Ossobucco – slowly cooked veal shank

Ossobucco, bone with a hole, is one of the many classic Italian recipes that take more patience than skill. The Milanese version has you coating the meat with flour and adding gremolata, a mixture of parsley and grated lemon rind. Last week I went to the butcher’s in Mirepoix for some slices of cooked ham. … Read more

A simple veal cutlet

I am spending more and more time at my new house in the Ariège region. The kitchen is not ready yet so I keep things rather simple. In this rural region, there are many producers that bring their ware directly to the market and raise their livestock with care. There is a lady with a … Read more

Veal roast with apples and cider

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.

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Veal kidneys with broad beans

The French eat more offal than many other nationalities. In the Netherlands, I sometimes ate liver or blood sausage but that was about it. In France, I discovered sweetbread, kidney and spleen but I have not yet dared to eat heart or lungs.

A French editor once tested my willingness to adapt to France and the French way of life by ordering me a plate of slightly cooked kidneys with lasagne. The dish looked gross but I did acquire a taste for it.

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Veal kidneys with pasta and cauliflower

I must confess that this dish came together because what I had left in the refrigerator when we wanted to have veal kidney. There was still half a cooked cauliflower waiting for use.

The rognons are popular in France. In the Netherlands, most people would not think about eating it. In England, the kidneys of the adult cows enter in the steak and kidney pie.

The first time I ate kidney it was as a kind of test by my then new boss in France in a restaurant. There I was served a whole kidney with some mustard sauce and I not only passed the test but also started to like it.

Cut-up kidney is easier for frying, what I did with the following dish.

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Milan-style Ossobuco and ceps risotto

The other day I made a grilled chicken with lemon and did not feel like throwing the remains away so I turned it into a chicken stock. Then my wife suggested I made risotto and then I saw nice veal shank at the butcher’s. The ossobuco, “bone with a hole” can be made in advance and is even nicer when reheated. It also takes several hours. Risotto is best eaten straight off the stove, because of the grated cheese, but leftovers can be reheated later.

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Veal kidney, stock and mustard sauce

I can still remember the first time I had veal kidney, rognons de veau. It was in 1994, I had started to work in Paris and the local editor-in-chief invited me for a lunch in rue Montorgeuil. Upstairs in a smokey restaurant, he ordered the days’ special and recommended it to me. Unsure whether it was a test, I acquiesced and a while later there were two plates with an oblong organ, dark red coloured and with a mustard sauce. It was a bit rubbery in bite but otherwise it was fine and I showed that I was open-minded and not too set in any fixed preconceptions, dietary or otherwise.

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Veal stew Marengo

French cuisine is full of myths, mystifications and fables. Classic recipes sometimes have disputed origins. So it is with dishes named ‘Marengo’, after the June 14, 1800, battle in northern Italy by Napoleon against the Austrians. One of the stories is that Napoleon’s cook, a Swiss chef named Dunand, the son of a chef for … Read more