2 slices of Bayonne ham
2 tbsp plain flour
1 egg, beaten
3 tbsp Panko breadcrumbs
2 tbsp olive oil
Handful of chopped basil

Heat your oven to 175 Fan/ 200 C. Place your chopped tomatoes in a tray, sprinkle over the chopped garlic and drizzle with olive oil. Season generously and give the lot a mix and cook in the oven for 1 hour 30 minutes until the tomatoes have collapsed completely. Stir occasionally during the cooking time.

Tomatoes for roasting

Cut each slice of brie in half and place in the center of a slice of Bayonne ham and fold up to create a parcel. Try to keep the cheese enclosed in the ham which will help contain it during cooking.

Brie in Bayonna Ham

Brie wrapped in Bayonne Ham

Very carefully cut along one side of a veal escalope to make a pocket. This is a delicate operation so go slow and try not to break the meat at the top or bottom. Slide a pocket of cheese and ham into the little cavity and then use a toothpick to close it up snuggly.

Veal stuffed with brie & bayonne ham

Then place the flour on one plate, the egg in a small bowl and the breadcrumbs on another plate. Dust each escalope in flour, then drench in egg and finally coat in breadcrumbs. Repeat with the other escalope. Heat the olive oil in a pan and fry the veal until golden and crispy on each side. (Roughly 5 minutes each side)

Breadcrumbed veal escalopes

Once cooked, remove the toothpicks before serving! Add the chopped basil to your tomato sauce and adjust the seasoning. You could add a little sugar if you think it’s too sharp at this stage.

Serve the veal sitting alongside buttered crushed new potatoes, some green beans and a good couple of spoonfuls of tomato sauce.

And a little photo of the dish half way through eating just to demonstrate how deliciously moist, oozy and wicked this was to eat!

Oozy melted brie stuffed into veal escalope

I am entering this recipe into a few blogging challenges. First of all, into Javelin Warrior’s Cookin w/Luv Made With Love Mondays as it was entirely made from scratch.

Made with Love Mondays, hosted by Javelin Warrior

And, I can enter this into Elizabeth’s #ShopLocal Blogging Challenge as I used veal I got from my friends at Grasspunk…producers of 100% grass fed beef and veal. It really is amazing meat.

Shop Local Badge

And finally, into #RecipeoftheWeek hosted by Emily from A Mummy Too.

Link up your recipe of the week