What Is Stuffed Veal?

Christian Petersen

Stuffed veal is a dish made from the beef that comes from very young cows. It traditionally takes one of two forms, but others are possible. Stuffed breast of veal is the first type, and stuffed veal rolls are the other. Both types of stuffed veal dish can be stuffed with any number of ingredients, including vegetables, cheese, and herbs, limited only by the cook's imagination and the tastes of the diners.

Sliced prosciutto can be used to make stuffed veal.
Sliced prosciutto can be used to make stuffed veal.

Breast of veal is usually prepared for stuffing by removing the meat from the bone, which can be done either by a butcher or at home. The result is a single, relatively flat, rectangular piece of meat. Stuffing is placed on the veal breast, which is then rolled about the filling and usually secured with butcher's string. The stuffed breast of veal can then be cooked as desired. Common methods include roasting and braising, particularly in wine or in chicken or veal stock.

Stuffed veal rolls are made with veal cutlets.
Stuffed veal rolls are made with veal cutlets.

Stuffed veal rolls are also called veal birds, which can sometimes cause confusion. These are not a poultry dish at all but are made from veal. They are made in a similar fashion to stuffed breast of veal but use smaller, individual pieces of veal called cutlets. These can come from a number of places on the animal but are usually taken from the flank, shank, or breast. Each cutlet is stuffed and rolled individually and can be secured with butcher's string or a skewer. Cooking methods for this type of dish are similar to those for stuffed veal breast, but other methods such as sautéeing, are possible .

Fillings for stuffed veal dishes can vary widely, but certain themes predominate. Vegetables such as spinach, onions, and red peppers are commonly mixed with seasonings and garlic. A binder of breadcrumbs, with or without egg, is sometimes added to give the stuffing a firmer texture when cooked. Many other ingredients are possible as well, such as cheese, mushrooms, apricots or prosciutto ham. Herbs such as rosemary, parsley, thyme, and savory are also common.

While veal birds and stuffed breast of veal are the two most common ways to prepare stuffed veal, there are other cuts that can be stuffed as well. Veal brisket and veal chops, either bone-in or boneless, are two more examples. The possibilities for this type of dish are restricted only by the availability of veal cuts. Even stuffed veal burgers or veal meatballs are possible if all that is available is ground veal.

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