Veal Ragout - James Prescott


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Veal Ragout – Recipe

Copyright © 1987,1988,2004 James Prescott


  • 3/4 US teaspoon (4 ml) (3 g) ginger
  • 3/4 US teaspoon (4 ml) (3 g) cinnamon (see Note 1)
  • 3/4 US teaspoon (4 ml) (3 g) cloves
  • 1 1/2 US teaspoon (8 ml) (5 g) grains of paradise
  • 1/4 US teaspoon (2 ml) (0.25 g) Spanish saffron
  • 1/3 US cup (80 ml) verjuice (see Note 2)
  • 1/3 US cup (80 ml) red wine vinegar
  • 2 pounds (900 g) veal shoulder blade roast
  • 8 large onions
  • 1/4 US cup (60 ml) (60 g) butter
  • 6 thick slices of the best quality white bread


Finely grind the spices, and combine with the verjuice and vinegar in a container. Leave them to steep in the refrigerator for at least an hour, preferably overnight.


Preheat the oven to 450° F (230° C), then roast the veal for 60 minutes (30 minutes per pound) at 325° F (165° C). Remove from the oven and leave to cool. When the roast is cool enough to handle comfortably, cut the meat into cubes about 3/4 of an inch on a side. Refrigerate the cubes until needed.


Put the veal bones, gristle and fat into a saucepan. Scrape all of the drippings from the roasting pan into the saucepan as well. Add water, cover and simmer over very, very low heat. I simmered mine overnight. Remove and discard the bones, gristle, and fat. Save the veal stock.


Cut the onions into slices and separate all the rings. Melt the butter in a large saucepan, add the onions, cover and cook over a very, very low heat for an hour until the onions are well cooked. Drain, and save the onions on one side and all the onion cooking juices on the other.


Combine the veal stock and the onion cooking juices to get about 6 cups of stock. Add water or other stock if necessary. Refrigerate until needed.


Remove and discard the crusts from the bread slices. Turn the slices into medium crumbs (a blender does this in a jiffy). You will need about 4 cups of crumbs. Set the oven to 350° F (175° C). Spread a layer of bread crumbs on a tray and put it in the oven to turn golden brown. This may take 15 minutes. Peek frequently towards the end, since the crumbs can go from almost golden to smoking charcoal in an amazingly short time. Repeat, or use several trays at once, until all the bread crumbs have been browned. Set the crumbs aside until needed.


Heat a quantity of lard in a deep-fryer to 375° F (190° C). Deep-fry the veal cubes about ten at a time. Any more, and the lard will bubble all over the stove. Each cube should be nicely crisped and browned on the outside, which doesn't take long. They should not be fried long enough to become crunchy or burnt. Drain them. Put the veal gobbets and the fried onions into a container and refrigerate until needed.


When ready to assemble the ragout, start heating the stock. When near boiling, add the veal and onions, and then the bread crumbs, and simmer for 30 minutes. Add the spice, verjuice, and vinegar mixture, stir well, and bring the pot back to the boil. Serve at once (see Note 3).

Note 1: North American cinnamon is actually cassia. Use real cinnamon if available.

Note 2: If you can't obtain verjuice, fresh lemon juice diluted 50/50 with water is a suitable alternative.

Note 3: Garnish if you wish with some sprigs of fresh parsley and with some golden bread crumbs.

The original recipe (in translation) is here




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