Saturday, January 18, 2014

ChezCindy: Veal Stew with Sauteed Vegetables

This veal stew recipe has been added to my list of "must make each winter season".  I make a big pan of it on the weekend and serve it throughout the week.  It is hearty, delicious and reheats well for a quick mid-week dinner.  Pictured above, it is served with gnocchi.  But we also like it with egg noodles or spooned over mashed potatoes.  Yum. 

My recipe is derived from a recipe for veal Marengo, a French veal stew said to be made for Napoleon Bonaparte, the famous French general.  The traditional basic ingredients for veal Marengo include veal, tomatoes, onion and white wine.  Modern day cooks expand on that list by adding additional vegetables to make a more complete stew.  I have added mushrooms, carrots and pearl onions (I use frozen pearl onions straight from the freezer).   If you are not a fan of veal, I am excited to make this same recipe using boneless chicken thighs.  I think that will be delicious too! 

Veal Stew with Sautéed Vegetables  
2 pounds boneless veal shoulder
4 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 medium onion, chopped
1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes, drained
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 cup dry white wine
1 cup unsalted chicken stock
bouquet of herbs*
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

For the sautéed vegetables
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup pearl onions
6-8 ounces mushrooms, cremini or white button
1 cup thinly sliced carrots
kosher salt
black pepper

chopped parsley for garnish

Preheat oven to 325 degrees, with rack in the center of the oven.  Use a large Dutch-oven pan, or a heavy bottomed pan with a tight fitting lid.  Cut a parchment paper into a large circle to fit into the pan as a cover. 

Cut the veal shoulder into 2-inch cubes.  Season the veal cubes with salt and pepper.  Dredge the veal cubes with the flour to lightly cover all sides, shaking off the excess flour. 

Place the pan over medium-high heat.  Add the 2 tablespoons of oil and 2 tablespoons of butter.  When the oil and butter are hot, add about a third of the floured veal cubes to the pan.  It is important to not over crowd the pan, as the meat will not brown properly.  Brown the veal in 2- 3 batches, browning on all sides, removing each completed batch to rest on a plate.  This will create a good amount of brown bits in the bottom of the pan.  Taking your time on this step will yield great color and flavor to your stew. 

Once all of the veal has been browned, add in the chopped onion, cooking until lightly browned and wilted, about 3-5 minutes (if the pan looks to dry add a tablespoon of oil).  Stir in the tomato paste, cook for 2 minutes.  Carefully add the white wine, stir to bring up some of the browned bits from the bottom of the pan; cook for 5 minutes.  Add in the drained chopped tomatoes, chicken stock, salt, pepper, and the bouquet of herbs.  Add the veal back into the pan, including any juices that may have accumulated, stir to combine and bring to a gentle boil.  Turn off the burner heat.  Place the parchment paper circle onto of the stew - this will keep the liquids from evaporating - and cover with the lid.  Place the pan into the preheated oven.  Cook for 30 minutes. 

To make the sautéed vegetables: 
Working with a large sauté pan over medium heat, add the unsalted butter.  Once melted, add the pearl onions; stir to coat with the melted butter, cooking for about 5 minutes to lightly brown.  Chop the mushrooms into quarters or halves, add to the pan, stir to combine.  Allow the mushrooms to brown with minimal stirring at this point. 

Meanwhile, cut the carrots into thin diagonal slices. 

Once the mushrooms are nicely browned, add the thin sliced carrots.  Stirring occasionally, continue cooking on the stovetop until the carrots are tender.  Season with salt and pepper.  Set aside until the stew is ready to come out of the oven. 

After 30 minutes, remove the stew from the oven.  Carefully, remove the parchment paper cover and the bouquet of herbs, discarding both.  Add the sautéed vegetables to the stew, stirring to combine.  Taste for seasoning, adding additional salt and pepper as necessary.  Garnish with chopped parsley.  Serve warm and enjoy.  

 *Bouquet of herbs, known as a Bouquet Garni in French cooking, is a variety of herbs tied together wrapped in cheesecloth.  This allows your stew to have the flavor of the herbs without the stems and leaves released into the dish.  When the stew is done you simply remove the bundle of herbs and discard. I used 2 thyme sprigs, 2 parsley sprigs, 1 rosemary sprig, and 1 bay leaf.

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