Paupiettes de Veau - a French classic


Parcels of Veal Escalopes filled with Pork and Herbs

You take an expensive cut of meat, and make it go further by giving it a relatively inexpensive filling - net result, a dish full of flavour to satisfy robust appetites.

Paupiettes seem to have gone out of fashion - why, I don't know when so many people love them - but they used to be part of the repertoire of most French families. Let's get them back on the menu!

Making the parcels is easy, though it is useful to have a spare pair of hands to tie them up. For this picture by Katerina Kalogeraki my neighbour, silversmith Sarah Jones, stepped in. Afterwards we all enjoyed them with a glass of chardonnay (even though I collected this particular recipe in Champagne) and that other great French favourite, a really creamy, smooth puree of potatoes.

Don't hold back on the parsley!

FOR 6 PEOPLE

6 thin veal escalopes

250 g (8 oz) minced pork salt and freshly ground black pepper enough pork back-fat, or streaky bacon to wrap up each of the parcels of veal and pork 2 cloves of garlic parsley 15 - 30g (1⁄2 - 1 oz) butter approximately 150 ml (5fl oz) water bouquet garni (parsley, thyme and bay)

string

Season the pork well, adding chopped garlic and plenty of chopped parsley. Lay each escalope flat. Put a spoonful of the pork mixture on each and roll up, tucking in the ends. Wrap each one in a piece of the fat to keep it moist during cooking and tie it up like a parcel with string.

Brown the parcels very well in the butter in a casserole into which they just fit. Pour away the excess fat before adding water and deglazing. It is easier to do this if you remove the veal to a plate, then replace it. Add the bouquet garni. Bring back just to the boil, cover and simmer very gently - too fast and the meat will toughen - for an hour or slightly longer.