Brined Breast of Veal

This is another of Bill Hughes’s superb veal dishes. Start this recipe a day ahead.


  • 1 boned veal breast
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and slivered
  • 2 tablespoons ( cup) mustard seeds, crushed
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground cloves
  • 1 tablespoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 quart water unbleached (all-purpose) flour for dusting
  • 2 tablespoons ( cup) peanut oil gingersnaps, crushed (optional)


Trim the breast of fat and sliver skin. Poke holes in the meat and insert slivers of garlic at 2-inch intervals. Place the veal in a nonreactive container and sprinkle with the spices and chopped vegetables. Cover the veal with vinegar and water. Marinate for 24 hours, turning the meat to ensure an even distribution of flavor.

Preheat the oven to 325°. Remove the meat from the marinade, reserving the marinade. Dry the meat, dust it with flour, and brown it in a large heavy pan on all sides in oil over medium heat. Place the meat in a roasting pan and pour in the marinade. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and braise in the oven for 2 hours.

Remove the meat to a serving platter. Check the thickness of the sauce. If it is too thin, thicken it by reducing it in a saucepan on top of the stove. A few crushed gingersnaps whisked into the sauce make a wonderful thickener. Pour the sauce over the meat before serving.