Veal Dubrovnik

This dish is inspired by a recipe called “Veal Escalops Dubronik Style” that I found in All Along the Danube, by Marina Polvay — someone who has managed to both present a food show called Cooking with Elegance and pen The Dracula Cookbook. Her veal recipe distinguishes itself by an unusual technique: after preparing a sort of mushroom risotto, Polvay purées it in a blender, mixes it with whipped cream and pipes it on top of veal cutlets. But even more interesting is the fact that nowhere else, in Croatian cookbooks or on the Internet, have I found any trace of this Veal Dubrovnik. Marina, if you ever read these lines, please enlighten us!

Anyway, this gave me an idea. Everybody knows about veal Milanese, Genoa cake, Wiener schnitzel, or paella Valenciana in Western Europe. The U.S. boast the Philly cheese steak sandwich, New York cheesecake, Chicago pizza, and Boston cream pie.

What does Eastern Europe have?

  • Chicken Kiev, a greasy mess that isn’t really from Kiev, or even Ukraine for that matter.
  • Hortobagy pancakes, a delicious dish that is unfortunately almost unheard of outside of Hungary.
  • Some preparations of “Prague this” and “Moscow that” that have never really made a name for themselves.

This is unfair, but you and I, my dear readers, can change this! Let’s spread the word that there’s a new dish from the Adriatic. Post adapted versions of the Veal Dubrovnik on recipe web sites. Whenever you eat in a Croatian restaurant, tell the owners you would like to see Veal Dubrovnik on the menu. Inform the Croatian National Tourist Board that their overview of local gastronomy is incomplete without a mention of Veal Dubrovnik!

My rendition of Veal Dubrovnik is a kind of elaborate tartare. It is best enjoyed with toasted bread or French fries. The osso bucco and the risotto cream can be prepared a day in advance. Have bottles of Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco sauce, olive oil and balsamic vinegar on hand to let your guests finish the tartare to their liking.

Veal osso bucco
Yields 4 servings (8 oz meat) + extra stock

1 3/4 lb veal shanks
salt
black pepper, ground
olive oil
3 oz celery, large dice
6 oz carrot, large dice
6 oz onion, large dice
1 garlic clove, minced
4 thyme sprigs
1 clove
8 oz white wine
1 qt veal stock

  • Season the shanks with salt and pepper, and sauté with olive oil in a pot over high heat until brown on both sides. Reserve.
  • In the same pot, sauté the celery, carrot, onion and garlic with a bit more olive oil until soft. Add the thyme, clove and white wine, and cook until reduced by half. Add the veal stock and enough water to cover the meat and vegetables and bring to a boil, then cover with a lid and cook in a 200 F oven for about 3 hours, until the meat is very tender. Let cool for 30 minutes.
  • Take the shanks out of the cooking liquid. Remove the bones, reserve the meat and bone marrow in a plastic container, cover with cooking liquid and refrigerate.
  • Pass the remaining cooking liquid through a chinois and reserve.

Risotto cream
Yields 4 servings

7 oz osso bucco liquid
1 1/2 oz olive oil
1/2 oz Arborio rice
1/8 oz dried porcini
leaves from 1 thyme sprig
black pepper, ground
salt
2 oz heavy cream

  • Reheat the osso bucco liquid and reserve.
  • Heat 1/3 of the olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat, add the rice and stir for 1 minute. Add 1/3 of the osso bucco liquid with the dried porcini, thyme, pepper and salt, and cook over medium heat until the liquid is fully absorbed, stirring constantly. Add another 1/3 of the liquid and simmer over low heat until fully absorbed, still stirring regularly. Remove from heat, cover with a lid and let rest for 10 minutes.
  • Transfer the risotto to a blender, add the heavy cream, the rest of the olive oil and the remaining osso bucco liquid, and process until smooth. Pass through a chinois, transfer to a plastic container and refrigerate.

Assembly
Yields 4 servings

16 oz veal tenderloin
4 oz chipollini onions, brunoise
2 oz butter
salt
6 oz cremini mushrooms, brunoise
black pepper, ground
2 oz parmesan
8 oz osso bucco meat and marrow with 1 tbsp liquid, room temperature
risotto cream, room temperature
4 egg yolks in half shells

  • Place the veal tenderloin in the freezer for about 30 minutes.
  • In a saucepan over medium heat, sauté the onions with half of the butter, season with salt and cook until golden brown but still slightly crunchy. Reserve.
  • In another saucepan over medium heat, sauté the mushrooms in the rest of the butter, season with salt and pepper, and cook  until the rendered liquid is fully reduced. Reserve.
  • Finely grate the parmesan and reserve.
  • Chop the veal tenderloin into a fine brunoise and transfer to a bowl. Shred the osso bucco meat and marrow between your fingers and add into the bowl with 1 tbsp of osso bucco liquid, and mix well. Arrange the plates as pictured, with the tartare on a bed of risotto cream, topped with an egg yolk and surrounded with the garnishes. The dish should be cool but not too cold.
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