Pan-Seared Veal Chop in Oregano and White Wine Sauce

DSCF7505 (640x494)And the Canadian Thanksgiving is finally over, and I never had the chance to celebrate it. I was up in my neck preparing three Turkeys with all the fixings at work and by the time the celebration was upcoming, the day just went by so quickly that when I woke-up the following day, the week was nearly over.  I felt the exhaustion two days later. I did everything in break-neck speed when I had not supposed to.

Anyway, I really didn’t bother, but I looked for something special at the grocery a week before to celebrate Thanksgiving by myself without really going to the Turkeys. I contemplated on doing a Turkey Breast, initially, but when I saw the thick veal chops on display again, I took two immediately and froze them until I was ready for my own celebration.

I’m still exhausted until today and I think this would go on until the holidays. I really don’t have any recollection of Thanksgiving with family and friends. Manila doesn’t celebrate Thanksgiving in these modern, digital times;  moreso when I was growing up. Here’s one thing though. When I last visited Manila between 2008 and 2010, a neighbour baked a whole Turkey as his main for Christmas Eve. It was definitely nouveau to Filipinos who has not had a Thanksgiving Turkey, and I’m sure it was an expensive bird. I was surprised it even existed there.  I didn’t touch it. I went for the steamed rice and Pork BBQ. That was my Christmas dinner to match the wine that was served, of course.  I’m sure they were staring at me for some reason. Didn’t care less. I was a happy man with the BBQ.

Ingredients:

  • Veal Chops
  • Olive Oil
  • Onions
  • Garlic, minced to paste
  • Tomatoes (as garnish)
  • Honey
  • White Wine
  • Beef Stock (Veal Stock or demi)
  • Oregano (Italian & Spanish)
  • Lemon juice
  • Evaporated Milk
  • Flour
  • Sea Salt & Ground Black Pepper
  • Cornstarch Solution

Eggplant Marinade:

  • Olive Oil
  • Rosemary
  • Crushed Chili Peppers
  • Salt & Pepper

Marinate the veal chops  in Olive oil, Lemon, Oregano and Salt & Pepper overnight.  Coat the chops in seasoned flour and sear both sides until golden brown. Transfer in a baking pan and finish off in a pre-heated 350’C oven.

DSCF7495 (640x480)DSCF7498 (640x480)

Saute the onions and garlic on the same pan and deglaze with white wine.  Add the beef stock and boil to simmer. Strain in a sauce pan. Reduce to a third and add some honey. Adjust the sauce consistency with the cornstarch solution.

DSCF7501 (640x494)DSCF7503 (640x492)

Slice the eggplant as thinly as possible. Marinade and grill in the seasoned grill pan. Set aside.

DSCF7499 (640x495)DSCF7504 (640x494)

Set the eggplants on the plate before placing the veal chop. Drizzle the sauce before serving and sprinkle with diced tomatoes and oregano.

DSCF7508 (640x496)

ahref=”http://pictureclusters.blogspot.com/”>Food Friday</a><a title=”FoodTripFriday” href=http://www.foodtripfriday.net target=”_blank”><img title=”FTFBadge” src=”http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v358/fickleminded/FTF.png&#8221; alt=”FTFBadge” width=”250″ height=”125″ />

Pan-Seared Veal Chops in Red Wine & Portobello Mushroom Sauce

DSCF7214 (640x494)There’s no summer in North America.  Technically, summer started late last month.  However, with torrential rain that befell the country two weeks ago, coupled with frightening lightning and thunderstorm, this strange and severe weather condition created a chain reaction that brought two cities down to its knees; Toronto being one of them. This was the basic reason I was away from blogging. The daily commute to and from work became more difficult as it already was, and I was exhausted to the point of collapsing from work responsibilities. I took refuge to eating out in restaurants for that much awaited peace and quiet after a hard day’s work. It seemed so unlikely to happen in this side of the world, but they do so once so often. Do you remember New York’s Sandy?

Anyway, I was invited to a Filipino BBQ ‘event’ in the suburbs one weekend when these weird weather occurrences were pounding the city and it was a boisterously loud one. Filipino gatherings tend to be a beehive of endless conversations, and these expressions of extreme happiness or overjoy and emotion can be annoying during parties. It was a new house by the way, and buying a house on a mortgage here is a critical step to any immigrant or Canadian (Right Iska?). It’s the epitome of all the hardwork  achieved through all those years of working two jobs and supporting a family as well as the sacrifice of being far away from the motherland.  Going back to the BBQ feast, I had the infamous ‘Isaw’ after so many years. That was classic. My buddy had set aside several (arrived late) and my trip was totally worth it after gorging into those savoury and slimy intestines. I know I can’t prepare nor cook them myself. They tasted like ‘Tapas’ and I missed them as much as I miss Europe.

Grilling is back and although this summer will surely be short-lived this year, I had a chance to plan my meals based on this topic for this month.  The BBQ ribs was actually one of them. This one is more French; going through sauce reductions and stock preparation so typical of French Cuisine. I just had to. These were precious Veal Chops I found in the supermarket and they don’t just come out of the shelves as regularly as steaks or pork chops. Grabbed a couple packs and started thinking like a French thereafter.

Ingredients:

  • Veal Chops (Thick Cut)
  • Duck Bones (for the stock)
  • Olive oil
  • Sea Salt & Ground Black Pepper
  • Fresh Thyme (finely chopped)
  • Garlic (minced to a paste)
  • Shallots or Red Onion (finely chopped)
  • Red wine (reduced to half)
  • Red wine (for deglazing)
  • Duck Stock (reduced to a cup) or Duck Fat
  • Dijon Mustard or Regular Mustard
  • Portobello Mushrooms (cleaned and diced)

Marinate the Veal Chops with salt & pepper, olive oil , and Thyme overnight.

Pre-heat and season the grill or the grill pan and sear or mark the chops on both sides.  Transfer in a roasting pan and finished them off to medium or medium rare in a pre-heated 350’C oven.  Set aside to rest, tented.

DSCF7201 (640x494)

Saute the shallots or onions and mushrooms on the same pan, and immediately deglaze with red wine. Add in the minced garlic, reduced red wine and duck stock and finish off with the mustard. Add in more freshly chopped Thyme before finishing off the sauce. Adjust consistency with more stock or wine and/or finish off with cream (optional).

DSCF7206 (640x480)DSCF7208 (640x493)

Duck Stock:

Chop the Duck bones and set on the roasting pan with a mirepoix of vegetables. Roast until they turn golden. Put everything in a stock pot with more aromatics and let it boil to simmer for about an hour. Strain in a smaller pot and reduce to a cup.

DSCF7197 (640x480)DSCF7198 (640x510)

DSCF7210 (640x480)

ahref=”http://pictureclusters.blogspot.com/”>Food Friday</a><a title=”FoodTripFriday” href=http://www.foodtripfriday.net target=”_blank”><img title=”FTFBadge” src=”http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v358/fickleminded/FTF.png&#8221; alt=”FTFBadge” width=”250″ height=”125″ />

Veal Shoulder Blade Steak with Bell Pepper & Onion

DSCF6961 (640x495)There are times that I just want to step out of the kitchen and breathe. Whenever I  feel the tension and the stress blanket the entire room, I take a seat and take five. After a grueling day as such, recovery period sometimes takes more than two days. I’m stuck indoors and can’t move a muscle. I think a holiday is forthcoming, but having just started in this new kitchen, taking one may not happen soon.

I have been stuck with eating noodles and finishing a pot of meat broth for dinner for the last week; just too exhausted from preparing a real meal for myself. Moreover, I always look forward to a hot and steamy Jasmine rice to alleviate my hunger for ‘my own kind of food’ after cooking for somebody else the entire day. I would have opted eating out instead, but I’d rather be at home sooner relaxing and preparing for the next day. I miss my apartment and I look forward ‘doing nothing’ and reading a book on a quiet, cozy and cold winter day. I’m working on this objective and I reckon it won’t happen until the next winter season with all the other things I have to attend to now; all of which I have left rotting in the backburner for the last six or so years. There’s always something to do and small decisions to make and there are surprises appearing every week. I’ve been hoping this jack-in-the box surprises would be on the ‘fun’ side, but that covers only half of that.

I enjoy a nice piece of steak when this stressful situation surfaces and ‘looking forward to a stress-free’ day occurs. I dropped by my Canadian grocer last week after a long break and bought a Veal Shoulder Blade Steak; thinking for a quick grill to fill  a hungry and deprived stomach. I have been searching and looking for new cuts, but I haven’t really seen as many lately. I saw some top of the line offal in Chinatown yesterday and wouldn’t know exactly what to do with them. Anyway, the veal had a sizable amount of fat which initially I thought was marbling. All these meant long and slow braising. And I came up with this one.

Ingredients:

  • Veal Shoulder Blade Steak
  • Sea Salt
  • Ground Black Pepper
  • Mexican Oregano
  • Bayleaf
  • Assorted Bell Peppers (Red, Yellow, Orange)
  • Beer
  • Chicken Stock
  • Light Soy Sauce
  • Saffron Threads
  • Brown Sugar
  • Flour (for coating)

Marinade the veal overnight with olive oil, salt and pepper, and Mexican oregano. Coat with flour and pan-fry until golden on both sides. Set aside.

DSCF6951 (515x640)DSCF6954 (640x459)DSCF6956 (640x456)

Sauté the onions, garlic and bell peppers on the same pan. Deglaze the pan with beer, and add some chicken stock followed by the light soy sauce, brown sugar, bayleaf and saffron threads. Return the veal back in the pan, cover and pop it in a pre-heated 220’C oven for two hours.

DSCF6957 (640x456)DSCF6959 (640x451)

Remove the veal from the roasting pan and strain the sauce in a sauce pan. Reduce to a third and season to taste.

DSCF6963 (480x640)DSCF6962 (640x479)

ahref=”http://pictureclusters.blogspot.com/”>Food Friday</a><a title=”FoodTripFriday” href=http://www.foodtripfriday.net target=”_blank”><img title=”FTFBadge” src=”http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v358/fickleminded/FTF.png&#8221; alt=”FTFBadge” width=”250″ height=”125″ />

Osso Bucco (Braised Veal Shank)

DSCF6932 (640x456)It’s the coldest week of the year in the city and it’s also the best time to be outside; shopping. Almost stores are nearly empty with rushing shoppers and moving in and around aisles can be such a relief. Same goes for restaurants where queues never end, and for a long time, a relative peace and quiet in a relatively buzzing and unrelentless place. It’s only during this season I can truly cherish the food I love to eat without the tendency of eavesdropping at the conversation over at the next table.

It’s actually during the fall and winter seasons that I clean-up my storage and apartment and see what can be thrown away or donated.  This year, however, is a major overhaul. I went through my piles of stuff from almost six years back and it was an enormous junk pile. As I look at each, I see many were bought while I moved in from one location to another when work required me to or I had to move to another residence for a change.  All of them were gathered along the way. Some were gifts, and others were from my previous past life that mothballed in time. I was lucky enough to find someone who found real and potential use for all those. It was, in my part, a big sigh of relief and comfort. I suddenly saw so much space from my little haven and knew  what I have and what I really badly need to keep myself clutter-free. Removing clutter is one way of moving forward, and I’m all in for that.

It’s also during the winter months that I focus my cooking on heavy broth based dishes. I particularly love to work on the beef or the veal shank and the pork butt to create traditional dishes with my own twist. This particular dish, though, is one of my favourites.  I made a very traditional Osso Bucco the first time using white wine. This is another version; a more updated version using tomato puree.  It has the same cooking procedure as the Osso Bucco alla Milanese except for the tomato puree or sauce and the gremolata which I omitted upon serving. I concentrated on bringing out the life of the veal shank itself and creating a heavy and smooth sauce from it. Those two were enough to warm me up during cold, below freezing days and nights.

Ingredients:

  • Veal Shank
  • Olive oil
  • Shallot, minced
  • Garlic, minced
  • Thyme or Rosemary
  • Bayleaf
  • Tomato Puree or sauce
  • Sea Salt
  • Ground Black Pepper
  • White Balsamic Vinegar
  • Beef Stock
  • Red Wine
  • Flour (for coating)

Season the shank with salt and pepper and coat with flour.  Pan-fry both sides until golden brown and set aside.

DSCF6923 (640x456)

Sauté the shallots and garlic until aromatic using the same pan. Deglaze with the red wine, add-in the tomato puree followed by the balsamic vinegar, bayleaf, thyme, sea salt and beef stock. Return the shank back into the pot and let it boil to simmer until the shank becomes fork tender.

DSCF6924 (640x456)DSCF6927 (640x458)

Carefully lift the shank from the pot and set it on a plate. Strain the sauce into a sauce pan and adjust the consistency and seasonings. Drizzle the sauce over the shank and garnish with Thyme or Rosemary or in my case, chopped green onion.

The usual mirepoix of carrots, celery and onions can replace the garlic and shallots. Again, this mirepoix is common and basic in this side of the world and for the same reason, I would rather use something simpler to adjust to my taste and limited time.

DSCF6928 (640x510)DSCF6929 (640x493)

DSCF6931 (640x494)

 

ahref=”http://pictureclusters.blogspot.com/”>Food Friday</a><a title=”FoodTripFriday” href=http://www.foodtripfriday.net target=”_blank”><img title=”FTFBadge” src=”http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v358/fickleminded/FTF.png&#8221; alt=”FTFBadge” width=”250″ height=”125″ />

Osso Bucco alla Milanese

Working in the kitchen means doing one-million things all at the same time. And all that hardwork will vanish in a span of just about an hour of service; in my case, in just about twenty minutes. Afterwards, expect another surge of grueling and agonizing prep work; doing the same process again and timing everything  for another round of sweltering match.

The kitchen is a brotherhood of hardworking souls whereby the forthcoming menu is executed through questions; ‘how’s this?’, and ‘what’s next?, and in many cases, where? if a certain ingredient is unavailable or is lost in translation while an already barrage of pots are already churning on the stovetop and are seeking immediate attention and care. Substitutions are almost always welcomed. Managing time and ingredients combined with kitchen’s limited resources is where the skill of the cook comes in play, and it’s truly a crazy balancing act; hoping even that the oven won’t die down on you.  A bottle of beer does help calm the nerves down after such brutal beating and that could be the best part of the day for anyone doing several thousand things, and all done under the gun.

When I reach home after encountering a miserable day as such, I look for a meal that’s very, very sedating. I search for something which I didn’t touch nor tasted in the professional kitchen where I was bludgeoned and as much as possible, very easy to prepare. A very delicately prepared sandwich works, but most often, I look for either a typical meat and rice partnership or just plain pasta. In some cases, I prepare breakfast for dinner which I think I will eventually do very soon.

The only way to prepare meat and satisfy my tired and worn out soul is to prepare days ahead; in my own turf. This has worked wonders for me; marinating meat days ahead or defrosting a particular cut several days before cooking. Just lately, I have been searching for a shank appropriate for an Osso Bucco. I could have bought a readily available beef shank, however, I had an appetite for veal, and when it was on the supermarket shelf, I took one and gave the Osso Bucco a test. It does not appear as regularly as the other beef or pork cuts. Moreover, I haven’t really cooked an Osso Bucco and after seeing several recipes on-line, I had an urge to give it a try. I just couldn’t resist.

This is an Osso Bucco alla Milanese in White Wine; a more traditional approach to the more modern one where crushed tomatoes are an integral part of the recipe. This is a simpler recipe with a natural intention of bringing forth the essence of the Shank itself.  I made a simple Gremolata to finish and top it off and had added roasted green bell pepper and shallots as garnishes. I discarded the pine nuts in the Gremolata, and instead made it more tangy and garlicky (Pinoy essence).

Ingredients:

  • Veal Shank
  • Spanish Onions, minced
  • Garlic, minced
  • Bayleaves
  • Italian Herbs/Seasoning
  • Pepperoncino
  • Cinnamon
  • White wine
  • Chicken Stock (or a demi)
  • Green Bell Pepper, roasted & diced

Gremolata:

  • Olive Oil
  • Sea Salt
  • Parsley, finely minced
  • Garlic, Roasted and minced to a paste
  • Lemon Juice
  • Lemon Rind, finely minced

Season the shank and coat with flour.   Brown the shank in both sides and set aside.

Saute the onion, garlic, herbs, bayleaves and pepperoncino using the same pan. Add the wine, chicken stock and cinnamon and stir constantly. Return the shank back into the pan, cover and shove everything in a preheated 300’C oven (low & slow).

Combine all the ingredients for the Gremolata using a mortar & pestle or in my case, mince everything using a knife.

ahref=”http://pictureclusters.blogspot.com/”>Food Friday</a><a title=”FoodTripFriday” href=http://www.foodtripfriday.net target=”_blank”><img title=”FTFBadge” src=”http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v358/fickleminded/FTF.png&#8221; alt=”FTFBadge” width=”250″ height=”125″ />