Alouettes sans Têtes

Small Veal ‘Birds’

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves



Appears in

French Country Kitchen

French Country Kitchen

By Geraldene Holt

Published 1987

  • About

In this dish thin escalopes of veal are made to resemble birds by wrapping them around a mint and lemon stuffing and cooking them in a wine sauce.


  • 8–10 escalopes of veal, Camembert size
  • salt, milled pepper
  • 55 g(2 oz) fresh white breadcrumbs
  • 100 g( oz) saucisson sec or salami
  • 2 tablespoons chopped mint and parsley
  • ½ lemon, finely grated zest and juice
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 115 g(4 oz) butter, melted
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 1 stick of celery, chopped
  • 1 carrot, sliced
  • 150 ml(¼ pt) dry white wine
  • a bay leaf
  • stock or water
  • sprigs of flat parsley to garnish


Beat each escalope until very thin, season lightly with salt and pepper and set aside while you make the stuffing.

Mix together the breadcrumbs, saucisson, mint, parsley, lemon zest and juice, eggs, half the butter and some salt and pepper.

Divide the stuffing between the escalopes. Then fold over the sides and roll up each ‘bird’ neatly. Secure with cotton string but do not pull it too tight.

Pour the remainder of the melted butter into a flameproof casserole large enough to hold the parcels in a single layer. Gently sauté the shallot, celery and carrot for a few minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer to a plate. Add the veal birds and cook until lightly browned. Pour in the wine, add the bay leaf and the vegetables and sufficient stock to come level with the meat. Season very lightly.

Cover and cook over low heat or in a moderate oven (Mark 4, 180°C, 350°F) for 30–40 minutes or until the meat is tender. Transfer the ‘birds’ to a hot serving dish and snip off the string. Boil the liquid to reduce by half then strain over the meat. If you wish, garnish the meat with flat parsley. Serve with noodles, rice or potatoes.