Tonight, I had something I haven’t had for over twenty five years.
I had the biggest, meatiest rosè veal chop that was so delicious I nearly wept.
For various reasons, I visited the Waterloo Cottage Farm Shop in Great Oxendon, Leicestershire and, having thoroughly inspected their delightful premises, I caught sight of several cuts of delicious looking meat in the display counter. ‘What’s that?’ I asked and was told that it was rosè veal.
The reason it has been so long since I ate veal is that I found the practice of crating calves for veal repugnant and never ate it again. The animals sourced for Waterloo Cottage Farm’s veal live outside with their mothers, eating a natural diet of grass, silage, cereals and roots and live a happy, healthy life until they are taken for slaughter.
I cooked the chop, which was on the bone, in a frying pan with a tiny bit of oil and black pepper on a medium heat and ate it with new potatoes and peas. The meat was so tender that my knife simply drifted through it and it was sweet and succulent to taste. I like meat very rare, so it was slightly pink in the middle, which made it even juicier. It was a heck of a chop and was actually slightly too much for me, but I couldn’t bear to leave a scrap of meat on my plate – perfect size for a chap though.
The downside was the cost; although it was undoubtedly a big chop, it cost £4.00, so would have to be a treat. But what a treat.
I’ve said this before and I will keep saying it over and over again. Good food costs money. Decently reared, properly fed, happy animals produce meat of a quality that has been forgotten. Good meat costs more but I reckon you don’t need as much to fill you up.
Eat less, eat better. Learn about meat and how to make the most of it; ask your butcher about different cuts. Find out who your local producers are and support them. Use farm shops. This is how the price of really good meat will come down a bit and you will be stimulating local economies and encouraging the high welfare and sustainable husbandry of old breeds. As an additional pleasure, many of these small farms encourage their customers to visit the animals which is a crucial part of learning to respect the food on our plates.
Try a bit of rosè veal and give yourself a treat.