With its mildly beefy flavor and very delicate texture, veal can stand up to a lot of interesting flavors – as long as they aren't too overpowering.
Michael prepares the veal by soaking it overnight in a brine that has some traditional ingredients – salt, onion, fennel seed, bay leaf and thyme – but he mixes it up a little bit by adding brown sugar and orange juice. The sugar and juice bring out the natural sweetness of the veal. Onions add their sweet pungency to the brining liquid, while fennel seed and peppercorns add another layer of spice. Once they’re brined, Michael grills the veal chops to give them a savory, charred, slightly smoky flavor.
- Play it cool. Make sure the brine is cold before submerging your meat. Warm or hot liquid will start to cook the outside of the meat and prevent you from getting a good crust later.
- The secret to perfect grill marks. Contrary to popular belief, you do not need to have your grill on full blast to get good grill marks. Especially with a larger chop or cut of meat, keep the grill on medium to medium hot. The marks should be brown – not black.
- Diamonds are a chop’s best friend. Giving your meat a 90-degree turn will give you square-shaped grill marks. To get those professional-looking diamond-shaped marks, turn the meat just 45 degrees.
These tools are the ones we find especially helpful when making this dish.
- Digital thermometer. For thick chops, use a digital thermometer to determine doneness without cutting into the meat. The internal temperature at the thickest part of each chop should reach 130°F to 140°F, depending on how rare or well done you like your meat. The meat will continue to cook after it is taken off the heat.
The list below includes all the equipment you’ll want to make this dish.
Small baking sheet
Large stock pot
Cutting board with paper towel
- 1 tablespoon fennel seed
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 sprig thyme
- 1 tablespoon peppercorns
- 2 cups salt
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 1 onion, chopped
- 6 cups water
- Ice cubes
- 2 cups orange juice
- 4 (10-12 oz) Veal Chop (loin with bone in), approximately 1 ½ thick
- Salt and pepper
Total Time: 45 minutes plus brining overnight
Active Time: 35 minutes
- Set a pot to medium heat. Toast fennel seeds, bay leaf and peppercorns. Add salt, brown sugar, onions and half of the water (3 cups) to the pot. Heat brine until sugar and salt dissolves.
- Add ice cubes to orange juice. Pour chilled OJ into the brine. Place veal chops in a large bowl. When the brine is completely cool, add veal chops to brine and let it sit in the refrigerator overnight.
- Remove veal chops from the refrigerator and take out of brine. Rinse the veal chops and place on rack. Dry with paper towels.
- Heat oven to 400°F.
- Place meat on a rack or plate and season with pepper
- Heat a grill pan over medium heat. Brush the grill pan lightly with oil. Drizzle a little oil on grill pan. Grill the chops for a minute or two to establish grill marks and then place the grill pan in the oven until deep grill marks appear. Once grill marks appear, open oven and turn the chops by approximately 45 degrees. Cook for another 4 to 6 minutes. Turn over the chop and cook another 2-3 minutes, open oven and rotate the chops by 45 degrees halfway through. “Grill” again in the oven for another 2 to 3 minutes.
- Once the second side has grill marks, if the chop has not reached an internal temperature of 130 to 140ºF continue grilling in oven to finish the cooking for about 3 to 8 minutes depending on the thickness of the chops.
- Remove the chops from the grill pan and let rest on a rack for 5 to 10 minutes.
- Cut veal chop on paper towel on top of cutting board.
Veal chops with baked apples & roasted celery root
For a homey meal, serve the veal chop with baked apples, roasted celery root and onions. Feeling adventurous? Season the apples with Chinese five spice.