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Sustainable Veal?

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Veal can be such a controversial meat that even people who are otherwise omnivorous won’t eat it. But I've noticed that humanely raised veal has become easier to find than beef or even pork. It looks like writer Jane Black has seen the same thing: She did an extensive article about veal in today's Washington Post. She writes about the “free-raised” line of veal from Strauss, which we tried here several months back; we include its luxe Meadow Reserve version sold at Allen Brothers in our upcoming December issue. Thanks to raising calves on pasture where their diet is a blend of grass and their mothers' milk, this veal is rosy and deeply flavorful—a far cry from the anemic-looking meat (a result of raising calves in crates) that could make even a foie gras eater rally. Strauss is working to distribute the meat nationwide, and it's already available at many Whole Foods stores. This weekend, I was thrilled to find Strauss veal in my local Gristedes. I bought a shoulder chop and braised it in a lemon zest and bay leaf–infused chicken stock, then finished the sauce with a little cream. It was delicious, but the meat was more mild in flavor than I remembered. Then I realized that the packaging said “group-raised,” meaning these calves are not raised outside but are still able to walk around and be with other animals. It’s not ideal, but I’m happy that Strauss, a huge player in the veal industry, is moving in the right direction. Here, F&W's best veal recipes.

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Congratulations to Nicholas Elmi, winner of Top Chef: New Orleans, the 11th season of Bravo's Emmy-Award winning, hit reality series.

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