THERE IS NO RECIPE for paupiettes de veau in Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking, but if there were, it would probably be this recipe, by her partner-in-crime Simone Beck, which the latter published in her own 1972 cookbook, Simca's Cuisine.
Right from the start, Simca's book became one of my favorites and I featured some of her recipes on my restaurants' menus. Her cooking is as delicate as the book's design and I'm sure that she's responsible for the light quality of many of the recipes in Mastering.
I don't make paupiettes de veau very often: veal prices are out of sight and if I go to the trouble of flattening a slice of pork, I'd rather make my famous crunchy wiener schnitzel with it (my two secrets: 1) dip scallops in seasoned flour, then egg, then breadcrumbs; and 2) deep-fry in fresh vegetable oil).
But here's Simone Beck's recipe for
Paupiettes de veau ou de porc à la tourangelle*
Recipe for Veal Paupiettes
(Small rolls of veal or pork stuffed with onions and cheese, in cream sauce)
For 6 (double the quantities for hearty appetites):
About 1/3 cup vegetable or peanut oil (80 ml)
About 5 medium-sized yellow onions (to make 2 cups, chopped)
6 veal or pork scallops, about 3 x 5 inches (7.5 x 12.5 cm), to be rolled
6 TB Dijon mustard
1 TB fresh oregano, minced (or 1 tsp, dried)
6 very thin slices imported Swiss cheese
4 TB butter
Bouquet garni of thyme, 1/2 bay leaf, oregano
1. WARM 2 or 3 tablespoons of the oil in a heavy-bottomed ovenproof skillet with a lid (large enough so paupiettes can cook in a single layer).
2. ADD the chopped onions, and cook them very gently, stirring occasionally, until they are tender and lightly colored (about 15 minutes). Remove them with a slotted spoon, set them aside, and season with salt and pepper. Do not clean the pan.
3. FLATTEN the veal or pork scallops between pieces of waxed paper [or plastic] with a mallet, a heavy bottle, the side of a cleaver, or a rolling pin, to make them as thin as possible. Sprinkle them with salt and pepper.
4. BRUSH each scallop with mustard and sprinkle lightly with oregano. Reserving 1 cup of onions for later, spread each scallop with a thin layer of onions and cover with a slice of cheese. Roll up the scallops into paupiettes and secure them with toothpicks or tie with string**. (It's easier to brown them if you use string.)
5. PREHEAT the oven to 350 F (180).
6. PUT THE paupiettes into the pan in which the onions were cooked, adding more oil if necessary, and brown them on all sides over moderate heat (about 15 minutes). Remove the meat to a plate and clean the skillet.
7. MELT the butter in the skillet, and add the meat, the remaining onions, and the bouquet garni. Cover with a piece of waxed paper***, put the lid on the skillet, and set it in the preheated oven. Cook 35 to 40 minutes for veal; about 45 minutes to 1 hour for pork, according to the tenderness of the meat. The meat will be done when it is easily pierced with a sharp knife.
Put the paupiettes on a warmed serving dish, discarding the strings or toothpicks. Spread the onions around the meat and keep the platter warm while making the sauce.
2 TB flour
1/4 to 1/3 cup heavy cream (60 to 120 ml)
Juice of 1 medium-sized lemon, strained
1 cup beef bouillon, fresh or canned (250 ml)
Salt, freshly ground black pepper
1. PUT the flour in a small saucepan and gradually stir in the cream to make a smooth paste. Stir in the strained juice of the lemon and set aside.
2. POUR the bouillon into the skillet in which the meat was cooked, and set over heat. Let boil half a minute, scraping the bottom to deglaze. Pour 4 or 5 TB of the bouillon into the flour mixture and mix well; then pour back into the skillet and simmer, stirring constantly, while the sauce thickens. Taste, and correct the seasoning.
Cover the paupiettes with the sauce and serve them sprinkled with chopped parsley.
Omit the mustard and replace the Swiss cheese with goat cheese.
Paupiettes de veau in the slow cooker?
Why bother? What takes a long time with paupiettes is the preparation and you can't skip that part, plus the sauce has to be made separately.
Those lucky French women!
If you were living in France, or even in Montreal or Québec City, you could stop by the butcher shop on your way home from work and pick up some nice pre-flattened and pre-trimmed scallops, along with some sausage meat ready to turn into stuffing, or you could buy pre-stuffed and tied paupiettes, ready to cook, or even some fully cooked and sauced paupiettes de veau, ready to reheat.
Then you could go next door and pick up some fresh noodles and a nice salad, and by the time you'd had your apéritif and appetizer, dinner would be ready!
* A la tourangelle means "from the Touraine", that beautiful region of France that is celebrated for its many châteaux.
** This is what they should look like after tying:
*** Nowadays we'd use foil or parchment paper
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