Stuffed Veal in a Pastry Case

I think a shiny golden pastry parcel of succulent meat is both delicious and beautiful, and very exciting when you cut through the crisp case to reveal the meat and perhaps a stuffing too. The best way to do it is to cook the meat in advance, (use boned lamb if you cannot get veal) cool it and then wrap pastry round and put in the oven again for as long as it takes to cook the pastry until it is golden brown. This stops the meat shrinking from the pastry which also will not be hard and overcooked. For this recipe you can use the cheaper breast of veal if you like, shoulder or loin. Ask the butcher to bone it but not to roll it. As it is done in stages, you must start this recipe well in advance, but the final cooking is completely simple and quick.

Ingredients

For the stuffing

  • 4–5 oz fresh white breadcrumbs (110–150 g)
  • about 1 oz butter (25 g)
  • a good handful of sage leaves – finely chopped
  • 3–4 oz grated cheese (75–110 g)
  • 3 cloves garlic – crushed
  • a very little milk
  • salt, black pepper

Other Ingredients

  • 2–3 lb piece of boneless veal (900 g–1.35 kg)
  • 2 cloves garlic – crushed
  • juice of ½ lemon
  • 12 oz – 1 lb packet puff pastry (more if you get a larger piece of meat) (350–450 g)
  • 1 egg yolk
  • olive oil
  • salt, pepper

Method

Make up the stuffing by roughly rubbing the butter into the breadcrumbs in a bowl and then stirring in the sage, the grated cheese and crushed garlic. Season with salt and pepper and stir in a little cold milk until the mixture just sticks together. Lay the piece of meat out and put the stuffing in the middle of it. Now roll the meat over the stuffing and tie it with string (skewers too if it helps) into as neat a parcel as you can. Do not worry about having a lot of string as you will remove it before wrapping the pastry round the joint. Mix together with a fork the lemon juice and about 2 tablespoons of olive oil, adding the crushed garlic, salt and pepper. Put the meat into a roasting pan and rub this mixture all over it. Cover with a cloth and leave at room temperature for several hours, or overnight, turning the joint in the oil and lemon mixture occasionally. Then remove the cloth and cook in the centre of the oven at Gas 4 (350°F/180°C) for about 30 minutes per pound, basting occasionally. Remove the joint from the pan. Drain excess fat from the pan but reserve any meat juices. Cool the meat down completely and then cut away the string. When the meat is cold roll out the pastry thinly to a size big enough to envelop the meat. Moisten the edges of the pastry and wrap it round the meat, cutting off the end bits so as not to make thick fold-overs. Place the roll in a baking tray with the joins underneath. Roll out the trimmings and decorate the parcel with leaves, etc. I enjoy this and have even decorated this joint with a pastry calf munching grass under a tree! If you do not want to cook it immediately, put it in the fridge. Otherwise, brush it with egg yolk and bake in the centre of a pre-heated oven Gas 6 (400°F/200°C) for 40–45 minutes. If it looks as if it is getting too brown put a piece of foil on top. I usually serve it with a creamy sauce made by mixing the reserved meat juices with a carton of single cream, salt and pepper to taste, and a very little lemon juice and heating it gently, taking care not to boil it.

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