I am lucky to have a good, well-provided and reasonably priced butcher’s. Sometimes, however, I run into something even better when I have the possibility to buy directly from the producer.
In France you can go and visit a farm, you can order online or you can find them on producers’ markets and that is how I got to know the people of the Ferme du Grémonval – François and Fabienne Demarais – who rear boar, dear and cows on their large farm grounds near Neufchatel in Normandy, best know for its cheese.
We’ve met them at several markets and we have been twice to their farm. The last time they were in our neighbourhood I had bought some veal.
Veal is, alas, one of those meat products where the animals do not always get the treatment hey deserve so it is wise to buy from a producer you know.
I bough it in spring and the meat had been sitting in the freezer for several months because the planned occasion of a dinner for six or eight just did not happen. I decided to cook the roast and then eat it cold over several days during the heat wave in France in early July.
To stick to the Normandy theme, I added apples and cider and used salted butter.
I first browned the meat in a skillet and then transferred it to the oven, because a roast entirely cooked in the over has a tendency to remain greyish, which is less appetising.
- One to 1.5 kilo of veal
- Four apples
- Half a bottle of cider
- Some butter
- White pepper
- Preheat the oven to 150 °C.
- Melt the butter in a skillet.
- Pat the meat dry and put it in the skillet, browning on all sides for a total o some 10 minutes.
- Peel and quarter the apples and put them in an oven dish.
- Put the meat on top and add pepper.
- Pour the cider over the meat and apples, add a few thin slices of butter and put in the oven.
- Insert a meat thermometer and put the alarm on 60 °C.
At that temperature, the meat would be “saignant” (rare) and if you plan to serve the meat shortly after then you might prefer going to 63/65 °C for rosé. I opted for the lower setting as I was going to use it as cold cuts later and I wanted to keep it from going dry. I also used a relatively low oven temperature to keep the meat from drying out – at higher temperatures the cooking would be faster but the damage to the meat structure would also be more pronounced.
The alarm went off after some 45 minutes.