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Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Sautéed Veal Medallions with Brandy and Bitter Chocolate Sauce

This post is an update from a recipe I made back in 2007 for a Valentine's Day Themed Cooking Class at Williams-Sonoma. I recreated it again with some changes for another chocolate-themed series of cooking classes, this time for classes I taught at The American Table, in Collingswood, NJ. There were 3 classes on my schedule, 2 dinner/savory topics and one for desserts.  As I've written about the dessert class, I thought I should share the dinner recipe, it was so delicious and it translates well to using other meat/protein items other than veal.  I know you can easily swap out the veal for Portobella Mushrooms, thin slices of chicken or turkey (preferably cutlet style slices) or even tender slices of beef.
To make the pan sauce have a bit more oomph and body, I added in a medley of minced shallots, carrots and celery - a mire poix as it were.  It's not absolutely necessary, I just wanted more flavor and vegetables in the sauce.  If you use Portobella Mushrooms, clean them, slice them and then toss them into a plastic or paper bag with the flour/cocoa powder and seasoning mixture; shake the bag to coat the mushrooms.  This gets more of the seasoning on the mushrooms than by just pressing the mushrooms into the seasoned flour.  Trust me - it works better this way!  Pan saute the mushrooms first, then set them aside, keeping warm, while you make the pan sauce.  Substitute veg stock for teh chicken or veal stock.  If trying to keep this vegetarian and and you don't want to use butter to thicken the pan sauce, swirl in a tablespoon of Dijon Mustard instead of butter.  I served this dish with a side of roasted potatoes and carrot and zucchini ribbons with thyme
Season flour with Dried or Fresh Thyme, Salt, Pepper and Cocoa Powder
  • Sauteed Veal Medallions with Brandy and Bitter Chocolate Pan Sauce Ingredients:

    • 1 Pound Veal Cutlets - about 1 large per person
    • 1/2 Cup All-Purpose Flour
    • 1 Tablespoon Cocoa Powder
    • 1 Tablespoon Dried Thyme ore 3 Tablespoons Fresh
    • Salt & Freshly Ground Pepper - to taste
    • Olive Oil - for sautéing as needed
      Pan Sauce:
    • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil - if needed
    • 1 Shallot - (about 1/4 Cup) finely minced
    • 1 Small Carrot - peeled and finely minced
    • 1 Celery Stalk - washed and finely minced
    • 1/2 Cup Brandy, Port or Dry Sherry (I used an inexpensive Brandy; bought a "5th" sized bottle)
    • 1 1/2 Cup Chicken or Veal Stock
    • 1/4 Cup Bittersweet Chocolate - finely chopped (70% to 85% Cocoa)
    • 1/4 Cup (4 Tablespoons) Cold Unsalted Butter - cut into small cubes
    • Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper - to taste 
    • 1 Tablespoon Thyme Leaves - for garnish

    Directions:
  1. Preheat the oven to 225 degrees Fahrenheit and place a platter in the oven to warm.
  2. Use a shallow bowl or dinner plate, mixing together the flour, cocoa powder, thyme, salt and pepper. Dredge the veal cutlets into the mixture, shaking off the excess flour mixture. Set aside but use within 3 minutes so the veal doesn't begin to get soggy.
  3. Use a non-stick pan and heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in it over medium-high heat until the oil begins to shimmer. Swirl the pan to spread the oil around, then add in the dredged veal cutlets and sear them. Use tongs to turn the cutlets. Cook the cutlets 2-4 minutes or until the cutlets are golden brown. Remove from heat. Test for doneness using a paring knife and gauge the colour. Medium rare will be very pink at the center; medium will be slightly pink; If the cutlets aren’t done to your liking, cook for a few minutes more.
  4. When the medallions are done, transfer them to the warmed platter, cover loosely with aluminum foil and set aside to rest. The meat will continue to cook from the residual heat.
  5. Making the pan sauce- put the skillet pack on the stove-top over medium-high heat. Add in a tablespoon of olive oil (if needed) and add in the minced shallots, carrots and celery. Sauté the vegetables for about 3 minutes, or until the shallots and celery turn translucent and the carrots are tender.
  6. Away from the heat/flame of the stove, carefully pour in the 1/2 cup of Brandy; return pan to stove and reduce the brandy down until only a few tablespoons of liquid remain - about 5 minutes.
  7. Next, add in the stock to the pan and scrap up any browned bits - the FOND. Reduce the stock mixture by half - about 5 more minutes.
  8. Reduce the heat to low and whisk in the chopped chocolate, swirling the pan to incorporate. When the chocolate is melted, remove the pan from the heat and slowly add in 1 to 2 cubes of the cold butter at a time, whisking the mixture until the butter is nearly incorporated. Continue add the butter cubs to the pan, swirling and whisking to ensure a smooth pan sauce. The mixture should transform into a dark caramel coloured sauce with the consistency of heavy cream. Taste and adjust the seasonings, adding the thyme leaves, a pinch of salt and a dash of black pepper.
  9. Plate the veal medallions and spoon some of the sauce over the veal and all around the plate. Serve hot immediately. Sauce will hold, refrigerated for 1 week.

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