Sunday, December 19, 2010

You be the Sommelier

My food coop sells veal cheeks now. I am not sure who to thank for this, so I will simply thank everyone. Seriously - a few years ago, before the farm-to table and the nose-to-tail movements were still picking up steam, there is no way that cheeks would be part of the offerings in the meat department at most grocery stores.

What to do with veal cheeks? I was thinking braise, shred, and then use as stuffing for ravioli. But I don't have a pasta maker, nor any experience making pasta, so I decided on a braise with some root vegetables. It's gotten very cold here in NYC and it seemed like a comforting thing to eat.

It's a good idea to remove the white connective tissue from the cheeks before cooking. It's not so easy, but it's on only one side of the meat. I did the best I could, but you can see in the photo above that I decided to live with some connective tissue instead of shredding the meat in an attempt to remove it. These are things that professionally trained chefs can do rather easily, I am sure.

I didn't want to use anything in the braise that might obscure the tender veal's flavor. I decided on white wine and a bit of chicken stock for my braising liquid, and nothing more than onion, a whole un-crushed garlic clove, a few black peppercorns, and a bay leaf as seasonings.

I browned the meat very well, poured out most of the fat, and then cooked the finely chopped onion until golden, sprinkling with some salt. Deglazed the pot with some white wine and scraped up all of the browned bits. Added more white wine and less chicken stock, put the veal back in the pot, and brought to a simmer. Then the garlic clove, peppercorns, and bay leaf. Covered with moist parchment paper and the pot lid, into the oven at 300 degrees for an hour. Then I added some parsnip chunks and some red potato halves (red all the way through, not just red skin). Lid and parchment paper back on, another 45 minutes or so in the oven.

You can serve this immediately, but I like braises better on the next day. I removed the veal and the vegetables from the pot, strained the liquid and reduced it, and served it the next evening.

So that's the dish - braised veal cheeks with root vegetables and lemon thyme gremolata. Please, you be the sommelier. What would you serve with this dish? Leave your ideas in the comments and in a few days I'll tell you what we drank and how that worked out.

16 comments:

Andrew said...

I usually drink the wine that I braised with. But if you don't have that, I'd probably go with a Beaujolais.

Tim Buzinski said...

I'm wanting Italian with this, but northern Italian. I'd suggest a grignolino d'asti. A wine with backbone, but not overpoweringly fruit-centric.

Sean said...

Andrew's got a solid thought: young Beaujolais. Another funky option would be something from the Valle d'Aosta. I've had some wonderful, light, earthy red wines from there that would go perfectly with this. That or the Domaine Ganevat Pinot Noir--similar profile.

Yum.

Deetrane said...

I agree with Tim. You could do a '62 Gaja I suppose, but even a young Langhe Nebbiolo would do the trick.

Anonymous said...

Veal braised in white wine, chicken stock, parsnips, lemon, thyme... and yet everyone recommends red wine.

Vino do Campo Godello from Ribeiro. Good acidity. Dry and faintly nutty. Light earthiness. NOT red.

jmunro said...

A fine burgundy would likely do this justice. I would suggest trying to cure one of these to produce something like a guanciale. My only concern would be a relatively low fat content may make for something more resembling veal cheek jerky rather than a fine guanciale.

Lowelife said...

Three Suggestions

1. I Masieri Bianco from Angiolino Maule (veneto)
2. Roero Arneis ...Bruno Pasquero (piemonte)
3. Frappato ..... Arianna Ochipinti

AndrewR said...

Agrapart rose. Red bubbles all the way.

Anonymous said...

Arneis or one of those Puffeney whites that CSW is currently stocking. Just cross the bridge, BG!

Nicola said...

an aged LDH red...not too powerful, but enough substance to go up against the braised veal and the earthiness would complement the root vegetables and meaty dish

Anonymous said...

Red: Bourgogne 2007 possibly Chambolle (Barthod ?)
Red 2: Bobinet ? Grosbois ?
White: Richard Leroy (Chenin) ?
Bubble: Paillard ? Gatinois ? (Aged or non Extra Brut Peters) ? Ledru ? Prevost ?

Cliff said...

An older Olga Raffaut

Joe Manekin said...

You recommended Tondo Rosado for my braise a month or so ago. I rec Tondo Blanco for yours. '91 Tondonia Blanco Reserva would work. A similar, but lesser priced option would be Murrieta Capellania. Tournelles Fleur de Savagnin also might be interesting.

Actually, now that I think of it, a Nikolaihof Gruner Veltliner (doesn't need to be too old or pricey) sounds about perfect.

Word verification: culabbi

tom@personalwinebuyer.com said...

Given the choice I would pour a Cappellano Barbera d’Alba Gabutti 04 or Fleurie Clos de la Roilette 09...

Clotpoll said...

I'm the guy who's Neal's former rep...posted "anon" last night by mistake.

I'd go older, important white Burgundy. '85 Corton-Charlemagne from Rollin, '85 Meursault-Charmes or Perrieres (magnum) from Bitouzet, or maybe a magnum of '85 or '86 Bienvenues-Batard from Carillon to match the lemon of the gremolata.

It'd be a Thunderdome of wine/food: two men enter, one man leaves!

Clotpoll said...

OTOH, a nice Zind-Humbrecht or Schleret dry Riesling with some age would battle that veal nicely...