My mother in law Mary lived a short and intense life. It was a tragedy when she passed away at 57 a short couple of years after I was married. Born in Czechoslovakia she came here as a young woman. Mary an accomplished cook, new how to make some very delicious dishes.
Mary’s famous stuffed breast of veal is my husband’s favorite dish for Passover. The butcher creates a pocket between the breast meat and the rib bones and sews it closed. I make a stuffing of vegetables and herbs with dried fruits and nuts. Some years I thicken the stuffing with matzo farfel or matzo meal, however this year I am trying to cut down on the carbohydrates so I changed the recipe a little and added only a little. My husband recalls his mom putting chicken meat in the stuffing. Maybe I will try that next year.
The mild flavored meat melts in your mouth. There is a crisp crust on the top and the cartilage becomes gelatinous. Food on Passover is usually limited in how many spices are included because of Kashrut questions, so cooks rely on fresh herbs and garlic to impart flavor to a dish. The cut of meat is a bit large and unwieldy but the results make a spectacular presentation. If you are having a big crowd, it is definitely a crowd pleaser. In spite of its appearance, remember there is relatively little meat on this big roast and a lot of bone.
3 cups chopped onions (about 2 large onions)
3-4 tablespoons olive oil
2 stalks celery, diced
½ of a large fennel bulb, diced
¾ cup parsley, chopped
¾ cup chopped cilantro
Freshly ground black pepper
¾ cup chopped prunes
¾ cup chopped pecans
½ cup of matzo meal
6 garlic cloves
¼ cup olive oil
One whole veal breast with pocket
1 onion quartered
4-6 large carrots, peeled
Preheat oven to 350º. Preheat a sauté pan, and then add the olive oil and the onions. Slowly sauté in the olive oil until they soften then add the celery and fennel. Season with salt and pepper. Cook for a few moments but do not brown. Place the sautéed vegetables in a large bowl. Heat the sauté pan again to very hot and add the mushrooms. Sear the mushrooms, season them, and then put them into the bowl with the other vegetables.
Add the chopped parsley and cilantro, pecans, prunes and stir to combine. Taste the mix and season with additional salt and pepper as necessary. Stir in the matzo meal and set the stuffing aside to cool.
Lay the onions and carrots in a large roasting pan. Place the stuffed roast on top of the vegetables. Pour in about 1 and ½ cup of water, just enough water to cover the bottom of the roasting pan only. Cover the roasting pan tightly with aluminum foil. Roast 2 hours covered. Remove cover and roast one more hour uncovered until the top is brown and crisp.
Let the roast cool for about 1 hour before you carve it. When it is very hot, it is hard to work with. Slice the veal, following the ribs. Each portion will contain a bone, stuffing, and some of crisp top.