Veal chop with creamed morels and tarragon

Serves 4


The morel season is now in full swing, but be prepared to pay high prices for the little honeycombed fungi – about £4.50-£5 for 100g depending where you buy them. In London, Comptoir Gascon in Clerkenwell, Rivington Deli in Shoreditch, Harvey Nichols and Carluccio's sell them. Dried morels are fine for soups and sauces like this but have limited use elsewhere. They have a really intense flavour and need cooking in a liquid like cream or stock for some time. Buy good quality and soak them for 24 hours in water, then halve them and wash to get the grit out.

4 veal chops weighing about 300g each or pork chops if you prefer
2 large shallots, peeled and finely chopped
1 small clove of garlic, peeled and crushed
A good knob of butter
1tbsp Madeira
150g fresh morels, halved, washed and dried on some kitchen paper
100ml chicken stock (a good cube will do)
300ml double cream
1tbsp chopped tarragon leaves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

re-heat a grill, ribbed griddle pan or charcoal grill to maximum temperature. In a saucepan gently cook the shallots and garlic in the butter until soft. Add the morels and continue cooking for 3-4 minutes until they soften. Remove the morels with a slotted spoon (don't worry about getting all the shallots off). Add the Madeira and chicken stock to the pan and simmer until completely reduced. Add the double cream, season lightly with salt and pepper and simmer until reduced by half and thickened. Add the morels and tarragon and simmer for another minute or so.

Meanwhile grill or griddle the chops for 3-4 minutes on each side, depending on the thickness, so they are still pink and juicy. Serve with the sauce spooned over some of the veal. Vegetables like broccoli or sprouting broccoli go well with veal, and some good earthy mashed potato would complete the picture.

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