I found a cute little 3 pound rolled veal shoulder roast on special this week at the market, and I thought it might be fun to make something I've never cooked before. Now that I have a lot of nice homemade rolls it will be good to have a sliceable something to make a sandwich or two. A bit of research led me to believe that slow cooking with moisture was the way to go. This was a very lean piece of meat, and I wasn't confident that dry roasting would work.
There were not a lot of appealing recipes in my library or cursory net search. I quite liked one in Paula Wolfert's Slow Mediterranean Food, but was missing the primary ingredient-green olives. I decided to use her basic technique, and make up a different stuffing. The roast came in one of those little string bags, and was supposedly boned, butterflied and rolled. I probably should have expected that it would fall into 3 severed pieces when I took it from its bag.
Expected or not, that's just what happened. Nonetheless, I managed to spread the filling over the interior, and got it reassembled. I can't really tell you how it was done, and lucky for me there is no photographic record of the no-holds-barred roast wrangling episode. It was not an example of calm, organized kitchen technique, I can tell you. I emerged with a retied roast, nearly all the filling on the inside, except for a bit on my shoe, which I distributed to the cats. (Not that they deserved it, having observed my struggles with an all too familiar tolerant amusement. The reason that cats do not have eyebrows is that they would be raised so often that they would get facial cramp.)
In any event, this is what I spread inside the roast, where the bone had been hacked out by which ever student butcher used it for practice: I finely chopped up a bit of bacon, garlic, thyme, salt ,pepper, nutmeg and leftover cooked broccoli rabe, and spread it thinly over the inside of the roast. I then, ahem, reassembled the tiny beast, tying it up well. I rolled it in some flour, and browned it very well in my 5 quart dutch oven, along with a hulking big veal bone. I then added to the pan: chopped carrots, celery, thinly sliced onions, a tsp of tomato paste, a half cup of dry sherry, and a blop of sherry vinegar I brought it to a healthy simmer, and covered it with dampened crumpled parchment paper, then the pot lid, and popped it in the preheated 350F oven. It took about 2 hours to get nice and tender.
The roast rested for about 20 minutes, and then I ditched the veal bone and untied and sliced the roast as thinly and neatly as I could, under the circumstances. I thought it looked pretty good, considering it had been noodged into roast shape from 3 separate pieces and a bunch of filling. The sauce was delicious and thick and did not need to be cooked down at all, though I mashed it some to civilize it a bit. Veal bones do wonders for giving a sauce body and richness. I arranged some slices on a plate with the sauce, and served the rest of the sauce in a pitcher. The leftovers seem promising for sandwich innards.
My little roast was tender and juicy, if somewhat haphazard in shape, and had more character than I would have guessed. It does seem a good idea to use some fairly loud flavours with this kind of roast, as it has a great texture, but not a whole lot of taste on its own.