Shoulder of veal is a versatile cut, which can be roasted or braised, simply seasoned or embellished with stuffing. For this recipe a savory stuffing featuring rich porcini mushrooms, assertive chicken livers and sweet red onions brings an exquisite balance to the dish, while herbs and dry vermouth add depth of flavor. If you are not a liver fan, leave them out and if you don’t want to fuss with stuffing the veal, you can cook this stuffing in a casserole alongside the roast.
- 4-6 ServingsServings
For the Stuffing:
- 1 package dried porcini mushrooms (1-ounce)
- ¾ pound chicken livers optional
- 2 tablespoon chicken, duck fat or olive oil
- 1 medium red onion, chopped (about ¾ cup)
- 1 cup chicken stock
- ½ teaspoon poultry seasoning or ½ teaspoon ground sage
- 3 cup croutons, plain or seasoned (1 -5.25-ounce package)
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the Veal:
- 1 veal shoulder (3 ½ - pound)
- 1½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning or ½ teaspoon ground sage and ½ teaspoon ground thyme leaves
- 1 tablespoon chicken, duck fat or olive oil
- 1 cup chicken stock
- ½ cup dry white vermouth or white wine
- ½ cup cup strained porcini liquid optional (you’ll have this if making the stuffing or risotto)
- 1 bay leaf
To prepare the stuffing, reconstitute the porcini mushrooms in 1 cup of hot water, you can actually soak them right in the glass measuring cup. While the mushrooms soak, heat 1 tablespoon of fat in a skillet, cook the livers, over medium - high heat, about 5 minutes. Cover the pan and cook several minutes longer until the livers are no longer red inside. Remove them to a bowl, using a slotted spoon and when cool, cut them into small pieces, about the size of a raisin. (If koshering the livers in the broiler, join us at the next step). Wipe the skillet clean and heat the remaining tablespoon of fat. Cook and stir the onions, over medium heat, until lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Spoon the onions into the bowl with the cut chicken livers.
By now the mushrooms should have softened and released their flavor into the soaking water. Remove the mushrooms from the water, squeeze them to release all their liquid, rinse them under cold water, and chop into bite-size pieces. Take the porcini water and strain it through a piece of cheesecloth, damp paper towel or coffee filter. Reserve the mushrooms and its liquid (about 1 cup). Pour half of the liquid into the bowl with the livers; reserve the rest for the sauce. To the bowl add the chicken stock, poultry seasoning, croutons, salt and pepper to taste. Stir to combine all the stuffing ingredients, being sure the croutons soak up all the liquid. If they feel dry, add more stock. Let the stuffing come to room temp before filling the pocket or layering the stuffing on top of the roast.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and set a rack in a roasting pan. Season the veal with salt, pepper and the dried herbs. If stuffing the veal, fill the pocket with the stuffing, or spread a thin layer of stuffing on one side. If cooking the stuffing alongside the roast, grease a casserole and spoon in the stuffing, you’ll add the casserole to the oven after the roast has cooked 30 minutes.
Roll and tie the veal securing it every 2 inches, using kitchen twine or reusable cooking bands. Heat the fat in a large skillet and sear the veal, over medium-high heat for just a few minutes on each side, until a light brown crust develops. Carefully transfer the veal to the roasting pan. Pour in the chicken stock, vermouth, bay leaf, and any remaining porcini liquid. Roast the veal at 350 degrees for 30 minutes basting with the accumulated drippings. After that time, place the casserole with the stuffing in the oven and continue roasting and basting the veal, adding water or broth to the pan as needed. Roast about 1 to 1 ¼ hours longer or until an instant read thermometer registers about 150 degrees. Remove the roast from the pan, and cover loosely with foil. Place the roasting pan directly on the stove and heat the juices to create a gravy, scraping the bits that cling to the bottom of the pan. Slice the roast and serve with the stuffing and gravy spooned on top.
Side Note A beautiful alternative to the stuffing is a porcini -studded risotto, which can be served as an elegant side dish. The porcini liquid from the risotto can be incorporated into the gravy for added flavor. (See page 230)
Behind the Counter Have your butcher trim and cut a veal shoulder. There are two options for stuffing the shoulder. The butcher can create a pocket to stuff, or pound the shoulder thin so you can roll the shoulder around the stuffing. Have your butcher show you how to roll and tie the shoulder after it is stuffed. There is definitely a technique to this process and a quick how-to would be helpful. Alternate cut breast of veal (with or without a pocket for stuffing, on or off the bone) costs less overall, but it also presents less edible meat (-$).
Feedback Vermouth, is a fortified wine blended with herbs and botanicals, and was widely popular in the 60’s. It lost favor when vodka supplanted it as a must-have for the perfect martini. And while that’s always been its principle function, it also makes a great alternative to dry white wine for cooking. It has a longer shelf life and lower initial cost, while adding a subtle floral note and herbaceous flavor to sauce. After you’ve given cooking with it a whirl, you can try and create the classic gin and vermouth martini. Recipes and tastes vary, but anywhere from a 3 1 ratio of gin to vermouth to a 5 1 ratio seems to be a balanced blend. Shake or stir, with lots of ice. Add a twist of lemon, a cocktail onion or green olive (with some of its juice for a dirty martini) and you have a James Bond worthy drink.