This is a meal that would fit perfectly at your Christmas Eve dinner table. What I love most besides the incredible flavors is the beautiful presentation of the food. Plating plays a big part in the aesthetics of a dish, so don’t forget that aspect as you plan your holiday feast.
I prepared veal escalopes stuffed with lemon, pine nuts, golden raisins, garlic and fresh tarragon. Once the escalopes were cooked, I completed the dish with a flavorful sauce made from the pan drippings.
By the way, there is still time to order both of my cookbooks, Haute Potato and Banh Mi, as gifts to your loved ones for Christmas . 2013 was a great year for me professionally, and 2014 seems to be starting with a bang. I;m doing a Golden Globes Luxury Gifting Suite at the beginning of the year and copies of Banh Mi will be included in the celebrity "swag bags." Celebrities will be photographed on the red carpet at the suite with the Banh Mi book and I will be serving a few dishes from my cookbook. I'm so excited!
Servings: 6 servings
2 lemons, zested and freshly squeezed
3 ounces golden raisins
¼ cup pine nuts
4 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 sprigs fresh tarragon, finely chopped
1 clove, freshly ground
1½ teaspoons smoked pepper (or regular black pepper)
3 tablespoons olive oil
6 (6-ounce) veal escalopes
1 tablespoon Kosher salt (or regular salt)
1 teaspoon cayenne powder
½ teaspoon baking powder
4 shallots, finely chopped
½ cup red wine
2 cups beef broth
2 teaspoons coarse-grained mustard
2 tablespoons dark molasses
2 tablespoons heavy cream (optional)
4 tablespoons curly parsley leaves, finely chopped
Preparing the meat:
Season the veal with salt, cayenne pepper and pepper. Sprinkle with baking powder. Toss well. Place the veal in a large bowl or a sealable zip-top bag. Drizzle with the juice of half a lemon and about a tablespoon of wine. Marinate in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
Pat the meat dry using paper towels. Transfer one piece of veal at a time onto a cutting board previously lined with a piece of plastic wrap. Place another piece of plastic wrap on top of the veal like a sandwich. Gently pound the meat using a meat tenderizer mallet to about ¼-inch thick. The idea is to obtain a piece of meat that is the same thickness all over.
Making the raisin and pine nut filling:
Lightly dry-toast the pine nuts and coarsely chop. Set aside.
Place the raisins in a small bowl and cover with boiling water. Soak for 10 minutes, then drain. Set aside
In a non-stick pan, heat 2 tablespoons oil. Add the shallots. Cook until golden. Add 3 cloves of garlic and cook until lightly golden. Remove a little more than half the amount and reserve on a plate. To the same pan, add the raisins, lemon zest, tarragon, ground clove and chopped pine nuts. Toss well for 1 minute. Add 2 tablespoons parsley. Turn off the heat and set aside. Season with salt and pepper.
Stuffing the veal:
Pat the meat dry one more time using paper towels.
Transfer one piece of meat at a time onto a cutting board lined with a piece of plastic wrap. Season with salt and pepper on both sides. Spoon 2-3 teaspoons raisin pine nut mixture evenly over the veal. Carefully roll it up tightly. Tie the meat with kitchen twine and secure the stuffed escalope tightly with 3 knots. Repeat with the remaining escalopes. Season the outer surface of each roll with a little more salt and pepper.
Cooking the veal:
In a large, heat-proof, non-stick pan, add the rest of oil. Once the oil is hot, add the remaining garlic and cook on high heat until slightly golden. Pan-sear each side of the little stuffed veal packages for about 3½ minutes (a total of about 9 minutes) until golden. Quickly transfer the meat to a platter. At this point the veal isn't cooked completely; it will finish cooking in the sauce.
Making the sauce:
Add white wine and beef broth to the hot pan, bring to a boil and scrape the caramelized bits from the bottom of the pan using a wooden spoon (called deglazing). Add the reserved shallots and garlic and reduce (uncovered) the liquid for 6 minutes. Add the mustard and molasses. Bring to a boil again and cook for about 2 minutes. Lower the heat to low. Adjust seasoning of the sauce with salt and pepper. Return the veal to the pan and simmer for 8 minutes.
Transfer the stuffed veal escalopes to a serving platter. Snip and discard the twine.
Bring the sauce back to a boil on the stove. If needed, you could thicken the sauce with a bit of Wondra flour or 1 tablespoon butter (I didn't). Add the remaining lemon juice. Stir well and finish with the cream and the rest of the parsley. Let sit for 10 minutes for the sauce to set, then cover the veal with sauce. Serve warm.
I served the veal with Brussels sprouts and chestnuts.