Trio on a mission to give veal a good name
The Millbrook Inn at South Pool in Devon has enjoyed a close association with rose veal – and in particular that produced by Joyce and Steve Greenslade of Pitmans Farm near Cullompton – for a year or two now.
This summer, a three-day Love Rose Veal festival at The Millbrook proved such a success that chef Jean-Philippe Bidart is using his slot at the Dartmouth Food Festival later this month as an opportunity to further promote the flavour and versatility of rose veal.
JP, as he is known, will cook an assiette of rose veal, demonstrating three very different and relatively easy ways the meat can be cooked, while the Greenslades will explain the field-to-plate process.
Joyce said: "The way rose veal is produced is very different to the common perception of very young calves in crates with no access to light. And by explaining how the meat is raised, it encourages people to enjoy the guilt-free benefits of rose veal."
JP has long been an advocate of Pitmans rose veal and veal dishes which appear on the Millbrook menu at regular intervals throughout the year are among the most popular options. "It is a very good earthy meat and very underrated," he says. "It's not too fatty, it's healthy and it's easy to cook and people love it, once they've tried it. And of course my favourite French ingredient, garlic, is a very good friend of rose veal!
"I will buy a whole carcass at a time, and we'll use every bit of it."
Working in tandem with the Greenslades, the Millbrook Inn is doing much to educate people about British rose veal production and at the same time giving newborn bull calves the chance to enjoy eight months out in the fields instead of being shot at birth.
Joyce explained: "Veal is a by-product of the dairy industry. In order for a cow to produce milk, it has to have a calf each year, and while the female calves are kept, there is no use for many of the bull calves and they will be shot when they are 48 hours old. It is a waste of the calf's life and a waste of nine months when the cow carried that calf.
"We have a close relationship with three neighbouring farms who will let us know if they have a bull calf and we'll pick it up when it is about one week old.
"We'll raise it in a barn along with six to ten or so others and once they have learned to drink from the automatic feeders, they will go out to the fields where they are fed twice a day, then they'll be slaughtered at eight months."
Joyce also names every one of the calves, saying that by giving them an identity it makes them easier to handle and thus further reduces their stress levels.
"The calves are produced for meat, and that's their job in life, and our job here at Pitmans Farm is to make it as stress-free as possible so that they have happy lives. The stress an animal is under will effect the quality of the meat. We also find that our methods vastly reduce our vets bills as the animals are very hardy."
JP's assiette of rose veal will impress anyone and is relatively easy to prepare. Cook each dish and share between four so that the very different flavours can all be savoured.
If you are planning to serve all three as an assiette, the meatballs can be prepared the day before and the escalope in the morning.
Cook the meatballs first. They can sit in the sauce while you pan fry the fillet. Half-way through the time it is in the oven, put the escalopes into the deep fat fryer. Eh voila! The perfect meal for a superb dinner party.
Serve with fresh salad, French fries, mashed or roast potatoes.
The meatballs can be cooked the day before and kept in the fridge.
For the meatballs:
400g rose veal mince
10g chopped capers
15g very finely chopped shallots
a teaspoon of freshly chopped parsley or tarragon
salt and freshly ground pepper
For the spicy tomato sauce:
500ml white wine
400g tin chopped tomatoes
1-2 tsp caster sugar
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 pinch cayenne pepper
1 pinch paprika
freshly chopped parsley to garnish
Mix together all the ingredients for the rose veal meatballs in a bowl, season to taste and shape into four separate balls. They must be very compact so that they don't disintegrate.
Add a splash of olive oil to the saucepan and when it is very hot add the meatballs so that they sizzle. Gently move the meatballs around until they are golden brown.
Leaving the meatballs in the saucepan, deglaze the pan with 100ml of white wine and put on a low heat, without a lid, to reduce it by 50%.
Add a 400g tin of chopped tomatoes, a pinch of cayenne pepper and a pinch of paprika and leave to simmer gently for ten minutes with the lid on. Season to taste.
Pop one meatball on each plate, pour the tomato sauce on top and garnish with chopped parsley.
8og rose veal escalope per person
4 slices Parma ham
mozzarella, drained and broken
freshly ground black pepper
1 packet Panko breadcrumbs
2 eggs beaten
Put each veal escalope between cling film and gently flatten with a rolling pin, being careful not to break the meat.
Remove from the cling film and lay on a slice of Parma ham, followed by broken mozzarella.
Add fresh basil leaves and black pepper. Roll it very tightly and then leave it in the fridge for five minutes to freshen. Coat each escalope in the flour, dip in the eggs and then cover in bread crumbs.
Pre-heat a deep fat fryer to 180C (350F) and cook the escalopes for four minutes until golden brown.
Place on kitchen roll to drain off the excess fat. Serve either cut in half or whole.
400g rose veal fillet
splash of olive oil
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Season the rose veal fillet on both sides with salt and freshly ground pepper. Add a splash of olive oil to a frying pan and heat until very hot. Add the veal and sear on both sides for 30 seconds each and then roll it along the pan so that it is golden brown all over.
Remove the veal and pop into the oven for four minutes at 200C (400F, gas mark 6). Remove the veal and allow it to rest in a warm place for two minutes before slicing it into four fillets.
In the same frying pan, add 80g butter and melt. Add 10g of finely chopped fresh tarragon and cook until it is wilted. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper.
To serve, place the fillet on a plate and pour over the tarragon butter.
Joyce, Steve and JP will be interviewed as part of the Saturday Morning Live event at the Dartmouth Food Festival on October 26 at The Flavel Arts Centre. Catch JP cooking with rose veal from 11am in Royal Avenue Gardens. For full details of the festival visit dartmouthfoodfestival.com. The festival runs from October 25-27.