Classic Veal Madeira Dinner
After purchasing some nice-looking veal cutlets at the market, I thought about making a classic Veal Marsala for dinner. With the right ingredients, this is one very quick and easy meal to prepare that's usually a big success in our house, even with the kids.
The problem was I didn't have one important ingredient - Marsala wine.
Hard to believe I couldn't find any Marsala wine in the house, but I did find a bottle of Madeira, a fortified wine that comes from Portugal. There are different styles of Madeira, from a pale blond color to a deep tawny red and very dry to very sweet.
What is Madeira Wine?
Madeiras are usually drunk as aperitifs and dessert wines, depending on their dryness and sweetness, but I typically use them only for cooking. In my pantry, there were two bottles of Madeira. One was an inexpensive California version, and the other a more expensive Sandeman Fine Rich product from Madeira Portugal.
There is no comparison in taste between the two. The Madeira from Portugal is worth the extra bucks, but both will work for this recipe. If you are interested in learning more about the various tastes of Madeira wine, there is a good site called MadeiraWineGuide.
Another Important Ingredient
The other important ingredient in this dish is demi-glace, a richly concentrated brown stock that has been reduced to a glaze.
Also used to make classic chicken and veal Marsala, demi-glace is one of those ingredients that are hard to make at home because you have to start with pounds of beef and veal bones that have been roasted and then simmered for hours and hours in a huge pot. If you're not careful and you burn the stock while it's reducing, you might as well throw the whole batch out.
Not that I'm suggesting you don't try making it yourself. You can find a recipe for making demi-glace here. I've made it at home a few times, and it was an interesting experience, but I'd much rather use one of the commercial products you can find on the market today.
One I really like is Demi Glace Gold, and you may have heard me rave about it in some of my other recipes.
Can you make this recipe without the demi-glace?
Sure, I have a recipe for Chicken Marsala that excludes the demi-glace, and you can just substitute the Madeira for the Marsala and the veal for the chicken. The results are good but not the same as when you make it with real demi-glace.
And please avoid the fake stuff you can purchase in an envelope at the supermarket. That artificial alternative is just beef bouillon, salt, sugar, and a bunch of chemicals.
This addition was my wife's idea.
The kids wanted sautéed artichokes with their dinner, so my wife opened a can of artichoke hearts in water, rinsed them well in cold water, squeezed out the excess water, and sautéed them in olive oil and butter. We served the artichokes separately to the kids but added them to the sauce for us.
Only use jarred or canned artichoke hearts in water, not oil. You can't get the unpleasant flavor of the oil out of the artichoke.
Second, be sure to rinse the artichokes well before using. We have tried sautéing them without a good rinse, and you could still taste the preservatives in the water, and the kids wouldn't eat them. Fresh artichoke hearts are better yet, but a lot more work.
Chicken Marsala Perfected
Years ago, I wrote an ecookbook called Chicken Marsala Perfected. It's more than a recipe for chicken Marsala but a cooking lesson for pan-frying anything, just like a professional chef.
Chef Ricco gave me the recipe, which is filled with tips and techniques for making this classic dish as well as veal and steak Marsala, and gives you the technique for making dozens of pan sauces.
I've stopped selling the ecookbook and can find the recipe at Chicken Marsala Perfected.
Veal Madeira with Artichoke Hearts Recipe
- Have all your ingredients prepped before you begin to cook.
- Pre-heat your sauté pan.
- Dredge each cutlet in seasoned flour and shake off any excess.
- Add one-third of the oil & butter to the pan.
- Sauté 2 of the veal cutlets, one minute per side, remove, & reserve.
- Add another ⅓ tablespoon of butter and oil to the pan and sauté the next two veal cutlets; remove & reserve. And then do the same for the final two cutlets.
- Reduce heat to medium, add shallot, artichoke hearts, salt, and pepper, and cook for 1 or 2 minutes, stirring constantly so nothing burns.
- Remove the pan from the heat, add the Madeira wine, and reduce by half.
- Add demi-glace; reduce until the sauce coats the back of a spoon, taste & correct seasonings.
- Finish with a cold pat of butter. (mounting)
- Add the veal cutlets to the pan for 1 minute to reheat and serve.
Some of My Favorite Veal Recipes
- How to Make An Extraordinary Veal Francaise Recipe
- Veal Marsala Perfected
- How to Make Classic Italian Veal Saltimbocca
- Pan Roasted Veal Chops Recipe
- How to Prepare A Tasty Veal Osso Buco Recipe
- Veal Scallopini with Artichokes Recipe
- Veal Stew with Mushrooms Recipe
- How to Make Delicious Osso Buco With Beef Shanks