Fricandeau of Veal (Entrée)

3½ to 4 hours


French cooks always prefer for this dish, which is a common one in their own country, that part of the fillet to which the fat or udder is attached;* but the flesh of the finer part of the neck or loin, raised clear from the bones, may be made to answer the purpose nearly or quite as well, and often much more conveniently, as the meat with us is not divided for sale as in France; and to purchase the entire fillet for the sake of the fricandeau would render it exceedingly expensive. Lay the veal flat upon a table or dresser, with the skin uppermost, and endeavour, with one stroke of an exceedingly sharp knife, to clear this off, and to leave the surface of the meat extremely smooth; next lard it thickly with small lardoons, as directed for a pheasant, and make one or two in-cisions in the underside with the point of a knife, that it may the better imbibe the flavour of the seasonings. Take a stewpan, of sufficient size to hold the fricandeau, and the proper quantity of vegetables compactly arranged, without much room being left round the meat Put into it a couple of large carrots, cut in thick slices, two onions of moderate size, two or three roots of parsley, three bay leaves, two small blades of mace, a branch or two of lemon thyme, and a little cayenne, or a saltspoonful of white peppercorns. Raise these high in the centre of the stewpan, so as to support the meat, and prevent its touching the gravy. Cover them with slices of very fat bacon, and place the fricandeau gently on them; then pour in as much good veal broth, or stock, as will nearly cover the vegetables without reaching to the veal. A calf’s foot, split in two, may with advantage be laid under them in the first instance. Stew the fricandeau very gently for upwards of three hours, or until it is found to be extremely tender when probed with a fine skewer or a larding-pin. Plenty of live embers must then be put on the lid of the stewpan for ten minutes or a quarter of an hour, to render the lardoons firm. Lift out the fricandeau and keep it hot; strain and reduce the gravy very quickly, after having skimmed off every particle of fat; glaze the veal, and serve it on a ragout of sorrel, cucumbers, or spinach. This, though rather an elaborate receipt, is the best we can offer to the reader for a dish, which is now almost as fashionable with us as it is common on the Continent. Some English cooks have a very summary method of preparing it; they merely lard and boil the veal until they can “cut it with a spoon,” then glaze and serve it with “brown gravy in the dish.” This may be very tolerable eating, but it will bear small resemblance to the French fricandeau.

* Called by them the noix.