A paupiette is a traditional French recipe: a thin slice of meat, stuffed with any kind of sweet or savory filling. This version uses veal, the delicate, tender flesh of young cows, but you could also use any other red meat. Some people have ethical objections to eating veal, but here it’s important to distinguish between grass-fed and factory farmed meat. Factory farmers raise their calves in tiny crates (if they were allowed to move around, their muscles would develop and the meat would change) and feed them an unnatural diet to preserve a pale white flesh. This is extremely cruel and unnatural, and some countries have even banned these veal crates.
Fortunately for meat-lovers, not all veal is produced this way. Humanely raised calves are available, and they’re a natural by-product of the dairy industry. Since cows have to be pregnant to produce milk, dairy farmers often end up with more male calves than they can use for breeding, and dairy cows are different breeds from beef cows, so they can’t raise them for slaughter. You could look at eating humanely raised veal as respecting the animals’ lives by making sure nothing is wasted (if they aren’t eaten as veal, the calves are usually shot).
It’s not easy to get ethically raised veal at a supermarket, but try your local farmers’ market or organic farm. Humanely raised meat won’t have the white color of traditional veal, but it should still be a little lighter than the deep red of beef.
To wrap the meat, I used a slice of pork belly, but thin slices of carrots would work, too. To keep the whole “package” together during cooking, you’ll also need some cooking strings. This recipe is a bit of a project, and takes some fancy fingerwork to prepare, but it’s not impossible. Try it on a weekend, when you have plenty of time to follow the instructions without rushing, and savor the final results.
Veal Paupiettes Recipe
- 1 lb. ground veal;
- 8 thin veal cutlets (or beef cutlets);
- 8 slices pork belly;
- 6 shallots;
- 2 oz. Crimini mushrooms;
- 4 tbsp. beef stock;
- 4 tbsp. fresh parsley, minced;
- 1 tbsp. ground nutmeg;
- 1 tbsp. white wine vinegar:
- 2 tbsp. Paleo cooking fat;
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste;
- Preheat your oven to 350 F.
- Cut 1 oz. of mushrooms and 4 shallots in small chunks.
- In a skillet, melt 1 tbsp. of the cooking fat over a medium heat.
- Cook the mushrooms and the shallots until soft and crispy (about 5 minutes). Add the white wine vinegar and 2 tbsp. of beef stock and cook for a few more minutes.
- Add the fresh parsley and the ground nutmeg, season to taste, and combine well.
- Empty the mixture from the skillet into a big bowl and let it cool down.
- Once cool enough, add the ground veal to the bowl and combine together.
- Fill each veal cutlet with an equal portion of the ground veal mixture and roll a slice of pork belly around it.
- Tie each cutlet together, to hold it closed.
- In the same skillet as before, on a medium high heat, cook each side of the paupiettes 4 to 5 minutes or until brown.
- Place all the paupiettes in a roasting pan and roast for 40 minutes in the preheated oven.
- While the veal is in the oven, thinly slice the remaining mushrooms and shallots.
- In the same skillet as before, add 1 tbsp. of cooking fat and cook the shallots until brown.
- Add the mushrooms, 2 tbsp. of beef stock and ½ cup of water. Season to taste with sea salt and pepper. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes and set aside.
- Once the paupiettes are ready, top with the shallots and mushrooms mixture, and sprinkle with fresh parsley to serve.