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Veal comes from young calves aged 6 to 7 months. When the calf reaches the age of one year they are called a cow/bovine animal. The veal is then called beef. The colour of the meat has become darker and the structure and taste has also changed. Veal has light colour, a fine texture, a smooth taste and is more tender. Most veal is actually from male calves (from dairy cattle ) as the females are allowed to grow up and become dairy producing themselves.

Marsala wine is a fortified wine from Sicily. It’s commonly used for cooking to create rich caramelized sauces. There are two styles of Marsala to know for cooking and they are dry vs. sweet, but Marsala is so much more than a cooking wine! It can be made dry and fine enough for sipping, like Sherry or Madeira.Typically, the entry-level quality Marsala wines are best for cooking –a Euro 10 bottle will last you quite a while. Use a ‘Fine’ or ‘Superiore’ Marsala in either the Gold (oro) or Amber (ambra) styles. Some recipes call for Ruby (rubino) Marsala, but this is rare. The best substitute for Marsala wine is Madeira because of the similar taste profile. If you can’t find Madeira either, you might try simmering 1 part brandy with 2 parts white wine, brown sugar and a touch of salt.

I have used 2 very large veal chops and slice before serving to feed 4 but you could use 4 smaller chops and give one chop per person. You would obviously need to reduce the cooking time in the oven. I would suggest roasting for 10 minutes before checking. And remember it all depends on how you like your meat cooked. These are medium-rare to medium. If you prefer them more well cooked, then simply add a few more minutes to your oven cooking time.

Serves 4


2 veal chops, about 400 g / 15 oz each
2 bulbs of fennel
1 onion, diced
150 ml / 2/3 cup dry marsala
150 ml / 2/3 cup veal stock
2 tablespoons olive oil
20 g / 1 1/2 tablespoons butter, cold and in cubes
Salt and freshly ground black pepper


Preheat the oven to 180 C / 360 F
Clean the fennel and cut into 4 or 6 depending on their size
Heat the oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat
Sauté the fennel and onion for about 3 minutes
Place them in a large oven tray or dish
Season the veal chops
Brown the veal chops in the pan for about 3 minutes per side
Place them in the oven dish with the cooking juices
Roast for about 20 minutes, turning the chops halfway
Remove the dish from the oven and wrap the veal chops individually in aluminium foil to keep warm
Put the fennel on a plate and set aside
Place the dish on the stove top and add the marsala to deglaze
Allow to reduce by half on high heat
Add the veal stock, season to taste, and reduce by half once more
Add the cold cubes of butter while whisking
Return the fennel and meat to the pan
Heat for about 2 minutes
Cut the veal in slices and serve immediately with the sauce

Suggested wine pairing: a crozes-hermitage