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Veal stew June 16, 2010

Posted by inspiredbywolfe in Veal.
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With winter well and truly descending here in Melbourne, my thoughts have turned to more wintery meals – particularly stews and soups. However, while winter stews are by their nature heavy and filling, this does not mean that every stew should provide the feeling that one is weighted down after eating it. Looking for something a bit lighter, but still filling and comforting, I came across this recipe for veal stew on Serious Eats.

I find veal to be lighter – and some might add richer – than lamb or beef, and it provides a nice contrast to the more traditional stews. To start with, I browned the pieces of veal in some olive oil.

When they were all browned, I removed them from the pot and added chopped garlic and shallots. When they’d cooked for a bit, I added chopped mushrooms – I just used normal button mushrooms which I then chopped up as that’s what I had available, although the recipe calls for various types of wild mushrooms to be used. I cooked the mushrooms until they too had started to soften and brown, and added salt and pepper.

After they were on the way to cooking, I deglazed the pot with some sherry, and added the meat back into the pot. At this point, I also added lamb stock (no beef stock) and thyme – I used a combination of fresh thyme sprigs and some dried thyme as I didn’t have as much fresh as the recipe called for. After it boiled, I turned the heat down and let it cook on a low temperature for a couple of hours. Here’s what it looked like about halfway through the cooking process:

Towards the end of the 2 hour period, I prepared the prosciutto. I put some baking paper on a baking tray, and lay the prosciutto slices on it – trying to smooth them out as much as possible and ensuring they weren’t folded over themselves. They went into the oven for about 10 minutes and were well and truly crisp by then, and had released a lot of fat. I put them on some paper towel to drain and patted as much fat off as I could. As you can see, they had changed dramatically in appearance.

By this time, the stew was almost ready. I made a beurre manie by mixing together flour and butter, and putting it into the stew. The recipe said to let it bubble away until the stew had noticeably thickened, and while I let it bubble for a while and it got a bit thicker it didn’t thicken dramatically. In retrospect, I think I didn’t use enough flour in the beurre manie (although I used the amount specified in the recipe) to properly thicken it.

Once the stew was thicker, I took it off the heat and added some cream, which I then stirred in. To serve, I spooned the stew into some bowls, and scattered broken pieces of the prosciutto on top.

As I’ve said, I think I should have thickened the stew a bit more, but I really enjoyed this stew the way it was. The slightly thinner consistency provided a lightness to the stew which was complemented by the use of veal. After 2 hours of cooking, the veal was soft and tender and melded nicely with the mushrooms – which had retained a bit of firmness, a nice contrast to the veal. The prosciutto shards on top added a crisp and saltiness. The overall flavour was earthy and deep – but not heavy. All in all, this stew was nice way to forget about winter – if only for a little while!

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