Veally tasty

Thu 03 Mar 2011 @ 16:14
Author Paul Dring

When I was in Piedmont, in northwestern Italy, to write a story for issue 17, Jonathan (the photographer) and I found ourselves in Bra one lunchtime. As this pretty Piedmontese town is the worldwide headquarters of the Slow Food movement, my hopes were high that the stone-walled, cavern-like restaurant we wound up in would be good. And it was.

Osteria Murivecchi is affiliated to the Ascheri winery and has a simple menu of well-made local dishes, such as its carrot and mint risotto (left, which appears in the magazine) and a beautiful ravioli with meat and courgette ragu (right). Many of the dishes on the menu are made using Ascheri's own wines, such as this bocconcino di vitello in barolo with green beans and sauteed potatoes (above).

They use their own top-of-the-range barolo in this dish, though you might be tempted to go for a slightly less highfalutin red wine and keep the good stuff back to drink alongside. The dish can be made with thin rib or neck of veal, but the Piedmontese prefer a cut called cappello del prete, or the priest’s hat – so named because butchers would traditionally reserve their best cuts for the clergy. Using veal stock will intensify the flavour but if you don’t have it you can use vegetable or chicken stock. This recipe serves four.

Trim 800g of veal of its excess fat, dice it into 3cm cubes and toss it seasoned flour until lightly coated and set aside.

Add a knob of butter and a splash of olive oil to a large pan over a medium heat and throw in 1 chopped carrot, 1 chopped onion, 1 chopped celery stalk, 1 chopped leek and 3 chopped cloves of garlic. Cook for a few minutes, stirring, until the onion has softened but not coloured. Add the veal and cook for a few minutes until the meat takes on a little colour.

Now, add enough red wine and stock to cover everything (you're after about 4 parts wine to 1 part stock), then season, cover with a lid, and cook for at least 1 hour on a very low heat. If the sauce is too thin at the end of the cooking time, remove the lid, turn up the heat and cook vigorously to reduce. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary, then serve with green beans and sautéed potatoes – not forgetting a glass or two of barolo to go with it.

Issue 17 of Jamie Magazine is published on 10 March. Pick up a copy at your local supermarket or branch of WHSmith.

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