Veal is one meat that I have avoided for a long time, because of how it is raised. Growing up in a rural community I learned in my late teens how veal came to be and found the practice repulsing. Some facts about veal that many people might not know;
- Veal calves are taken from their mothers almost immediately after they’re born.
- They are placed in 22″ by 54″ crates and tethered to them 24 hours a day. The crates are designed to be so small that the calves cannot step forward or backward or turn around. This makes the meat very tender since the animals do not develop muscle.
- They receive a substitute for their mothers’ milk that is deficient in iron so they stay anemic, giving the meat a whiter color, instead of the usual pink or red that characterizes beef.
- Not much water is provided, so the calves will drink more of their feed.
- Many are given steroids or growth hormones to help them gain weight quicker, plus antibiotics, since confinement can breed disease.
- These practices have long been considered inhumane by many worldwide. In fact, the use of crates and the anemic diet is illegal in Europe.
Disturbing isn’t it? The good news in all of this is that I discovered Strauss Free Raised Veal! Most Whole Foods carry this brand which fits my criteria for humanely raised. If you enjoy veal I really encourage you to find out how it is raised and buy the most humanely raised meat as possible. I truly believe it’s so important for all of us to know and understand where our food, and especially our meat comes from. But that’s a story for another day.
With my good fortune in hand I set out to make a dish with the veal cutlets. My husband only likes meat if it’s falling apart. So even though these were nice little cutlets I tossed them in the pressure cooker to speed things up. You could easily make this in a pan on the stove!
1lb veal cutlets
1 tsp vegetable oil
1/2 tsp each paprika, salt, pepper
1 small onion chopped finely
1 tbsp crushed garlic
1 large handful of frozen artichoke hearts
1/4 c water
1 c quick cooking barley
2 c chicken broth
1/4 c frozen peas
In a pressure cooker add 1 tsp vegetable oil and the chopped onion. Turn heat to medium high and cook the onion until translucent. Next, add the veal cutlets and brown. Last, add the paprika, salt, pepper, garlic and lemon juice. Mix and add the water and frozen artichoke hearts. Cover pressure cooker and cook for about 20 minutes. Release pressure and continue to cook if there is water remaining. There should be a medium thick sauce remaining.
In a wok or a high sided skillet (like this one) add the vegetable oil and onion. Cook on medium heat until onion is translucent. Add the veal cutlets and brown. Add the seasoning, garlic and lemon juice. Last add the water and frozen artichoke hearts. Cover and cook on medium heat for about 30 minutes. If using this method you will want to check the water levels. This method will take longer but if you don’t want your meat falling apart you can cook it to the tenderness you prefer.
For the pilaf:
Add 2 cups of chicken broth to a pan and heat to a boil. Add the barley, cover and cook approximately 12 minutes until tender. All of the liquid should be gone. Mix in the frozen peas, cover and allow to sit. The heat of the barley will thaw the peas.
Serve together and drizzle meat and pilaf (if you desire) with the leftover sauce from the veal.
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