This succulent veal breast from Cormac Mahoney is a show-stopper at any gathering.
One 5-pound, boneless trimmed veal breast
Freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped rosemary, plus 2 rosemary sprigs
Two 1-inch-thick slices of peasant bread
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing and drizzling
2 medium onions—1 thinly sliced, 1 sliced 1/2 inch thick
1 cup golden raisins
1 cup dry white wine
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon chopped thyme, plus 2 thyme sprigs
One 2-ounce can anchovies, drained and minced
Pinch of crushed red pepper
6 unpeeled garlic cloves
6 plum tomatoes, halved
1 pound gigante beans or large lima beans, soaked overnight and drained
2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Lay the veal on a work surface, fat side down. Season the meaty side with 1 tablespoon of salt, 2 teaspoons of black pepper and the chopped rosemary. Fold the veal in half, wrap in plastic and marinate overnight in the refrigerator.
Preheat the oven to 350°. Brush the bread with olive oil and bake for about 15 minutes, until crisp. Let the bread cool completely, then tear it into pieces and transfer to a food processor. Process the bread to coarse crumbs.
In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Add the thinly sliced onion and a pinch of salt, cover and cook over moderately low heat, stirring a few times, until soft, about 8 minutes. Add the raisins, wine and 1 tablespoon of the chopped thyme and boil over moderate heat until the liquid is reduced to 2 tablespoons, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the anchovies, crushed red pepper and bread crumbs; season with salt.
Preheat the oven to 300°. Lay the veal on a work surface, fat side down. Spoon the bread stuffing down the center of the meat and roll up the breast. Tie the veal at 1-inch intervals. Season with salt and black pepper.
Heat a roasting pan over 2 burners on moderate heat. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil and when the oil is hot, add the veal. Cook, turning, until browned all over, about 5 minutes. Add the thick onion slices, garlic cloves and thyme and rosemary sprigs to the roasting pan and turn the veal seam side down. Add 3 cups of water and bring to a simmer. Cover with foil and bake in the middle of the oven for about 2 hours and 30 minutes, until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the meat registers 185°.
Meanwhile, arrange the tomatoes on a rimmed baking sheet, cut sides up. Drizzle with oil, season with salt and pepper and sprinkle with the remaining 1 teaspoon of chopped thyme. Bake on the bottom rack of the oven for 1 hour, until soft.
Put the drained beans in a large pot and add enough water to cover by 2 inches. Bring to a boil and simmer over low heat, stirring, until tender, 1 hour. Add more water as needed to maintain the water level. About 10 minutes before the beans are done, add a large pinch of salt. Drain the beans, transfer to a bowl and drizzle with olive oil; keep covered.
When the veal is done, transfer it to a work surface and cover loosely with foil. Strain the pan juices and aromatics through a coarse strainer set over a medium saucepan. Press on the solids to extract as much liquid as possible. Skim the fat from the juices and boil over high heat until reduced to 2 cups, 20 minutes. Season the jus with salt and pepper.
Peel the roasted tomatoes and coarsely chop. Add the tomatoes to the beans with 1/2 cup of the veal jus. Add the parsley and lemon juice and season with salt and pepper.
Discard the strings from the veal, slice and transfer to plates. Spoon the beans alongside and drizzle with more oil. Pass the remaining jus at the table.
The cool climate in Austria tends to produce red wines with less ripe, opulent fruit notes than reds from warmer regions. They are excellent with lighter meats like veal. Look for a peppery Zweigelt or an earthy Blaufränkisch.