Traditionally this is the time of year where the more luxurious parts of meat come to the table, so also veal. Although this is not so much the case for the Dutch households (Raclette is number one with a bullet in the Netherlands), for France and Italy veal is certainly a part of the Christmas menu!
Veal can be divided in Rose and White veal, but both coming from calves up to an age of 8 months. The difference between these types of meat is the diet of the calves and therefore the meat colour.
The history of the Dutch veal goes back into the 50’s, where after the second world war the dairy sector explosively expanded under governmental support.
This also resulted in a surplus of calves, after all a cow must have a calf every year in order to produce milk. In the region at heart of the Netherlands, the Veluwe, where Klaremelk is situated the idea arose to collect these surplus calves and to value them for meat production; the veal sector was born. Back in the days the calves where mainly fed with milk that wasn’t suited for human consumption, nowadays the diet of the calves comes from by-products from the cheese industry. Turning both “waste” products into a delicious and nutritious product, very sustainable!
- Chuck (i.e. lean beef steaks, minced meat)
- Rib (i.e. ribs)
- Short loin (i.e. T-bone steak, filet mignon)
- Sirloin (i.e. sirloin steak)
- Round ( Rump roast, round steak)
- Brisket/fore shank (i.e. Brisket, ground beef)
- Short plate/ flank (i.e. marbled beef steaks, tartar)
A part of meat that we must certainly not forget to mention and is unique for veal is the sweetbread. The sweetbread, or thymus, is an organ that can only be found in the chest cavity of young animals. By growing up this organ loses its function and shrinks. The sweetbread can be divided into two parts: the heart sweetbread, which is round and compact. And the throat sweetbread, which is elongated and has a much looser structure. The heart sweetbread in particular is seen as a real delicacy.
Certainly worth trying to prepare yourself:
- 1 lb sweetbreads
- 1 gallon cold water
- 1 cup distilled white vinegar
- 2 tablespoons salt
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- Accompaniment: chimichurri sauce
- 4 (12-inch) wooden skewers, soaked in warm water 1 hour
Rinse sweetbreads well, then transfer to a 6-quart pot and add water, vinegar, and salt. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat and simmer gently 10 minutes. Drain sweetbreads in a colander, then transfer to a bowl of ice and cold water to cool.
While sweetbreads are cooling, prepare grill for cooking over direct heat with medium-hot charcoal (moderately high heat for gas; see "Grilling Procedure").
Drain sweetbreads, then pat dry gently and separate into roughly 1 1/2-inch pieces (about 20) using your fingers. Toss sweetbread pieces with oil in a bowl, then thread onto skewers (about 5 pieces on each). Season with salt and pepper.
Grill sweetbreads on lightly oiled grill rack (covered only if using a gas grill), turning occasionally, until golden brown, 5 to 7 minutes total. Transfer to a platter and let stand, loosely covered with foil, 5 minutes