Thursday, September 29, 2011

Rack of Veal - An Impressive Meal

When Laurent Manrique (Chef & Owner of NY’s “Millisime” and San Francisco’s, Café de La Press) turned 40 he honored me with a request to cook his birthday meal and invited 5 of his chef friends for dinner at our home.  I made Rack of Veal with shallots confits, morel sauce and the traditional French dish of Boulangère potatoes. An expensive but impressive meal – but wonderful and rarely served! While I made it for 8 people, I will give you the recipe for 4. You can adjust weights and timings if you are more ambitious.

About veal: As veal is lower in fat than beef or pork, care must be taken in preparation to ensure that it does not become tough. (the reason for breading or coating with flour for scaloppini). For this roast we sear the juices in by browning the meat on all sides on top of the stove before roasting. Look for Milk Fed Veal if you can get it. It is far more tender and tastier than grain fed. Of course, no hormones, no antibiotics and humanely raised if you can find it!. If you only have one oven make the confit first and when finished bake the potato dish. When that is done cover potatoes with aluminum foil to keep as warm as possible. Return them to the oven to reheat when the roast is resting and you are making the sauce.

1 Rack of Veal with 4 chops (prepared by the butcher)
12 peeled shallots left whole
4 shallots peeled and chopped
8 tablespoons of grape seed oil
thyme (I branch)
7 tablespoons of butter
1½ pounds of potatoes (russets) peeled and cut into 1/8thick slices
1 onion (peeled and finely chopped)
1 leek (white only - finely chopped)
16oz of chicken stock
8oz of veal stock
flat Italian parsley (2 branches)
Fine salt
Fleur de sel
Ground or butcher’s pepper
(1 tablespoon of arrowroot if necessary)

Confit Shallots

Preheat oven to 350F.
Place 12 of the peeled shallots in an ovenproof dish with 6 spoons of grape seed oil and thyme. Add salt.(Roll the shallots in the oil so they are coated with it. Cover with aluminum foil. And bake in oven for 30 minutes. Allow to cool when finished.

Potatoes Boulangères
Preheat oven to 350F.
Melt 2 teaspoons of butter and sauté the onions in it covered on a low flame for 5 minutes. Remove and reserve onions. Add 1 tablespoon of butter and once melted add the leeks covered on a low flame for 15 minutes.(they should not brown). In a large pan, sauté 2 tablespoons of the chopped shallots in one tablespoon of grape seed oil mixed with a tablespoon of butter. When translucent, add the sliced potatoes for about 10 minutes until they begin to get a golden color. In an ovenproof pan, spread the leeks and onions over the bottom and spread out the potatoes on top. Add the chicken stock, salt and pepper and allow to bake at 375F for 40 minutes. When finished cover with aluminum foil and allow to rest at room temperature. You will reheat when the roast is done. (This dish gets its name from small villages where on Sundays housewives dropped their potatoes off at the local bakery to be cooked in their ovens while the family attended church and picked up along with their bread after services.)

Rack of Veal
Take meat out of the refrigerator an hour before roasting..
Preheat oven to 400F. Place the roasting pan on the stove top and melt the remaining butter and grape seed oil in it. Add the remaining chopped shallots. Brown each side of the meat with the shallots on the stove. When browned, add the shallots confits around the meat and place in the oven for 30 minutes at 400F.

When done (roast for about 20-25 minutes per pound) remove the meat and shallots and cover with tented aluminum foil on a carving board. (Reduce the oven to 300 and reheat the potatoes.) Place the roasting pan on the stove with a moderate flame. Add the veal stock scraping the bottom of the pan so the juices dissolve into the stock. Allow to boil (reduce) for 2 minutes. (if it does not thicken take a tablespoon of the juice and mix with one teaspoon of arrowroot and add to the pan. This will thicken the sauce).

Separate the chops and serve one to each person on preheated plates each with 3 confit shallots and some sauce. Serve the potatoes on the side. ENJOY!!!

Optional Morel Cream Sauce
1 ounce dried morel mushrooms
1 cup boiling water
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 large chopped shallot
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
Cover the morels with the boiling water and let soften for 30 minutes. Rub the morels in the liquid to remove grit. Transfer them to a bowl; cut any large ones in half. Reserve the liquid. In a saucepan, melt the butter over moderate heat. Add the shallot and cook until translucent, about 1 minute. Stir in the morels and season with salt and pepper. Pour in the mushroom liquid, stopping before you reach the grit. Boil over high heat to reduce by half, about 6 minutes. Add the reduced pan juices from the roast and  the cream and thyme, then simmer over moderately high heat until reduced by a third, about 5 minutes.

Gerard’s Wine Suggestion
This dish deserves a vigorous but elegant red wine. While many expensive wines would be perfect, we were looking for one under $20. I chose Chateau Greysac 2007, a Bordeaux from the left bank. It is mostly Merlot with a bit of Petit Verdot blended in. Chateau Greysac has developed immensely in the last thirty years. Its wines are a faithful reflection of this great terroir - delicate, aromatic and ample, as well as elegant and complex. The color of this wine is a deep ruby-garnet. The bouquet is of fresh red berries, mingled with notes of cedar and spice. On the palate are lovely red fruits, with full rich flavors balanced by silky tannins. $16.99 at Arlington Wines and Spirits.

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