Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Roulade of Veal Breast

I love working with less commonly used cuts of meat. Here's a recipe for veal navel brisket (or plate), which we put on the menu as veal breast. While I use a lot of point end brisket, the larger triangular brisket, I really enjoy working with the flatter, thinner navel brisket that comes from back towards the belly (hence the name navel). The great thing about a plate or navel brisket is that it is thin enough to roll, so I always seem to roll it.

No matter which cut of brisket you use, each requires long, slow cooking and will shrink considerably, so you must figure shrinkage loss into yield. I plan on at least 25% shrinkage loss (but no doubt you could reduce this using a really low temp on your combi oven). Fortunately, brisket pricing is low enough to offset shrinkage loss.

The following recipe made from a single brisket yields about 8 or 9 substantial portions. Scale up is fairly direct.

Roulade of Veal Breast Stuffed with Goat Cheese and Spinach

2-1/2 pounds mirepoix (onions, carrots, celery)
4 T garlic, minced
1 pound spinach
6 ounces goat cheese, softened
1 Le Québécois navel brisket, about 5 pounds
1 bouquet garni
12 ounces dry white wine
1 gallon tomato coulis (tomatoes, garlic, basil, salt and pepper)


Sweat half a pound of mirepoix and add a little minced garlic during the final couple minutes of cooking.

Blanch, shock, and wring out a pound of baby spinach. Chop well.

Soften 6 ounces of goat cheese.

Add all three ingredients to a bowl, mix, and season to taste.

Lay out the brisket, rib side up, skin side down on your cutting board. Cover the brisket with the spinach mixture, leaving a good one inch margin all the way around.

Roll and tie the brisket.

Brown the rolled brisket in a large braising pan, being careful not to burn the fond.

Remove the browned brisket from the pan and add the remaining mirepoix and the bouquet garni. Cook until the onions become translucent, then add the garlic and cook a couple minutes longer. Deglaze with white wine.

Place the brisket roll on top of the vegetables and add the tomato coulis. Adjust the liquid level with water as necessary. Braise at low temperature four to six hours as necessary.

When done, remove to a sheet tray and chill. Defat and season the braising liquid.

For service, remove the strings from the cold, firm brisket. Portion into slices about an inch thick. To reheat, add a couple ounces of water to a pan with a cold brisket slice and warm four or five minutes in a very hot oven.


I tossed some gemelli pasta in the braising sauce and put that down in a large pasta bowl with the veal leaning against the mound of pasta. Sauce over the veal and a bit of grated Pecorino Romano and a rosemary sprig for garnish.

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