Braised Veal Stuffed with Green Olives

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


Appears in

The Slow Mediterranean Kitchen

By Paula Wolfert

Published 2003

  • About

A lean veal roast can be cooked by dry heat in an oven or by moist heat in a closed pot. I much prefer the latter method, especially for a shoulder cut from a mature animal. Such a cut requires careful seasoning, moist heat, and slow cooking to transform it into something special.

Mild veal is a great flavor absorber and here takes on the tastes of sherry, cinnamon, and other seasonings. I add a bed of vegetables and a veal bone to the pot to create a full-flavored base sauce. A garnish of Spanish olives flavored with more sherry and sherry wine vinegar provides a final fillip.


  • 1 boned and butterflied veal shoulder roast (about 3 pounds)
  • ½ cup green olives, rinsed, drained, pitted, and thinly sliced lengthwise
  • 2 ounces thickly sliced pancetta, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed with a good pinch of salt
  • ½ teaspoon minced fresh thyme
  • Pinch of Freshly grated nutmeg
  • Pinch of ground Ceylon cinnamon
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • Flour, for dusting
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ pound meaty veal bones, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 2 carrots, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 2 onions, thickly sliced
  • 1 celery rib, cut into 1-inch slices
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon tomato paste
  • ¼ cup medium or dry sherry
  • ¼ cup aged sherry wine vinegar
  • Pinch of cayenne
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley


    1. About 3 hours before serving, bring the veal to room temperature. Remove any netting or string from around the veal and set it on a work surface, boned side up. Put half the olives in a bowl. Add the pancetta, garlic, thyme, nutmeg, cinnamon, 1 teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper to the olives and mash to a coarse paste. Spread the olive paste over the meat, leaving a 1-inch border. Roll up the roast and tie it with kitchen string at 1-inch intervals. Pat dry
    2. Dust the veal with flour, tapping off any excess. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet. Add the veal roast and bones and cook over moderately high heat, turning, until browned all over, about 10 minutes.
    3. In a large enameled cast-iron casserole, combine the carrots, onions, celery, bay leaf, and tomato paste and spread to make an even layer. Transfer the veal roast and bones to the casserole and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
    4. Return the skillet to moderate heat. Pour in the sherry and sherry wine vinegar and scrape up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Add ⅓ cup water and bring to a boñ, then pour around the veal. (Set the skillet aside to use in Step 5.) Place a sheet of crumpled wet parchment directly over the veal in the casserole. Cover with a lid and cook the roast over low heat for 1¾ hours, or until an instant-read thermometer registers between 145° and 150°F. Snip the strings and cook, covered, for 5 more minutes. Transfer the veal to a carving board and let it rest for 15 minutes before slicing.
    5. Meanwhile, strain the contents of the casserole directly into the skillet, pressing hard on the vegetables to extract as much liquid as possible. Boil over high heat until reduced to about ⅔ cup, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the remaining olives, the cayenne, and the butter to the pan juices and swirl until the sauce thickens. Correct the seasoning with salt and pepper, and if necessary a dash of vinegar. Remove the skillet from the heat. Cut the veal into thin slices, discarding the cut string as you slice. Arrange the meat in overlapping slices on a warm serving platter. Spoon a little of the sauce with olives over each slice. Garnish with chopped parsley and serve.