Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Veal Brisket and Grits

Here's another recipe using veal brisket, a cut that's unfamiliar to customers and chefs alike. My inspiration for this recipe is grillades and grits, amazing comfort food from New Orleans and environs. I generally make this dish with beef paleron steaks, while high dollar New Orleans restaurants tend to use more expensive cuts of veal, such as butt tenders or eye rounds. I've got to tell you that veal brisket makes outstanding grillades.

This is a recipe for chefs; you'll want to scale this down for home use and no doubt, you'll need to substitute beef brisket for veal, unless you have a really good butcher shop. Also, the cook and reheat technique is for restaurants: you can either mimic that or not as you see fit.

Veal Brisket and Grits

For 20-24 portions:
4 Le Québécois veal point end briskets (about 16 pounds)
vegetable oil
1-1/2 cups duck fat*, oil, or other fat
1-1/2 cups all purpose flour
4 poblano* chiles, diced
2 large yellow onions, diced
1 bunch green onions, sliced
6 stalks celery, diced
6 tablespoons garlic, minced
4 T Cajun spice mix*
1/2 #10 can diced tomatoes with juice
salt and pepper to taste

1. Heat a braising pan over high flame, film with vegetable oil, and sear hard both sides of each brisket, being careful not to burn the fond.

2. Remove briskets from pan.

3. Add the oil, duck fat, or bacon grease and bring to temperature.

4. Add the flour and stir frequently to form a medium brown roux.

5. Add the vegetables to the pan to stop the roux from cooking and stir well for a couple of minutes.

6. Add the garlic and spice mix and cook for another minute.

7. Add the tomatoes and mix well, then the briskets, and enough water to come about half way up the briskets.

7. Cover and braise until tender, 4-6 hours.

8. Remove meat to a hotel pan and chill.

9. Defat the gravy and season to taste. Reserve gravy for service.


1. Slice a portion of veal (three slices about 3/8" thick, about 8 ounces) across the grain.

2. Reheat 4 ounces of reserved gravy and the veal in a sauté pan.

3. Finish in a hot oven, turning the veal once, until everything is hot.

Plate Up
1. Mound grits in the well of large soup plate.

2. Place veal and gravy over.

3. Garnish as desired.

Chef's Notes
*Roux in Cajun home cooking is made from whatever fat happens to be on hand. If you process as much duck at your restaurant as we do here, you have buckets of duck fat on hand at any time. Duck fat gives the roux great depth of flavor.

*Poblano chiles are not traditional in Cajun and Creole cooking; Bell peppers are. To me, Bell peppers have an assertive vegetal flavor that I don't really care for and I find that they bring out the absolute worst qualities in a wine. I'm also convinced that if the Acadians had had Poblanos, they would have used them in preference to Bell peppers.

*Cajun spice mix is ubiquitous any more: you can find it anywhere. Years ago, I used to make a unique blend for each specific dish, but now as a time saver, we make 5-pound batches of a blend that I've been tweaking for 10 years. Use whatever you feel like.

*We use Anson Mills grits, the long cook 90-minute kind. Use the best grits you can find.

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