• (Michael Bonacini's Christmas at the Farm)

The perfect addition to an Italian feast, this veal roast is particularly good served with polenta and mushrooms






Skill level

Average: 2.7 (10 votes)


  • 1.4 kg (3 lb) veal breast, boneless and trimmed
  • 1½ tbsp (30 ml) fennel seeds, toasted
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp grated nutmeg
  • 2 mandarins / tangerines, zest and juice   
  • 2 sprigs thyme, leaves only, divided
  • 2 sprigs sage, leaves only, divided
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) olive oil
  • 3 large onions, peeled and sliced thinly
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cup (250 ml) white wine
  • 2 cups crushed tomatoes
  • 4 cups (1 L) chicken stock
  • ¼ cup parmesan cheese rinds
  • Microgreens, to garnish

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Resting time: 10 mnutes

1. Pound the veal breast thinly using a meat mallet. Season one side of veal with salt, pepper, toasted fennel seeds, cinnamon, nutmeg, citrus zest, half the sage and half the thyme.

2. Roll the veal breast tightly. Using butcher twine, tie the veal breast into a log.

3. Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Place veal in hot pan and sear on all sides, about 2-3 minutes each side, until veal is golden brown all around.

4. Add onions and cook for 6-8 minutes or until soft and golden. Add bay leaves and remaining sage and thyme. Season with salt and pepper. Add white wine and reduce for 3-4 minutes. Add mandarin juice, crushed tomatoes, chicken stock and parmesan rinds, and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cook for 90 minutes to 2 hours or until tender to your liking.

5. Remove veal from sauce and let rest for 10 minutes. Leave sauce over heat and reduce to desired thickness.

6. Untie veal breast and slice in thick rounds. Transfer to a serving dish and top with sauce. Serve warm with Polenta gratin with sautéed wild mushrooms (see recipe) and microgreens.