By now, you guys probably know about the great love affair I have with my butcher shop, McKinnon’s. When I go, I partly have a shopping list in mind, and I partly decide what to buy based on what looks good, what’s on sale, and what’s new or unusual. That last part is how I came home with a big veal flank the other day.
Now, I’ve made plenty of veal in my day, but have never encountered a whole veal flank before. And you know me: I just couldn’t resist. So this was an experiment. A happy, delicious experiment, as it turns out.
(Has anyone cooked one of these before? If you have, definitely pipe up and let me know what you did and how it came out!)
If you can’t find a veal flank like this, this recipe for whiskey cream broth is great on just about any kind of veal (or chicken, for that matter).
So what is a veal flank, anyway?
Good question. Let’s start with a picture.
Here’s my veal flank (you may see already why I couldn’t resist bringing it home…it’s big, it’s kind of a funny shape, it’s clearly folded under itself so you can’t see exactly how big it is…):
The top part looks very similar to a beef flank steak in size, shape, and long-grained texture.
When I flipped it over, I saw that the rib bones were still attached. I thought about trimming them off, but figured that I’d cook it the way I bought it. At least this first time.
There’s a separation between the meat and the ribs, which one of the ladies who works at the butcher advised me makes a fabulous pocket for stuffing.
The flank comes from the belly of the cow�and tends to be on the tougher side (think flank steak) because it’s a well exercised muscle. No problem, I reasoned. Low and slow cooking should be just the thing to tenderize it.
Rustic Veal Flank with Whiskey Cream Broth
Based on all this, I decided to braise the veal flank until it was fall-off-the-bone tender.
I finished it with The Angry Chef’s fabulous whiskey cream broth. It’s one of his signature sauces for veal dishes, and is a great way to conjure up restaurant-quality flavor at home.
Braised Veal Flank in Whiskey Cream Broth
1 whole veal flank, about 3 1/2 lbs
2 Tbls. olive oil
1/2 cup whiskey
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 Tbls butter, cut into thin slices
ground white pepper
1 tsp. garlic, minced
7 fresh sage leaves, cut into short ribbons
For the whiskey cream broth
Pan juices from braised veal flank
1/2 cup whiskey
3/4 cup heavy cream
7 sage leaves, cut into short ribbons
Serves about 4 for dinner
Rustic Veal Flank with Whiskey Cream Broth: Do a little prep
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Grab an ovenproof pan that’s large enough to hold your veal flank. Ideally, it should have a tight-fitting lid. If not, you can improvise one with aluminum foil.
Rustic Veal Flank with Whiskey Cream Broth: Sear the veal
Most good braises start with seared meat. Searing helps develop color and flavor. Sprinkle the veal with kosher salt.
Heat a pan on the stove over high heat for a minute or two. The veal flank was pretty big, so I used my double-burner grill pan.
Drizzle a little olive oil on the pan. Set your flank meaty side down on the pan to sear it.
When the bottom is browned and has started to develop a nice crust, flip it over. It probably won’t lie completely flat. That’s just fine. Sear what you can on the other side.
Rustic Veal Flank with Whiskey Cream Broth: Assemble the veal for braising
When both sides are seared, transfer the veal flank to your roasting pan. Put it in the pan meaty side up.
Pour 1/2 cup of whiskey over it.
Pour in the chicken stock.
Dot the top of the veal flank with butter.
Stack up 7 sage leaves.
Cut them into thin ribbons.
Sprinkle the veal flank with the sage ribbons.
Sprinkle with chopped garlic and white pepper.
Rustic Veal Flank with Whiskey Cream Broth: Into the oven!
Cover with a tight-fitting lid (or tightly seal with aluminum foil).
Pop the pan into your preheated oven. Braise like this at 350 degrees for about 2 hours, until the meat is fall-off-the-bone tender.
When it’s done, transfer the veal flank to a serving platter.
Tent with foil while you make the whiskey cream sauce.
Rustic Veal Flank with Whiskey Cream Broth: Make the whiskey cream
After you pull your veal flank out of the roasting pan, you’ll be left with all that lovely braising liquid.
Pour it into a medium-sized pot.
Set it over high heat and bring it up to a boil. While you wait, slice up the other 7 sage leaves just like you did before.
When it’s boiling, toss in the sage.
Lower the heat to medium. Pour in the whiskey.
And the cream.
Whisk to combine.
After a minute or two, it should come back up to a bubble. (If it doesn’t, raise the heat a little.) Simmer for a few minutes, whisking occasionally, to let the sauce come together and thicken a little.
Rustic Veal Flank with Whiskey Cream Broth: Serve and enjoy!
Like I said, this wound up being a fairly rustic dish. I whacked the veal flank in a few big pieces, cutting between the ribs, and served them on large plates, drizzled with whiskey cream broth.
Serve with large, crusty hunks of bread to sop up all that beautiful sauce.