When I saw that our butcher had put out a spread of thick veal rib chops a few days ago, I couldn’t resist. I can usually only find these around the holidays. These rib chops are caramelized on both sides with shallots and butter, and then simmered in a shallow bath of white wine infused with garlic and fresh thyme—a technique that ensures that this thick cut will have a ton of flavor, and still stay juicy, moist, and tender. The end result is meat that’s flecked with bits of jammy shallot, thyme, and garlic and coated in a fragrant reduction that’s been enriched with sumptuous melted veal fat. This dish makes a festive and impressive meal. It’s a perfect thing for an intimate Christmas or New Year’s Eve dinner for two. Serve with mashed potatoes spiked with plenty of butter and cream and asparagus that’s been sauteed in butter and sprinkled with toasted pine nuts.
Holiday Veal Rib Chops with Caramelized Shallot Reduction: A note on ingredients
Since veal has a more delicate flavor than beef, I paired my rib chops with shallot instead of onion, which has a stronger flavor. For the white wine, use any kind that you like to drink. It doesn’t have to be expensive, but the wine’s flavor will only concentrate as it cooks, so it’s important you start with something you like.
Holiday Veal Rib Chops with Caramelized Shallot Reduction: A note on selecting veal rib chops
Veal rib chops are usually about an inch to an inch-and-a-half thick, and—true to their name—have the rib bone attached. If you can find it, look for milk-fed veal, as it will have the sweetest flavor. For more information on how to select cuts of veal, legendary New York City butcher Lobel’s has some pretty thorough advice (including what to avoid when shopping).
Holiday Veal Rib Chops with Caramelized Shallot Reduction
2 milk-fed veal rib chops, about 1 lb. each 1 shallot, minced kosher salt 2 cloves garlic, mashed 1 Tbls. fresh thyme 3/4 cup white wine Serves 2 as a main course You’ll want to make these in a large, heavy-bottomed frying pan. Your pan should be big enough that you can fit both rib chops in without them touching. If you’re making a double recipe for four, you might want to use two pans.
Holiday Veal Rib Chops with Caramelized Shallot Reduction: Cook the shallots in butter
Put the butter in the pan over low heat to melt it.
While the butter’s melting, peel and mince up your shallot.
Swirl the butter around in the pan to coat the bottom.
Toss in the minced shallot.
Give it a stir to coat the shallot in butter and distribute it evenly around the pan. Turn the heat up to medium.
Cook the shallot over medium heat for a few minutes until it just starts to brown. If it starts to burn, turn your heat down.
In the meantime, grab your rib chops from the fridge. Unwrap them, and sprinkle them with a little kosher salt on both sides.
When your shallot just starts to brown, it should look about like this:
Holiday Veal Rib Chops with Caramelized Shallot Reduction: Add the veal rib chops to the pan
Add your rib chops to the pan right on top of the shallots.
Make sure that they don’t touch. You want them to brown at this point. If you crowd them together, they’ll kind of steam instead.
As they cook, some of the veal’s fat will melt off into the pan, which gives your sauce extra fabulous flavor.
Raise the heat a little to medium-high. Let the rib chops cook, untouched, for 8-10 minutes, depending on how thick they are. Mine were about an inch-and-a-half thick, and I cooked them for about 10 minutes on each side. If they start to burn or smoke, turn your heat down.
Holiday Veal Rib Chops with Caramelized Shallot Reduction: Flip your chops
After about 10 minutes, your rib chops should be nicely browned on the bottom. Flip them over with tongs.
Let them cook like this, untouched, for another 8-10 minutes over medium-high heat. Again, if they start to burn or smoke, turn your heat down.
Holiday Veal Rib Chops with Caramelized Shallot Reduction: Prep your garlic and thyme
While your meat is cooking, mash up your garlic and measure out your thyme leaves.
Holiday Veal Rib Chops with Caramelized Shallot Reduction: Deglaze your pan
After your rib chops have cooked on the second side for about 10 minutes, remove them from the pan and put them on a plate. While both sides should look cooked at this point, your rib chops won’t be done in the middle. (Note that the strip of meat down the center of the rib bone is most likely still pink.) That’s why you’re going to simmer them for another 10 minutes. Set the plate aside for a minute.
The bottom of your pan should be coated with beautiful, caramelized goodness, like this:
With the heat on medium-high, add the wine to deglaze the pan. Watch your hands and face, as the pan will let off an impressive amount of steam when you pour it in.
Scrape at the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to loosen up all the browned bits. Toss in the garlic and thyme.
Stir to combine well with the wine. At this point, your kitchen should smell amazing.
Holiday Veal Rib Chops with Caramelized Shallot Reduction: Simmer the rib chops
Add the rib chops back to the pan.
Cover your pan with a tight-fitting lid. Turn the heat down to medium. Simmer like this for about 10 minutes.
After about 10 minutes, uncover your pan. Turn the heat up to medium-high to start to reduce some of the liquid for your sauce.
Now at this point, your rib chops should be completely cooked. If you’re unsure, cut a little nick into one and take a peek. The inside should be completely opaque and white (not pink) in color.
After a minute or two, remove the rib chops to their serving plates.
Depending on how much juice you have in the pan, you might want to raise the heat to high and whisk it a little to reduce it further.
Top your rib chops with a few spoonfuls of the reduced sauce. Serve and enjoy!