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How To Cook Veal

C onfused about cooking veal? There’s no need to be. Veal is easy to cook, and you should make it a part of your cooking routine. Veal can be pan-seared, grilled, sautéed, braised, broiled or stewed, depending on the cut. Choose the right method for the veal cut, and remember one rule: do not overcook this lean meat. Read on to learn how to cook each type of veal cut.

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General Tips on Cooking Veal

There are two basic methods for cooking veal: moist or dry heat. Tender cuts like veal steak, veal chops, veal tenderloin can be cooked with dry heat; think grilling, broiling, or pan searing. Cuts with more connective tissue - veal stew meat, veal short ribs and veal osso buco - are less tender, and can benefit from moist cooking, like simmering or braising.

Because veal is so lean, it needs a little fat (don’t trim what fat there is!) added, like bacon or duck fat, to keep things juicy. The USDA recommends cooking whole muscle veal cuts like veal steaks, roasts and chops to 145 degrees F (medium rare), 160 degrees F (medium), or 170 degrees F (well done). We always prefer meat on the rare side, so 145 degrees F is what we aim for when cooking veal.

How to Cook Veal Chops

This may be the easiest veal cut to cook. And everybody loves a veal chop! You can pound out a Milanese veal chop to uniform thickness before cooking, or work with a hefty, frenched veal chop. Keep things simple and grill some juicy veal chops with garlic and fresh herbs. A drizzle of olive oil and squeeze of grilled lemon before serving adds a mellow citrus kick, as in our Tuscan-style veal recipe.

No grill? No worries. Try this one-skillet, French-style veal chop recipe. The veal chops are cooked stovetop, and then simmered in a savory sauce of mustard, cream and veal demi-glace. It’s a classic combination.

And for oven-roasted veal chops, there is nothing as simple and satisfying as veal chop saltimbocca. Our recipe shows you how. 

How to Cook Veal Osso Buco

Osso buco, sometimes called veal shank, is one a cut that requires braising to break down connective tissues and become remarkably tender. This is one of the most favored veal cuts in Italian cooking. Slow cooked with moist heat (wine and demi-glace do the trick), the resulting fall-off-the-bone veal is worth the time. Try our veal osso buco recipe from Chef Barbara Lynch for a spicy take on this dish, complete with handmade pasta.

How To Cook Rack of Veal

The rib rack is easy to trim and carve your own juicy veal chops for the grill or pan. But you can roast it whole, maybe coated in a blanket of herbs with olive oil to keep it moist. Carving the roast at the table will make a great presentation.

How To Cook Veal Roast

Our petite veal roast comes from the shoulder, and is rolled and netted. This makes it easy to cook. Be sure to use duck fat, bacon, butter or olive oil to keep the meat moist. You can cut slits in the veal and put pats of truffle butter to create a self-basting situation.Roast in a covered enameled cast-iron casserole with aromatics and vegetables.

How To Cook Veal Tenderloin

Pan-sear veal tenderloin in a hot pan for a few minutes, until golden brown. Then place veal in a roasting pan and in a 400 degree F oven for 15 minutes or so, taking care to keep the veal pink in the center. Our mushroom crusted veal tenderloin recipe can be made with dried morels or umami-rich porcini powder.

How to Cook Veal Sweetbreads

The first step is to soak the veal sweetbreads in milk or cold water, then blanch them in boiling water and shock them in an ice bath. This makes any tough membranes easy to remove and firms up the texture. You may choose to chill and press them into uniform shapes, or you may get right to the cooking. Sweetbreads cook quickly and can be pan-seared, grilled, or breaded and fried. Serve with an acidic sauce, lemon, capers or cornichons to cut the richness.

Cooking with Veal Demi-Glace

Demi-glace is a must in the kitchen. There is nothing more useful for creating velvety smooth pan sauces with dimensional flavor. If you are cooking with veal, be sure to have at least one 7 ounce tub on hand.