making it stretch

I bought a lovely British rose veal chop as a treat for myself the other day and events conspired against me to mean I never got to eat it. I was going to yum it up with crushed new potatoes and a salsa verde but that's a story for another day. So there it is... sitting... looking at me every time I open the fridge, asking me to eat it before it's past its best. But there is three of us for supper tonight and bugger all else in the fridge, so how on earth do I pull off a feeding of the five thousand feat and feed many with one?

Less is more

Eating less meat is something we are always being advised to do, both for our own health and for the health of the planet. One of the best ways I have found to eat less meat is to slice. Put half a chicken breast or a single sausage on someone's plate and you will probably find them looking at you accusingly as if you are trying to starve them. But slice up a chicken breast or a sausage and toss it through a veg packed salad or serve it on top of a pile of pasta and they won't even bat an eyelid. So this is the track I take, to confuse the brains of those I am feeding so they won't even realise they have eaten just a 1/3 of a chop.

I am a risotto addict - I tend to always lean towards a risotto when I am in need of something simple and comforting and don't have much else in the fridge. And veal is a perfect match for Italian cooking so it is the perfect way to go.

Simple parmesan risotto with pan fried veal and crispy sage

serves 2- 3

1 small onion or 2 banana shallots, finely sliced

drizzle of olive oil

250g arborio risotto rice

glass of white wine or dry vermouth

500-600ml hot chicken stock (from a cube is fine)

1 large veal chop (make sure it is rose veal and ethically farmed)

generous knob of butter

small handful of little sage leaves

45g grated parmesan cheese

Heat a little oil in a pan and gently fry the onion or shallot for 10 minutes until softened. Add the rice and stir for about 30 seconds until translucent and toasted. Splash in the wine or vermouth and bubble away, stirring, until it has all been absorbed.

Gradually add the hot stock. a little at a time, stirring constantly, for about 15-20 minutes until the rice is just tender.

Whilst the rice is cooking, rub your veal chop with a little oil and season well. Heat a pan over a high heat and fry for 2-3 minutes on each side until it is golden but still pink in the middle. Turn off the heat and throw the butter into the pan with the sage leaves and allow it to melt in the residual heat and the sage to become crispy. Transfer to a plate with the juices and sage and leave to rest for 10 minutes.

Once the rice is just tender, add another good splash of stock, season well and add the parmesan cheese. Cover and turn off the heat and leave to stand for 5 minutes.

Slice the veal thinly, pouring any of the resting juices into the risotto. Spoon the risotto into warmed bowls and top with the veal and sage and serve.