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How Do I Choose the Best Veal Sauce?

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  • Written By: Allison Boelcke
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 17 July 2017
  • Copyright Protected:
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    Conjecture Corporation
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Veal refers to the meat that comes from a young cow, typically less than four months old. The meat is naturally tender, but also lean due to the low amount of fat in the calves. Veal is generally considered to have a light, mild flavor that can withstand a variety of sauces without having an overwhelming taste. When choosing a veal sauce, it is often recommended to choose one with strongly flavored ingredients that complement the veal’s delicate taste in order to prevent a bland dish.

If a rich veal sauce with a slightly sweet undertone is desired, choosing a Marsala wine sauce may be advised. Marsala is a type of fortified wine, which means another type of alcohol, such as brandy, is also added to the wine. Sauces containing Marsala wine are often made by using the same pan the veal has been sautéed in, and then cooking the leftover browned pieces in the pan with the wine. This process, known as deglazing, uses the wine to remove the leftover butter or oil the meat was cooked in, as well as any remaining veal pieces from the bottom of the pan, incorporating them into a sauce. For additional richness and flavor, heavy cream or sautéed mushrooms may also mixed into the sauce before being served atop the veal.

When choosing a lighter, tangier sauce for veal, the combination of white wine, citrus juice, and capers, is usually considered to pair well with the meat. Referred to as piccata sauce, it is typically prepared by using white wine to deglaze the pan the veal was cooked in. Fresh lemon juice and capers may be added to the sauce, along with butter, if a thicker texture is desired.

For those looking for an alcohol-free veal sauce, tomato-based sauces are generally recommended as pairing well with veal. A commonly used tomato sauce often consists of crushed tomatoes, along with garlic, Italian seasoning, or other preferred herbs or spices, simmered on a stovetop until it reaches a thick consistency. It may be spooned on top of veal, topped with grated Parmesan cheese or any other preferred Italian cheese, and baked until the cheese melts, to make veal Parmesan. Breaded veal cutlets tend to be used most often for making the dish. If a quicker version of the sauce is desired, veal recipes may allow for prepared marinara sauce as an acceptable substitute.

Prior to using any type of veal sauce, it is generally advised to prepare the meat by only browning the outside of the veal but not cooking it all the way through. Sautéing veal in oil for approximately one to two minutes on each side will give a golden coating but typically leave the meat slightly undercooked. Since the veal is often simmered for a short time with the sauce, the meat may become overcooked and tough if it is completely done when added to the hot sauce.

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