Well, my “soon to be famous” Veal Scallopini!
It is just that scrumptious! I was particularly surprised at the depth of flavour this Veal Scallopini gravy presented. I used my veal jus cubes which are like solid gold in the food world, and boy, they certainly pulled through for me on this recipe! Still plugging away at using all of the Minute Steak from last year’s beef in our freezer, working at creating novel delectable recipes so that it doesn’t seem like we are eating the same thing night after night – though technically, we are. Minute Steak (or Cube Steak in the USA) is absolutely delicious prepared the traditional Canadian prairie way: seasoned, floured and fried, then served with salad, vegetables and a milk gravy. However, for some reason, last year all of our packages of this cut was hidden in the freezer, and I discovered them when cleaning it out to make room for our new meat late last fall. Working my way through it, I have had quite a bit of fun. There have been a triumph or two. This is definitely one of them.
Served with whole fresh green beans, cauliflower and a colourful salad with the scalloped potatoes, the Sunday dinner presentation was much more appealing. I don’t just write about food. I cook it for us to eat, and though I work to photograph the food before it is eaten, often enough it is photographed afterward, as today: the beans and cauliflower found their way home with Ragan and the salad was devoured at the dinner. Therefore, I dressed up a plate for a simple little photo, but really want you to know that I do feed my family balanced meals! (It’s also why my posts don’t look like they popped out of a magazine. We eat this food!)
The Veal Scallopini may not be much to look at. After all, it is meat with mushroom gravy. We have all eaten meat with mushroom gravy more times than we care to count. Most often, it is not memorable. Tasty, yes. That’s why we make it for our families as often as we do, and we do, right? But, memorable? Not that much. Do you agree? This dish is memorable. It is all about the sauce.
Frying the Mushrooms
Over medium high heat, for about 30 minutes, turning often enough, the sliced mushrooms absorb the butter, expel their juices, and turn golden. As they do this, they become chewy and almost the texture of a dried mushroom, yet still juicy in the exterior. The flavour is very concentrated. I prefer a strong umami mushroom kick in a sauce for beef. But, if you prefer a bulkier bite, by all means, fry them how you like them. Your dish will still be tasty, it will just be different than this one.
They are then set aside. Above is an entire pound or 454 grams of mushrooms. They do cook down considerably.
Preparing the Veal Scallopini: in my case, the Minute Steak or Cube Steak
Of course Minute Steak is not Veal Scallopini. But, our beef is Alberta grass fed beef butchered at about 6 months, or even before that. So, though it is not milk fed veal, it is about as close as one can get to a baby cow. There is no force feeding the babies; they lived a very short, but happy life. This beef is tender – like butter – and must be tasted to have a frame of reference for the flavour and texture of this beef. Only in Alberta.
Scallopini is a very very thin cut of beef, usually veal. So, I deviated a bit, and pounded the heck out of my Minute Steak cutlet to get it paper thin. It took about 20 seconds per steak, but definitely cover it with parchment when you pound it or it will spray everywhere.
Dredging flour is seasoned, combined and each steak coated thoroughly with it before being placed carefully in the pan the mushrooms were cooked in, with added melted butter.
Golden perfection. These are paper thin, so very little time needed for cooking. If they were older beef, they would get tough if over cooked. Veal and this Nouveau beef can take a little longer cooking time, but it is not necessary.
Preparing the Veal Scallopini Mushroom Sauce
Once all steaks are fried and set aside, the sticky nuggets of beefy caramelized floury bits is de-glazed with red wine. Use a strong hard spatula to loosen all of the sticky bits from the bottom of the pan. Melt the veal jus cubes into the sauce, adding the garlic until the air is aromatic (about 30 seconds), then plop the mushrooms back into the pan and finish with the butter. Oh my. Season to taste. It will need considerable salt and freshly ground black pepper. You may also need a little of water to thin it out, depending upon your desired consistency. The “gravy” is a translucent glaze-like sauce more than a fatty gravy. I tried a little vinegar with a portion of it, and that brightened it up, as well, but opted not to add it in as Vanja would most definitely find that addition a bit too fancy-pants for his liking. It wasn’t necessary. It was just a lovely addition. And, this recipe is, as I said, already famous just as it is.
Putting it all Together
Over the scallopini went the sauce. Oh-oh-oh-OH! Not much to look at, but the aroma!
And the flavour! So far, no one has shared any of their Minute Steak recipes… have any of you ever made the veal jus cubes? I cannot express how divine they are. Yes, you have to be around the house a couple of days while making it in the fall. But it isn’t hard to make, or that time consuming, either. Just takes intermittent attention and actually doing it. It is so worth it. French Onion Soup. Boeuf Bourguignon… so many dishes that taste like I have slaved over them, like this one, but nope. Just added a little magic to the mix, and “Poof”: deliciousness before my very eyes!
Minute Steak Series:
- Chicken Fried Steak with Homemade Milk Gravy
- Crispy Ginger Beef
- Valerie’s Steak Pie
- Valerie’s Famous Veal Scallopini
Valerie’s Famous Veal Scallopini
With the beautiful Nouveau Beef we buy every year from our favourite farmer, I am able to make incredible "almost veal" scallopini with the most decadent and delicious gravy using homemade veal jus cubes. Definitely worth the effort! Valerie's Famous Veal Scallopini is a restaurant quality, absolutely scrumptious dish easy enough for a weeknight meal - impressive enough for company!
- 1 pound sliced or 500 grams sliced brown mushrooms
- ¼ cup butter
Ingredients for the Cutlets
- 6 veal cutlets , thinly sliced
- 1 cup flour
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon Vegeta
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ¼ cup butter
Ingredients for the Veal Gravy
- 1 cup red wine
- 4 veal stock cubes
- 1-2 large clove of garlic , minced
- ½ cup water
- ¼ cup or butter
Fry mushrooms over medium high heat in heavy skillet 20-30 minutes, turning every 8 minutes, until completely caramelized
Remove from pan; set aside
Do not clean pan; it will be used to fry cutlets
Instructions for the Cutlets
Combine flour, garlic powder, Vegeta, salt and pepper in dredging pan
Place each cutlet between plastic or parchment paper; pound with mallet until paper thin
Dredge each cutlet in seasoned flour; melt butter into pan used to fry mushrooms
Fry one or two cutlets at a time at medium high heat, two to three minutes per side, until golden (do not over cook)
Set aside cutlets; pan will be used to make the gravy
Instructions for the Veal Gravy
Preheat oven to 400 F; rack in middle
Keeping pan at medium high, deglaze with red wine scraping bits of bottom of pan until smooth
Melt frozen veal stock cubes into wine; add mushrooms back to pan
Stir continuously, adding water as needed to keep gravy at desired consistency
Just prior to service, melt butter into gravy; place cutlets into oven proof serving dish
Pour gravy over cutlets; place in oven to heat through for 5 minutes, until bubbly
The Veal Jus Cubes take time, but then you have them for at least a year with so much you can do with them; they are key to this recipe; however, you can cheat and likely get a nice family meal by adding a package of Knorr's Mushroom gravy mix or an International Veal Jus mix. That is kind of blasphemous, yet better than doing an unwrap and zap meal! Then, make the Veal Jus Cubes and note the difference. So healthy and good for you, flavour packed and completely made with real food.
A big eater will have 2, but one scallopini can be considered a serving
Valerie, it just occurred to me that you could use these lovely little steaks to make veal birds, which were a Canadian prairie Sunday dinner that I remember my grandmother making. They were something that I loved and used to ask her to make for me when we visited. Brendi
Valerie Lugonja says
Never heard of “Veal Bird”. Brendi! Fill me in!
I thought all prairie kids ate veal birds. They are a cutlet or minute steak, stuffed and rolled, dipped in egg, then seasoned flour, tied with string or held together with picks (depending on the family recipe), gently browned in butter then placed in a casserole dish and baked with a sauce made of heavy cream, pepper and fresh parsley. I managed to get my grandmother’s recipe, sort of, when I moved out of home and started cooking for myself. Grandma gave measurements that were colourful, to say the least, so I have recreated them using trial and error, experimenting and tweaking until I am satisfied with my memory matching the childhood taste as closely as possible. Here is the recipe but feel free to adjust it to your tastes.
6 minute steaks or very thin veal cutlets
1 cup bread chunks torn from a fresh loaf, about the size of a dime across the middle
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1 tablespoon fresh chopped parsley
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup raisins, soaked in 1/2 cup boiling water until plump, them drained but still moist
enough heavy cream to moisten the bread mixture
flour with salt and pepper added to taste, for dredging
butter for browning
the rest of the 1/2 pint container of heavy cream
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
Mix the bread, onions, raisins, salt and pepper, first bit of parsley and enough cream to moisten and divide it between the cutlets. Roll them very gently, tucking the filling inside as best as you can and fold the ends in to make little pockets. Using string, tie them and carefully dip them in the beaten egg then the seasoned flour and gently brown them. I use my heavy cast iron skillet for the browning. Transfer them to a casserole dish and pour the balance of the cream over them, then sprinkle on the parsley and bake them at 325F until the cream reduces and thickens, about 30 to 40 minutes.
I mix 1 tablespoon each wild rice and hard red wheat berries into 1 cup of converted rice and usually put that on to boil just before I start the browning so that the rice mix and the veal birds are done together, if that helps give you a better idea of the timing.
My grandmother used measurements like “a knob of butter the size of a large walnut” which is a generous tablespoon, “my little sugar scoop” which is 1/4 cup, so that we have learned to guess and figure out things. It is a good thing that we are all good cooks. Her sisters were a little bit more accurate, usually, but not always. My great aunt, who lived in San Bruno, which is just outside of San Fransisco, grew her own lemons, limes and oranges and used to tell us to use two for every one of hers. When I saw her citrus I could see why her lemon loaf was so much more lemony.
Have fun with recipe.
Ragan Rodgers says
This was AMAZING!! decadent and yet satisfied my need for healthy delicious meals! Sunday dinners are always so amazing. Thank you!
Valerie Lugonja says
Sunday dinners set the tone for the week and wrap up the last one. I love them. Wish dad would have bought into the idea while he was alive – but at that time, I couldn’t get either of them to come over on a regular basis!
I made this tonight and it was amazing! I didn’t have veal stock cubes so I used chicken broth (all I had). I made pesto/parm noodles with it and the gravy on it was sooo good! I’m sure my bf will be requesting this again in the near future! ????thx
Valerie Lugonja says
That definitely warms my heart! So happy happy to know that you enjoyed this dish as much as we do, and you will be making it again! yeah!
I ran into your recipe and having just purchased veal I wanted to try it out. Sounds and looks yummy!!
I have veal stock. How much should I use?. I promise I’ll make your veal cube stock another day. I also don’t have vegeta . What can I replace with?
Valerie Lugonja says
Hi C Sanchez
4 veal stock cubes are ice cube size and almost 2 ounces each, surprisingly! Four would be about 8 ounces of veal stock. Mine is very condensed so let taste be your guide. But, start with 8 ounces. I sure hope that helps.
Can’t wait to hear how it goes!