ffwd: veal chop with rosemary butter

Veal Chop

(Warning: If you don’t like to think too much about where your food comes from, skip the first few paragraphs of my post.)

It’s been more than a decade since I last ate veal. I stopped when I learned how cruelly calves are treated in anticipation of turning them into veal. I won’t judge you if you eat veal because everyone’s food choices are personal, but I decided veal wasn’t for me.

It’s only in the past few years that I have come to the realization that in order for animals to give milk, they must have babies first. Female babies have value in growing a dairy herd. Male babies, not so much. This is why lamb and veal have made it into our food system. With veal, conventional practice has been to crate the calves to prohibit exercise and normal muscle development in any effort to create a highly tender and white meat. This is what caused me to drop veal from my diet.

(As an aside, while goat is the most popular meat globally, it hasn’t made inroads in the American diet. That means that male baby goats, bucklings, have it particularly hard. Check out this cool effort to create a market for the bucklings from several goat dairy farms in the Northeast.)

(If you were skipping ahead, I think it’s safe to start reading here.)

At a winter Farmer’s Market, I was talking to a local cheese maker while sampling her wares. When I noticed a sign on the table advertising veal for sale, I shifted the conversation in that direction. At Lawton’s Family Farm, the excess calves are raised in fields alongside the other grass-fed cows raised for beef. This is also known as “rose veal” because the color is pink, a natural result of the exercise and muscle use from gamboling in the fields. This was veal I was open to trying. I bought the last chop, stashed it in the freezer, and forgot about it.

When I saw this week’s recipe for French Fridays with Dorie would be Veal Chops with Rosemary Butter, I remember the lone chop in the freezer. Rather than substituting another kind of meat, I gave it a try.

I only make compound butters sporadically, when a recipe calls for a specific blend. I don’t know why they aren’t part of my regular pantry. I made half the recipe because I knew I was cooking just one chop. Fresh rosemary and thyme (for my garden!) were mixed into softened butter before adding a pinch of salt. I used Maldon salt and the flakes gave it a great texture when I tasted it straight.

The chop is rubbed with olive oil, rosemary, thyme, salt and pepper. The chop should be seasoned for at least an hour, and up to a day, ahead. I didn’t read the recipe carefully before I set out to make dinner, so 15 minutes is all it got.

Seasoned Chop

Olive oil is infused with garlic and more rosemary in the pan before searing the chop for two minutes on each side. Then, the pan is deglazed with white wine and chicken broth to make a sauce. (I didn’t have any broth readily available, so just used water and salt.) The sauce is drizzled over the chop before topping it with a few dots of the rosemary butter.

The preparation was delicious, and so was the veal. One of the things cooking from this book continually teaches me is indoor ways of cooking meat. This technique is a winner. It might seem simple, but I honestly have never pan-fried meat outside of recipes in this book.

Howard and I shared the half-pound chop with a generous serving of roasted potatoes and an arugula salad on the side. I will try to remember to make this with lamb and pork shops over the winter. I would make a perfect meal for company.

My favorite part of this particular recipe was the rosemary butter. I accidently cut up a little more than I needed to top the meat. I’ll admit to eating a few dots plain instead of throwing it out. I’m thinking of making some biscuits or picking up some dinner rolls as a vehicle for the leftover herby, salty spread. It was amazing.

If you want to read about other interpretations of chops with rosemary butter, check out the Dorista links here. The recipe can be found in Dorie Greenspan’s book Around My French Table.

Happy Friday! I can’t believe that next Friday I’ll be in Seattle and will meet about a dozen of you in person. Can’t wait!!!!!

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Posted on 13 September 2013, in Farmers Market, French Fridays with Dorie and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 13 Comments.

  1. I am glad you found a “safe” source on this one.

    Compound butters are amazing, aren’t they?

    See you in a week! (Squee!)

  2. Happy to hear that you were able to find some free-range veal so that you could try this recipe. I thought that the prep would have worked well with most meats, but I have to say that I’m a bit skeptical about goat. Interesting article though, thanks for sharing.

  3. I followed the same path with veal. I’m open to eating it, though, if I can find a good source. I’ve been sick this week and haven’t ventured out to shop. I’ve decided to be well today so will be heading to Whole Foods shortly and hopefully I will find veal I can feel good about eating. Your chop looks delicious. Looking forward to seeing you soon!

  4. Flavored butter melting over a juicy steak is a wonderful meal! There will always be controversy regarding veal, but I don’t see myself not eating it. Though the truth is I usually opt for more rustic cuts.

  5. I think we are all wondering why we don’t have compound butters on hand more often… Oh and this time in a week? I”ll be weeping into my wine glass, wishing I was there…

  6. I also loved the indoor cooking method for this steak!

  7. Thanks for the education, Betsy. Like you, I had never considered the need or no need for male calves. I haven’t eaten a veal chop for years and for the same reason and you but decided to make this recipe. I don’t mind it being a bit tougher (which I didn’t even notice) if the calf is raised more humanely. That’s what teeth are for (mine, not the calf’s). I thought the rosemary butter was a real bonus and, as you can see from my Post, I also used it on my corn-on-the-cob. Interesting Post. See you next week.

  8. Since I grew up crying if I watched Lassie (dating myself for sure here…..) or certain dog food commercials….I read your post with one eyeball. Phew, not too graphic and yes, if I had not been so busy running behind and had Nana graciously delivering the meat (what is it again Mom ??) – I probably would have been more upset. Instead, I was just bummed it was so tough. But that butter was indeed a revelation. More will be kept on hand. And I dont even want to admit to hiwnmuch went on my potatoes :).

  9. I wish we would take the lead of Europe and just outlaw crating, I’m with you about humane veal and I made pork chops instead because I couldn’t find any. I think it will be changing, people in general are getting more and more food conscious. Your cook looks wonderful and the butter is terrific!

  10. It’s funny, my grandfather was a cattle rancher, and none of the cows were treated inhumanely or crated – but then again he was not selling to big chain stores either. I understand the dilemma people have nowadays when we know so much more about the sources of our foods. I hope also that crating will be outlawed at some point –

  11. Your chop looks golden and wonderful. I have heard that some veal is inhumanely sourced – which makes me very sad. I have not and will never try foie gras because of how it is produced.

  12. I skipped the recipe, but rosemary butter on biscuits sounds like my kind of dinner :-)

  13. Interesting…I will have to see if I can find some “rose veal” locally. We have a number of farms selling grass-fed beef, so I will inquire about the veal. I’m glad you remembered that lone chop in your freezer – this was the perfect use for it!

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