Rose veal burgers

I am a big fan of veal as a meat, not the vile, pallid, happily now illegal, crated veal of the past, I am talking about modern Rose Veal.

Male calves are a side effect of the dairy industry and they have long been either exported to Europe or killed at birth and dumped or sold off for pet food. However, in Britain nowadays, more and more dairy farmers are raising male dairy calves as a meat animal, giving an alternative to the wasteful process of killing the calves at birth.

These calves are fed a milk, high protein feed and, in the case of outdoor-reared calves grass diet, giving the meat a rosy pink colour. They are slaughtered at around six to eight months, around the same age as meat lambs.

Anyway, the meat is excellent and we should be eating more veal than we do. If we are happy to eat meat and consume dairy produce, there is no reason to boycott British Rose Veal.

I had some veal mince and I made burgers with it, seasoning the meat with salt, pepper, chopped lemon zest and chopped dill, binding it with some breadcrumbs and making patties which I chilled in the fridge for a couple of hours.

I served the burgers on grilled Richard Bertinet Proven├žal olive bread (now available in my local bakers), with a tomato, olive oil and garlic dressing (chopped tomatoes, crushed garlic and a splash of red wine vinegar warmed through in extra virgin olive oil), a grilled field tomato and a salad of lettuce, cucumber and more tomato. I dressed the salad with M&S burger mayonnaise, an orange-coloured squeezy gloop that tastes OK with burgers.

We drank a nice red with this, a bottle of 2005 Domaine du Grand Bouqueteau, an AOC Chinon, pure Cabernet Franc and very nice and a good example of a Chinon wine with some age behind it. There was enough depth and fruit there to make it a good wine with food, but still fine enough to work well with veal, which is a delicate meat.


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