Braised Veal Neck, Pumpkin and Smoked Ricotta

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By Katrina Meynink

Published 2014

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You will need to begin this recipe two days ahead.


  • 20 g (¾ oz) caster (superfine) sugar
  • 45 g ( oz) salt
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon white peppercorns
  • 2.5 kg (5 lb 8 oz) veal neck, halved lengthways, deboned, bones reserved
  • 4 litres (140 fl oz/16 cups) homogenised milk
  • pumpkin seeds (pepitas), toasted, to serve

Pumpkin Ribbons

  • 1.5 kg (3 lb 5 oz) Japanese pumpkin (winter squash)
  • 1 tonka bean
  • 1 clove
  • ½ cinnamon stick
  • 25 ml (¾ fl oz) apple cider vinegar

Veal Glaze

  • 2 large onions, peeled, halved
  • 500 g (1 lb 2 oz) carrots
  • 500 g (1 lb 2 oz) celery stalks, leaves removed
  • 500 ml (17 fl oz/2 cups) dry white wine
  • 50 g ( oz) foie gras fat
  • 10 g (¼ oz) lactose (milk) powder, toasted

Pumpkin Jam

  • 3.5 kg (7 lb 14 oz) Japanese pumpkin (winter squash), peeled, deseeded, cut into 6 cm ( inch) cubes
  • 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
  • 3 teaspoons apple cider vinegar

Smoked Ricotta

  • 1.75 litres (60 fl oz/7 cups) milk
  • 250 ml (9 fl oz/1 cup) thick (double/heavy) cream
  • 250 ml (9 fl oz/1 cup) buttermilk
  • ½ lemon, juice
  • wood chips, for smoking


Prepare a brine for the veal with the sugar, salt, bay leaves, peppercorns and 8 litres (280 fl oz/32 cups) of water in a large, heavy-based saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and chill completely. Place the veal neck in the brining solution, cover and refrigerate for 12 hours.

Meanwhile, make the pumpkin ribbons. Peel and seed the pumpkin, then use a vegetable peeler or a slicer to make approximately 2 cups of thin pumpkin ‘ribbons’. Juice the remaining pumpkin to yield 500 ml (17 fl oz/2 cups) of liquid. Put the liquid in a large saucepan over medium heat with the tonka bean, clove and cinnamon and simmer for 10 minutes. Skim and strain the juice mixture and season with the apple cider vinegar and salt. Allow to cool. Lay the pumpkin ribbons flat in a sous-vide bag, add the cooled pumpkin juice mixture and vacuum seal, then set aside for 10 hours.

Preheat the oven to 150°C (300°F/Gas 2). Remove the veal neck from the brine and rinse under cold running water. Char the veal neck on a charcoal barbecue to impart a smokiness to the meat. Put the neck into a large, deep-sided ovenproof pan and cover with the milk. Put the pan on the stovetop over medium heat and bring the contents to a boil, then remove from heat. Cover the contents with parchment paper and a lid then transfer to the oven and braise for 5 hours.

To make the veal glaze, preheat the oven to 220°C (425°F/Gas 7). Chop the reserved neck bones into 5 cm (2 inch) segments. Place in a roasting tin and roast in the oven for 40 minutes, turning them with a spoon until evenly browned. Remove from the oven and transfer the entire contents of the tin to a large stockpot. Put the vegetables into the roasting tin and sweat until caramelised. Deglaze the pan with the wine. Reduce by half, then pour the mixture into the stockpot with the bones. Cover with cold water, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 12 hours, skimming regularly. Strain the liquid into a clean saucepan, return to the heat and reduce by half or until the glaze coats the back of a spoon. Remove from the heat, and monte with the fois gras fat and toasted lactose powder. Cover with plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming and set aside.

To make the pumpkin jam, toss the pumpkin pieces in the grapeseed oil and put them in a single layer in a wide, heavy-based saucepan or rondeau over medium heat and lightly caramelise the pumpkin on all sides. You want to cook the pumpkin to medium–rare; retaining a raw core with the exterior yielding to the touch. Remove from the heat and put the pumpkin in a blender. Purée to a thick chunky consistency. Season with salt and apple cider vinegar to taste.

To make the smoked ricotta, combine all the ingredients in a large saucepan and season lightly with salt. Bring to a simmer and cook until it is completely curdled, about 45 minutes. Line a colander with muslin (cheesecloth), set it over a bowl and pour the liquid through to strain out the curds. Leave the curds in the colander overnight in the refrigerator to extract even more moisture.

Preheat a coal-bedded kettle barbecue to low heat and set up for indirect grilling using the top rack. Add half of the wood chips around the coals and cook until smoke appears (3–4 minutes). It is very important for cold smoking to have your coal base well established and glowing before adding the wood chips. Once smoking turn off the heat. Lay the cheese curds on smoking trays and cold smoke for 30 minutes.

To assemble the dish, cut the pressed veal neck into 110 g ( oz) portions and reheat in the glaze. Warm the pumpkin jam and place a large dollop onto each plate. Add 35 g ( oz) of the smoked ricotta. Place a portion of veal neck beside the jam. Add the marinated pumpkin ribbons on top and garnish with toasted pumpkin seeds.