Boiled Knuckle of Veal

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


Appears in

Shaun Hill's Cookery Book

Shaun Hill's Cookery Book

By Shaun Hill

Published 1990

  • About

Veal is dull meat most famous as a vehicle for fried breadcrumbs in Wiener Schnitzel. Knuckle is the calf equivalent of beef shin. It is much more tender than shin but still quite gelatinous, and is excellent boiled or braised. Aside from its offal, this is my favourite cut of veal.

It is not an ideal restaurant dish. The meat takes too long to cook. We have to adapt it by making the stock separately and then poaching very tender cuts, like loin, a portion at a time. The mechanics of restaurant kitchen cooking, where a party of six people are liable to order different dishes at each course and expect to sit down to eat 10 minutes later, mean that each menu item must be dismantled like Lego into component jobs that can be done in advance and brought together swiftly as ordered. You need to be able to cook meat or fish in io or 15 minutes so only prime cuts are really appropriate.

Good dishes like this or a spring lamb stew are better made at home than in a restaurant. At home you are wise enough to offer no choice and decide what time dinner will be served. Actually there are no conjuring tricks to restaurant cooking, merely the facility which comes of doing the job regularly. Behind the scenes, in my experience, is regularly like Fawlty Towers and occasionally Bates Motel.


  • 1 knuckle of veal
  • 1 calf’s foot
  • 2 large carrots, peeled
  • 1 lb (450 g) potatoes, peeled
  • 1 lb (450 g) small onions or shallots, peeled
  • ½ Savoy cabbage, cut into largish cubes
  • 4 oz (100 g) piece of streaky bacon
  • a sprig of fresh thyme
  • ground black pepper


  1. Find a pot or casserole that is large enough to hold the veal knuckle. In it heat just enough water to cover the joint. You will not need any salt.
  2. Split the calf s foot lengthwise and add it to the pot.
  3. When the water comes to the boil, put in the veal knuckle, fit a lid and let the veal simmer for an hour.
  4. Add all the vegetables, except the cabbage, plus the piece of bacon. Continue cooking.
  5. After 20 minutes add the cabbage. The objective is that all the ingredients finish cooking simultaneously. Add the sprig of thyme and some black pepper.
  6. About 10 minutes later check that all the vegetables are cooked and, provided that they indeed are, lift them out of the stock, along with the meat.

To Complete

  • Carve the meat into slices and place it with the vegetables in four large soup dishes. Ladle some cooking stock into each bowl. Serve mustard or horseradish separately.