Monday, July 27, 2009

Humanely Raised, Pastured Veal

As the New York Times article trumpeted in "Veal to Love, Without the Guilt," there is finally a way to enjoy veal without the guilt of knowing that the meat on your plate came from an animal that lived in the most deplorable conditions practiced.

When our cow boarding program began to grow, we found ourselves with several male dairy calves and began to feel guilt of another kind. It seemed that the only option for these calves was to take them to the local livestock market, but as we began to wonder what would become of them we decided to keep them on the farm and to find a way to raise these calves under humane conditions and market them as pasture raised veal.

Continuing with our dictates that all of our animals live according to our Rules of Freedom, we began to get a clearer picture of how to raise these male calves.

We wanted to keep the calves:

Free from unnecessary fear and distress:
so we ensure conditions and care that limit stress, pain, injury and disease including rapid diagnoses and treatment;

Free of hunger and thirst: so we give the calves ready access to fresh water and a diet that maintains full health and vigor;

Free from unnecessary discomfort: so we provide an appropriate environment including shelter and a comfortable resting area, sufficient space and proper facilities;

Free to express normal behavior: so we provide company of the animals' own kind and raise them the old fashioned way, with their mothers, out on pasture.

You can have confidence that our veal comes from calves we raised humanely and healthily, in accordance with the rules outlined above. If you have other questions about our pastured veal or any other grass fed meat we raise, please feel free to ask us. We have all cuts available in the store and as usual we stock all cuts at the Franklin Farmer's Market.

Here is one of my favorite recipes for pastured veal chops from the Williams-Sonoma cookbook, On the Grill: Adventures in Fire and Smoke.

Wood-grilled pastured veal chops are perfect fare for special occasions. Here the delicate flavor of the veal is enhanced with a marinade of olive oil and Mediterranean herbs, then finished with a silky demi-glace. Recommended wine pairing: Merlot.

1 cup red wine
1/4 cup veal demi-glace
3 fresh rosemary sprigs plus 2 Tbs. roughly chopped rosemary, plus more sprigs for garnish
3 fresh thyme sprigs plus 2 Tbs. roughly chopped thyme, plus more sprigs for garnish
1/4 cup olive oil
6 pastured veal chops, each 1 inch thick
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 to 2 Tbs. cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes

To make a rosemary demi-glace, in a small saucepan over high heat, combine the wine and 1 cup water and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and whisk in the demi-glace until smooth. Set the pan over low heat, add the 3 rosemary and thyme sprigs, and simmer until the mixture is reduced slightly, 10 to 15 minutes. Strain through a sieve into another small saucepan; discard the herbs. Keep the demi-glace warm on the stovetop.

In a small bowl, stir together the olive oil, chopped rosemary and thyme. Place the veal chops in a shallow dish and generously season with salt and pepper. Pour the herbed oil over the meat and turn to coat well. Cover and let stand for 10 to 15 minutes.

Prepare a medium-hot fire in a grill. Brush and oil the grill grate. Grill the veal chops directly over medium-high heat, turning once, until nicely grill-marked and charred, 4 to 6 minutes per side. Move the chops to indirect heat, cover, and grill until firm to the touch and cooked to your liking. Transfer the chops to a large serving platter, cover loosely with aluminum foil and let rest for 5 minutes.

Rewarm the demi-glace if needed. Add the butter cubes, one at a time, whisking after each addition. Strain any accumulated meat juices into the demi-glace. Garnish the chops with rosemary and thyme sprigs and spoon the sauce over the chops, or pass the chops at the table with the sauce on the side.

Serves 6.

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