FENNEL AND PISTACHIO STUFFED VEAL BREAST
Stuffed veal breast is hard work to make. It is a large unwieldy piece of meat, hard to fill with stuffing, and harder still to carve successfully. Veal breast is my husband’s favorite. I make it every Passover and change out the panko crumbs called for in the recipe with crumbled matzo farfel. All of that aside, the spectacular presentation, the succulent meat, and delicate flavor are worth the effort.
½ cup tamarind molasses
½ cup melted apricot preserves
1 cup chicken stock
2 cups chopped onions
3 Tablespoons olive oil
6 garlic cloves
1 cup panko crumbs
2 tart apples (pippin or granny smith) cored and diced
1 lb mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
2 stalks celery, minced
2 cups fennel, diced
1 cup pomegranate seeds (optional)
½ cup toasted pistachios
½ cup chopped parsley
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 to 1/2 cup of tamarind liquid
One 10 lb veal breast with pocket
10 whole peeled shallots
6-12 garlic cloves, whole
5 or 6 carrots cut in very large pieces
Combine the ingredients for the tamarind liquid in a small sauce pan and bring it to a boil. Stir to blend, then turn off the heat and set aside to cool. Preheat a large sauté pan. Add the oil, and then add the onions and then the garlic. Cook on medium heat until soft, and then add the mushrooms, celery, fennel, and sauté until fragrant and sweet. Next, add the apples, parsley, salt, and pepper to taste. Add the pistachios and pomegranate seeds and stir to combine. Turn off the heat, stir in the panko crumbs, and then pour in 1 cup tamarind liquid to bind stuffing. Cool the stuffing.
Preheat oven to 350º degrees. Stuff the pocket of the veal breast with the cold stuffing. Sew the opening closed with string. Scatter the shallots, garlic, and carrots in a large roasting pan. Place the stuffed roast on top of the vegetables and rub with salt and pepper. Add enough water to cover the vegetables underneath, but not the veal. Paint the veal with the remaining tamarind liquid. Cover tightly with aluminum foil. Roast 2 hours covered. Remove cover and roast one more hour uncovered until the top is brown and crisp.
When the breast has set for 30 minutes or more remove it to a cutting board. With a slotted spoon, remove the vegetables to a sieve. Skim as much fat as possible from cooking liquid. Press the vegetables through a strainer into the roasting pan and whisk together with defatted juice. You can re-warm this gravy.
Carefully slice the veal, following the ribs. Each portion will contain a bone, stuffing, and some of the crisp top.
A veal breast does not have much meat. The prized portion is the crisp golden top and the succulent cartilage around the bones with some flavorful stuffing.
When purchasing a veal breast, try to buy a fresh one. Veal discolors with freezing. Your butcher will make the pocket for you.