Saturday, February 26, 2011

Veal Cooked in Milk--German's Favorite Dish?

Years ago, I was invited by a German-Australian couple for a dinner at their place in Oxford. Although it was almost two decades ago, I still remember that for the main dish they served a big piece of roast beef cooked slowly in milk. Although it was spiced with just salt and pepper, it had a nice and distinct taste and was amazingly tender--it melted in mouth. I suppose that this recipe was originally German, and my friend chose it because of her boyfriend who was allergic to red pigments in food. Can you imagine life without carrot, tomatoes, peppers, raspberries when they are not only among the most tasty items but just looking makes you drool. But, maybe because Ray was Australian, his allergy did not include red wines. In fact, he was a great connoisseur of fine wines, single malt scotch, and other exquisite spirits.

Not long ago I was invited for a dinner, here in DC, by another German friend, who is an excellent cook (I got from him the mango with ginger recipe which I posted some time ago). I was very surprised when for a main course he served veal, precisely osso bucco, also cooked in milk.

I was trying to figure out if those two similar dishes have roots in German cuisine, but I found no indication of that. Please correct me if I am wrong. I have found a slightly similar dish on one of the Italian cuisine websites, but it still was not the same and it used pork.

In general, I consider veal too bland in taste, but this particular dish was very delicate and at the same time had a surprisingly rich taste, thanks to herbs and vinegar. Its preparation is not complicated. The secret lies in slow cooking. For that purpose you need a special casserole. I use the iron cast le creuset, which is designed to simmer meat for a long time in low temperature.

Veal Cooked in Milk
(Serves six)

6 pieces of osso buco or veal with bones,
24 cloves of garlic,
4 cups of whole milk,
2/3 glass of white wine vinegar,
4 brunches of fresh rosemary (if you use dried rosemary instead, you need to strain the sauce before serving),
4 tbsp of butter,
salt and pepper,
beef bouillon cube (optional).

1. Melt butter and fry meat until gold on both sides, about 2-3 minutes per side.
2. Add all the pieces of crushed garlic and fry meat with garlic for another 2 minutes.
3. Pour in vinegar, follow immediately with milk, and mix well with a wooden spoon.
3. Add pepper and rosemary brunches.
4. Let it simmer on a very low temperature without bubbling for about 90 minutes and up to 2 hours.
5. Check the meat with a fork--it should be butter soft.
6. At this stage, season with salt or bouillon stock.

You can reduce the sauce and serve it with the meat or just take the meat out and serve alone.

Serve with a potato gratin with crème fraîche, or fresh tagliatelle pasta.

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