Provençal Veal Breast Stuffed With Swiss Chard
This Passover holiday recipe, an ancient jewel of Jewish Provençal cooking, feels modern with our new love of Swiss chard. It is traditional to use a whole veal breast with all the bones, but that makes for a giant roast by today’s standards. For this simplified but magnificent version, have a butcher trim, butterfly and remove the bones -- and save them to cook beside the meat, where they will add flavor and texture to the braise. The dish tastes best cooked a day ahead to allow the flavors to blend.
- Serves: 8 persons
- 6tablespoons olive oil
- 3large onions; 2 diced, 1 cut into 2-inch pieces
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 3garlic cloves, finely chopped (about 1 tablespoon) plus 2 cloves, unpeeled
- 4sprigs thyme, leaves removed and chopped (about 1 teaspoon)
- 1sprig fresh rosemary, leaves removed and finely chopped (1 teaspoon chopped)
- 2pounds Swiss chard (2 to 3 bunches), leaves and stems chopped
- 1(15-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
- 1large egg, lightly beaten
- 1square matzo, crumbled into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1boneless breast of veal, about 4 pounds, trimmed, butterflied, bones reserved (a butcher can do this, or order it for you); see note
- ½cup Côtes du Rhône or other dry red wine
- 3carrots, cut in half lengthwise and then cut on the diagonal in 1-inch slices
Step 1Make the filling: In a large skillet, heat 4 tablespoons of the olive oil over medium heat. Add diced onions, season with salt and pepper and sauté until softened. Mix in the chopped garlic, thyme and rosemary. A few handfuls at a time, stir in the chard and, using tongs to toss, cook with the onion mixture until all the greens are soft, about 10 minutes. Turn off the heat and use a slotted spoon to transfer chard mixture to a large bowl. Stir in tomatoes, egg and matzo pieces, mixing well. You will have at least 5 cups cooked filling.
Step 2Heat oven to 375 degrees. Lay the meat flat on a clean work surface, season the top with salt and pepper and spread a thin layer of the filling (about half) evenly over the surface of the meat, leaving a 1-inch border. Reserve and refrigerate the remaining stuffing. Tightly roll the meat and secure it with kitchen twine, making a knot every 1 1/2 inches and tucking the meat in to enclose the ends. Season the outside of the roll with salt and pepper.
Step 3Add the remaining olive oil to the skillet, turn the heat to medium-high and brown the stuffed veal on all sides. Transfer to a large roasting pan with a lid. (If your skillet isn’t large enough, brown veal directly in the roasting pan, laid over 2 burners of your stovetop.) To the pan where you browned the meat, add wine and simmer for about a minute, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Spoon liquid over the meat. Scatter the carrots, large onion pieces and whole garlic cloves around the veal, place the bones, and pour in about 8 cups of water or enough to come halfway up the meat.
Step 4Reduce oven to 325 degrees and cook, covered, 2 1/2 hours, basting every 20 minutes or so, until veal is cooked through and tender, 165 degrees on a meat thermometer.
Step 5Remove the meat from the pan, set aside to cool, then refrigerate overnight. Strain the sauce, reserving the carrots and discarding the bones and the onions. Refrigerate sauce and carrots.
Step 6The next day (or when ready to serve), remove and discard the fat from the sauce and simmer sauce in a small pot until reduced by 1/3. Season with salt and pepper. Using a long sharp knife, slice the veal into 1-inch portions. (Pull out kitchen twine as necessary). Carefully transfer slices to a large ovenproof serving dish or roasting pan, scatter the reserved stuffing around the veal and pour the braising liquid and carrots over the top. (You can refrigerate the whole dish at this point, to be reheated just before serving, or proceed to reheat the meat now.)
Step 7Just before serving, reheat in a 350-degree oven, covered with foil, about 20 minutes or until heated through. Serve in individual portions or on a platter, with a little chard stuffing and carrots on top of each slice for color, and drizzled with some of the braising liquid.