a freshly baked pie in a pan. Covered in dried fruit in a geometric pattern, it is in a ceramic dish.

The Good Housewife’s Jewell

To make a veale pie.
Let your Veale boyle a good while, and
when it is boyled, mince it by it selfe,
and the white, by it selfe, and season it with
salt and pepper, cinamon and ginger, and
suger, and cloues and mace, and you muste
haue prunes and raisons, dates & currantes
on the top.

I used a prefab pie crust. There. I said it. I used a prefab, came in a box, frozen crust, leftover from my Mom’s thanksgiving baking, and I won’t do it again. It was a false expediency and unpleasant to work with.
That aside, the rest of the pie was pretty lovely.

We scored a nice ceramic pie pan from a clearance rack, and a breast of veal from a confused vendor, and the rest of the goods we had in stock. (I had the thought of tracking how long my staples last, but because we are feeding so few, I don’t think it would help anyone.)

The breast of veal went into a pot of water which seethed for about 30 minutes on low.
After the pink of it faded and it stopped looking raw around the bones, I allowed it to cool while I prepared the pie crust.
I opted not to blind-bake this crust, though I normally would. To blind bake, prepare a crust, place it in the pan, and bake til brown. Sometimes weights such as beans (cannot be reused for anything else) or specially made ceramic balls are needed to keep the shell from blistering or pulling away from the pan.

While this was happening, my dried fruits, which are very very dry, were soaking up some wine. I sliced the dates the long way to ensure they had no pits, as well.

I received a lovely new mortar and pestle, which made much shorter work of my whole spices than anything prior. The shape of the pestle is very aggressive. I actually achieved fully powdered whole cloves for the first time!

Then I began to prepare the meat. I boned the breast of veal as best I could, and rather than putting the meat into a grinder, I took two knives and whacked it methodically til it was fully minced. This process took about 10 minutes, mostly because I took my time and was very careful.

Unfortunately, my veal had very little fat. It’s so hard to get, and so expensive, that there was no way to source veal fat without some serious gymnastics.
I had to get some form of binder, carrier, and moistener into the dish without use of the fat which naturally would have come with a more appropriate cut, and chose egg whites. Therefore this recipe is a more distant adaptation.

1 breast of veal, about 2.5 lbs w bones
2 egg whites
1 tsp cinnamon
6 cloves
3 leaves of mace
½ tsp ginger
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar

½ cup gewurtztraminer (or what is on hand)
6 prunes
6 dates
1TBS raisins
1 TBS currants

1 pie crust
Heat oven to 350*
Place dried fruit in wine. Set aside.
Roll the pie crust into the pan. Cover with a dampened linen towel or plastic wrap.

Place meat in poaching vessel, almost cover with water. Simmer, turning as needed, til it no longer shows evidence of having rawness.
Remove from heat, allow to cool. (return bones to liquid to make broth after boning meat out, for another dish)
When the meat is cool, mince it or grind it.

a ball of chopped meat in a bowl. It is about the size of a grapefruit. Being parcooked, it is an unappetising color.

parcooked meat, hand minced.

Measure spices, grind or crush if needed, place in a bowl.
Add the egg whites to the same bowl, and whip until the spices are evenly incorporated.

two bowls, one of fruit in wine, one of careful, measured piles of spices in a bowl.

dried fruit soaking, spices ground and measured

Fold the eggs into the meat until evenly incorporated.

Place the meat mixture into the pie crust, and decorate with the soaked dried fruits. Feel the fruits as you go for pits.

Bake at 350* until your meat thermometer gives a 140* reading.

We had this pie with the pear dish posted last week, which was a nice match. (Good Housewife’s Jewell has an iteration called To Preserve Wardens.)
It held overnight in the fridge very well, and reheated admirably.

two slices of pie on plates to be served, the remainder of the pie in the baking pan.

The pie was aromatic and lovely.

This is an excellent picnic dish.

The book calls for either breast of veal or mutton. About the only thing they have in common besides being ruminents is size, not texture, not flavor. I do plan to try the mutton variant some time.

(inspiration recipe in previous post)

 

veal which has been roasted, trimmed of fat, and cut to about 1.5 inch cube, ready to be cooked.

Cooled, cut, and ready to go

I had two chunks of veal breast, and only used one for last week’s post.

The other one was dinner tonight. This one called for verjus and pepper rather than mustard.

 

I cooked the onions rather longer, as I had more time to tend them, and added black pepper with the onions as well as with the meat. Next time, more black pepper. I used about two teaspoons of fresh-ground tellicherry peppercorns.

onions in a pan, cooked through

one of my favorite things

Salt went in with the onions, and verjus was used to deglaze the pan several times.
Instead of being earthy as the mustard iteration was, this was sharp and sweet. It was similar, of course, but different enough to stand alone.

Notes on verjus;

It’s the juice of unripe grapes. It can also be unripe other fruits, at need. I use pears for my home-made version.

It’s available as “sour grape juice’ through Middle Eastern markets.

Verjus is modernly prized as a way to add a grape-based acid to dishes without clashing with wine.

White balsamic vinegar is grape juice blended with white vinegar, and while similar in some respects, it’s different enough to not work as a good substitute.

Both versions are very pleasant, though different. I’ll make them again.

 

verjus being poured out of the wine bottle into the pan, by being poured over a spoon to prevent splashing

I used the spatula to prevent splashes. This verjus is quite mild.

Recipe:

  • One breast of veal
  • 2-4 medium onions,
  • 3 TBS olive oil to fry the onions in
  • 2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4-1/2 c verjus

Ratings;

As with the other version of this recipe,

 

+   It’s hard to mess this up.
–    It’s also plain ol’ meat, with no fillers or ways to stretch it.
–    Needs a large enough sautee area to get the crust, and a cook with a good sense of “crisp” versus “burning.”
-/+  Needs a fair lot of onions, which can be precooked in a crockpot. The onions need a lot of time.
++   Delicious, if you like that sort of thing!
 The difference is that this calls for verjus, a somewhat expensive ingredient, and has a sharper tone, which would pair differently with the other dishes in a given course.

Back to Martino. It wasn’t a conscious decision to get hung on this book, it just fits the bill for so much of what we eat in winter.

“The Art of Cooking; The First Modern Cookery Book’

“the eminent Maestro Martino of Como”

as translated by Jeremy Parzen.

 

 Tonight it was A Gallimaufry, page 120. And it was delicious.
Take a mutton breast, or veal breast, cooked, or even half-cooked, then take some finely chopped onions that have been fried slowly in rendered lard, then take the meat, and cut it into small pieces the size of walnuts; then add all these things together in the pan and fry with a bit of strong mustard or a good quantity of pepper and verjus.
 Take veal. OK, I had two breasts thereof in the freezer, right in front, begging not to get freezerburnt.
 Roast it til done, or even half done. Fun! I don’t spit roast, I have a modern oven, but high heat and some salt makes for a nice crusty roast with a juicy pink interior.
a knife beginning to separate meat from rib-bones of a well-roasted piece of meat

I did let it cool some.

 Cut the meat into chunks the size of walnuts. I trimmed fat at this point. Veal breast has fat in similar layout to streaky bacon, so it was fairly simple to trim.
 Sautee some onions til brown in lard. well… I used olive oil. Philosophy aside, I simply have preferences.
 Add mustard. Yup, I used commercial. I like Zatarains, you can use what you like or make a great one with minimal effort.
 Cook mustard and onions together, I added salt, then tossed in the meat and let it cook to completion.
cubes of meat sauteeing with onions and mustard in a shallow pan

It's almost there, just needs a little more sear.

 It got earthy and deep, rich and hearty. The crusty surface, the juices cooked in with the mustard and sweet onions, the whole package was top-notch. It got eaten before final photos could be taken.
 I plan to make it again in a night or two with the rest of the meat and the alternate instructions, which call for “pepper”. hmm.. might have to do batches with each of several peppers.
 Recipe:
1 breast of veal
2 TBS olive oil (it calls for lard)
2-4 medium onions
1/4-1/2 cup of prepared mustard
Salt, unless you roasted the veal in salt. Don’t overdo, the mustard has plenty of flavor.
Ratings;
+ It’s hard to mess this up.
-It’s also plain ol’ meat, with no fillers or ways to stretch it.
-Needs a large enough sautee area to get the crust, and a cook with a good sense of “crisp” versus “burning.”
-/+Needs a fair lot of onions, which can be precooked in a crockpot. The onions need a lot of time.
+ Minimal fuss or experience needed to make it come out well.
++Delicious, if you like that sort of thing!
I call it a winner, but quite expensive. Tough meats won’t work, but if you can find a deal on veal, it is worthwhile.
 Pork cushion would also be a good choice