Poached and Roasted Veal Knuckle
Pot roast never had it so good: this roasted veal knuckle and its rich gravy redefine the concept. The veal knuckle is poached, then simmered with vegetables until it is nearly falling apart. The rich gravy begins with the poaching stock, deeply colored by pan-roasted veal bits and the poaching vegetables. The veal is basted with the enriched pan stock for 20 minutes to give it a rich brown glaze. The stock is then further enriched with veal demi-glace and vermouth before it arrives at the table as gravy. At each step, the initial basic ingredients of veal and chopped aromatic vegetables are further enriched, resulting in a wonderful depth of flavor at the end. Cantal cheese is a French cheese made from rich cow's milk; it is ivory-colored, but the is similar to cheddar and edam.
- Roasted Veal Knuckle
- Veal Knuckles - 2, bone in, about 3 pounds each
- Leeks - 2, cleaned
- Carrots - 3, roughly chopped
- Large Onions - 2, roughly chopped
- Celery - 6 stalks, roughly chopped
- Veal Meat - 1 pound, cut into 1-inch pieces
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- Leek Baskets
- Leeks - green part of 2 leeks (above)
- Canola oil - for deep-fat frying
- Green Peas - 2-1/2 pounds
- Unsalted Butter - 2 tablespoons
- Fleur de sel
- Cantal (semi-hard cows' milk cheese) - 5 ounces
- Unsalted Butter - 3 tablespoons
- Large Onion - 1, chopped
- Arborio Rice - 3/4 cup
- Dry white wine - 2/3 cup
- Heavy (whipping) cream - 1/3 cup
- Veal Demi-Glace - 2 quarts
- Noilly Prat - 3 tablespoons (alt. other fine vermouth)
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- Parmesan Cheese - 1 ounce
- Unsalted Butter - 6 ounces (1-1/2 sticks)
Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil and add the knuckles. Bring the water back to a full rolling boil. Put the pot in the sink and pour cold water directly into the pot until the water around the knuckles is cold. Drain off enough water so that the knuckles are covered two-thirds of the way with water. Put back on the heat and bring to a boil. Cut off the green portion of the leeks and set aside; roughly chop the white portion. Add the chopped leeks, carrots, onions, and celery to the pot and cook until the meat can easily be pulled from the bone, 2 to 3 hours. Remove the knuckles from the pan and set aside. Drain off the poaching liquid, divide into two containers, and reserve.
To prepare the leek baskets: While the knuckles are cooking, split the reserved green portion of the leeks in half lengthwise and separate into individual leaves. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil and add the leeks, swishing them around in the water. When the water returns to a boil, remove the leeks and plunge into ice water to stop the cooking. Spread the leeks on paper towels and blot to remove all the water. Wrap leek leaves around a cylindrical metal mold, about 2-1/2 inches in diameter and 3 inches tall, overlapping leaves to completely cover the mold. Heat the oil to 360 F in a deep-fryer or large deep saucepan. Holding a mold with tongs, dip into the hot oil and fry until the leek is crisp, 20 to 30 seconds. Lift, drain, and place on paper towels. When cool enough to handle, slip the leek basket off the mold and set aside. Repeat to make 12 leek baskets.
To prepare the risotto: Shell the peas, reserving both peas and shells separately. Bring a saucepan of lightly salted water to a boil and add the peas. Return to a boil and cook 4 to 8 minutes, until al dente. Drain. Peel the peas and return to the pan with 2 tablespoons of butter. Toss over medium-low heat until glazed with butter. Season lightly with fleur de sel. Set aside.
Shave 12 small pieces of the cantal cheese for garnish and set aside. Grate the remaining cheese and set aside. Melt the butter in a heavy saucepan over medium heat and add the onions. Cook until the onions are softened but not browned. Add the rice and white wine, toss to coat, and cook until the liquid is absorbed. Using one of
the containers of veal cooking liquid, add enough of the liquid to cover the rice and cook again, stirring constantly, until the liquid is absorbed. Continue adding cooking liquid, bit by bit, and stirring, until the rice is al dente. Add the cream and the butter from the peas and stir until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is soft. Add
the grated cantal and the peas. If you still have veal cooking liquid left, use it in the next step below.
To finish the veal: When the knuckles have finished cooking, preheat the oven to 375 F. Put the drained vegetables into a roasting pan and add the chopped veal meat. Brown over medium heat, stirring occasionally. When the meat and vegetables are a deep brown color, add a little of the reserved poaching liquid and stir up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Put the knuckles into the pan and baste with the remaining poaching liquid. Roast 20 minutes, basting often with the pan juices. Remove the knuckles and place in a serving platter.
Put the roasting pan and its contents back over medium-high heat and reduce the juice by one half. Stir in the demi-glace and vermouth and reduce again by half. Stir in the grated Parmesan and the butter until blended. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Strain the gravy and set aside.
To serve: Slice the veal and divide among 6 warmed serving plates. Place two leek cups on each plate and fill with risotto. Drizzle the veal and plates with veal gravy. Garnish with the reserved cantal shavings.