Bombarded Veal

This is a very grand dish for a lordly table. Mrs Glasse gives it without comment on the number of ingredients or the care and time needed to prepare it; nor does she mention, as she sometimes does, the cost. It is, however, the best sort of high cooking; the forcemeats are not overspiced, the various consistencies and flavours complement each other and the dish is extremely ornamental and very easy to serve. I quote her recipe and then give a simplified version which I make myself and which I can promise is worth the not very great trouble it involves. I have omitted the larding of the veal with lemon peel, which is not necessary, but may be done with a larding needle, if liked, and have also omitted the boiled forcemeat.

1747, Mrs Glasse:

‘You must get a fillet of veal, cut out of it five lean pieces as thick as your hand, round them up a little, then lard them very thick on the round side with little narrow thin pieces of bacon and lard five sheeps’ tongues (being first boiled and skinned) lard them here and there with very little bits of lemon peel, and make well-seasoned forcemeat of veal, bacon, ham, beef suet and an anchovy beat well; make another tender forcemeat of veal, beef suet parsley thyme sweet marjoram winter savory and green onions. Season it well with pepper salt and mace; beat it well, make a round ball of the other forcemeat and stuff in the middle of this, roll it up in a veal caul and bake it; what is left tie up like a Bologna sausage and boil it but first rub the caul with the yolk of an egg. Put the larded veal into a stewpan with some good gravy and when it is [cooked] enough skim off all the fat, put in some truffles and morels and some mushrooms. Your forcemeat being baked enough lay it in the middle, the veal round it and the tongues fried and laid between the boil’d forcemeat cut into slices and fried and throw all over [i.e. scatter the pieces of fried forcemeat over the whole dish]. Pour on them the sauce [in which the veal cooked]. You may add artichoke bottoms, sweetbreads and cockscombs if you please. Garnish with lemon.’

1969, Mrs Ayrton

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  • lb. ( k.) fillet of veal, cut in 10 fairly thick fillets
  • 2 pints (12 dl.) very good stock, chicken, veal or beef, which has had all fat removed and which is well seasoned
  • 2 small tins of tongue or one larger
  • 4 rashers bacon
  • 6 oz. (180 g.) white crumbs
  • ¼ lb. (120 g.) cooked ham, lean
  • ½ lb. (240 g.) mushrooms
  • tin artichoke hearts or three large fresh artichokes, of which you will only use the bottoms
  • 2 tablespoons parsley, 1 teaspoon thyme, 1 teaspoon marjoram (fresh if possible)
  • 2 lemons
  • ¼ lb. (120 g.) suet
  • small packet frozen chopped spinach
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon mace
  • seasoning
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and finely chopped


Prepare your stock the day before.

Open the tins of tongue and cut the solid meaty part into six thick portions, three from each tin, uncurling the tongue and cutting longways. Chop up the roots of the tongues and the jelly and put into a basin, adding half the crumbs. Mince two fillets of veal with the bacon and ham and add this with half the suet; season and stir well, adding the mace and plenty of pepper. Bind with two egg yolks. This is the pink forcemeat.

In another bowl put the rest of the crumbs and suet and add all the herbs finely chopped, and the onion cut very fine. Lastly stir in the defrosted spinach. One egg yolk will be enough to bind. This is the green forcemeat.

Make the first forcemeat into a ball and work the second round it. Press into a well-buttered round casserole and bake for 1 hour, covered. Lightly sauté the mushrooms cut into large slices. Cook and prepare the artichokes, cutting each large flat fond into 4, or open the can, drain, and heat gently in butter. Keep all warm.

Half an hour before forcemeat will be ready, dip the remaining 8 fillets of veal in seasoned flour, place them in warm but not yet boiling stock, which should be deliciously seasoned and ready for the table. Poach the veal lightly in a wide saucepan for 25 minutes or until tender. Just before it will be ready, take up the forcemeat and turn it out of the casserole; carefully cut it in two and lay the halves in the centre of a large flat dish so that the contrasting green and pink of the forcemeats are displayed. Lift the fillets of veal and lay round it, with the slices of tongue between. Pour some of the stock over the veal and tongue but not over the forcemeat. Put mushrooms and artichokes around the edge of the dish or between the meat and the forcemeat. Cover closely with foil and return finished dish to the oven. If temperature is not more than 200° F., gas mark ½, it will keep hot perfectly for at least half an hour while you collect your guests at the table and eat your first course. Have some quarters of lemon ready to put round the dish when you take it in, and serve the rest of the gravy separately.