Veal is referred to the meat obtained from the calves. Usually, male calves are used to produce veal but female calves can also be used in rare cases. Dairy cattle are the main breed for producing veal and dairy industry use it as a by-product. Meat of veal is very soft and succulent. Calves are bought up with great care and precaution as young calves are most vulnerable to diseases. They are fed on milk and grain for proper nutrition. Though veal is a point of controversy in animal welfare association, it is highly used in making numerous veal recipes in various cuisines. Veal dishes popular in world cuisine are veal cutlets, minced veal kabobs and roasted veal.
History of Veal
The history of veal is little mysterious and still not known. Young calves have some references in Bible as well. According to New Testament, as a tradition to celebrate the matrimonial alliance the veal recipes were fondly served at The Wedding Feast. In European history also, veal is significantly mentioned. It is believed that Romans were the first one to taste the tender meat of veal. There is an issue for the creation of ‘Wiener Schnitzel’, one of the most popular veal dishes. Austrians as well as Italians claim to be the creator of this classic recipe. In spite of all these unconfirmed information, veal is still considered as a most appetizing meat of cattle.
Culinary Use of Veal
Veal is considered as a lean meat hence it is used in making various low-fat veal recipes. Veal is tend to get hard due to less fat contents, therefore care should be taken while coking. It is commonly used to make cutlets, as minced veal is highly juicy and tender. Veal meat is also used to make breaded snacks and fondly eaten with sauces.
Not only the meat is used but calf bones are very popular as a flavoring ingredient in soups and stocks. ‘Rennet’ obtained from calf’s stomach is basically used in making cheese. Apart from muscle and bones, calf offal is considered as highly prized due to its high demand. Offal includes calf kidney, liver, head along with brain. Tongue and calf’s feet are also highly prized. All in all, veal is a complete gourmet ingredient and has various types of veal recipes.
Popular Veal Recipes
Veal recipes are widely used to make some of the most popular veal dishes such as:
• Cotollta – It is a popular Italian dish and a version of breaded cutlets made up of veal. It is made ‘bone in’. Clarified butter is used to braise the veal and it is tenderized before frying.
• Wiener Schintzel – It is one of the highly popular veal recipes in Austrian cuisine. It is a traditional Viennese dish made up of veal. Other variants are also there that use pork and fish but veal recipes are widely served in International cuisine. It is served with cranberry sauce and potatoes,
• Veal parmigiana – It is a variation of famous Italian eggplant parmigiana. Breaded cutlets of veal are used instead of eggplant to make this flavorful Italian veal dish. Cutlets are then baked with the tomato sauce and cheese before serving.
• Demi-glace – It is a kind of brown sauce widely used in French cuisine. Veal stock is combined with sauce espagnole in equal quantities to make this rich sauce.
Cuisines Commonly Making Veal Dishes
Since ancient times Veal has been used as an important ingredient in French cuisine. Modern as well as classic French veal recipes are popular across the globe. For instance, fried escalope and stuffed paupiettes. Veal snacks are also widely served with sauces in French cuisine. Veal bones are used to make veal stock that is fondly added to make demi-glace, a popular French brown sauce that is used either as a base for other dishes or on its own as well.
Italian cuisine is also considered as the oldest cuisine for using veal recipes. Well-accepted and highly admired Veal Parmigiana and Italian cotolleta are the examples Italian veal recipes. However, Veal parmigiana is taken as an Italian-American recipe.
American as well as other European cuisines also makes good use of veal as a lean ingredient.
Preferred Methods of Making Veal Recipes
Veal is a versatile ingredient and has several methods of cooking. Some of them are as follows:
• Fried – This is the most popular method of making some of the most traditional veal dishes, for instance, breaded veal cutlets are fried before serving.
• Barbequed– Veal tastes good in barbequed veal recipes.
• Baked – Val dishes are often made with baked method as well.
• Stewed – Calf bones are fondly used to make stew in several cuisines.
• Stuffed – Veal thin beaten pieces are stuffed with vegetables and rolled. These rolls are then baked or fried.
Nutritive Value of Veal
As compared to beef, veal is contains very less fat. However, veal recipes are highly rich in vitamins and minerals. Vitamins B 12 and B3 along with zinc are found in abundance in calf meat. Though veal dishes are not carbohydrate rich but they are high in proteins.
Along with zinc, potassium and calcium are some of the minerals that are present in veal.
Buying and Storing of Veal
It is always advised to buy fresh cut veal as it retains the flavor and freshness for a longer period of time. If buying packaged veal, following points should be kept in mind:
• Packaged veal should be frozen, well-wrapped and packing should not be torn or punctured.
• Always check for “sell by” date on package and avoid packets with lots of moisture and juices inside.
• Almost all cuts of veal require different cooking method and heat to retain the tenderness. Hence, try to buy only that cut that can be cooked easily.
Storing of veal
• Veal should be consumed with in 1-2 days of purchase.
• It should be kept in the coldest part of the fridge.
• Veal can be frozen for longer duration by wrapping the original packing with special freezer wrap that would prevent freezer burning of meat. It should not be kept in freezer for more than 4 months.
Types of Veal
Veal can be classified according to following varieties:
• Bob veal – This type of veal is obtained from few days old calf.
• Milk-fed veal – It is also known as ‘formula fed’ veal. This type of meat is obtained from the calf that is fed on milk. It has ivory colored flesh and sometimes creamy pink.
• Grain-fed veal – The calves that are fed on grains produce grain-fed veal or non-formula veal. The meat is dark in color.
• Rose veal – This type is usually found in UK. This type of veal is raised on farms under the supervision of UK RSPCA. It has rosy pink meat that gives it the name Rose veal.
• Free-raised veal – Calves are allowed to roam in pastures and also allowed to access mother’s milk. This meat is low in fat.
• America’s production of veal in 2002 is measured as 205 million pounds.