2 lbs. of veal stew meat - what to do???
It's in my freezer waiting for the freezer burn to get it. I bought it on a cold day in early spring when I was still thinking of veal marengo or some other veal stew with green olives. Now that the days are warmer I can't get into the thought of a long braised stew. Anyone else have ideas for a summery meal that centers on this shoulder cut of veal? Thanks!
You have already gotten a lot of great suggestions, but I'd also remind you that your slow cooker is every cooks summer best friend. No need to heat up the kitchen, just plug the slow cooker in, go outside and get a nice tan playing in the sunshine, come in and eat your meal. I'd personally whip up something with white wine, lemon, chicken stock, garlic, leeks (whites and greens), whole small red potatoes, and whole small tomatoes, and some thyme (maybe some marjoram). After a couple of hours in the slow cooker, the veal should be tender, the leek whites will dissolve into the chick stock/wine, and the potatoes and tomatoes should be soft but intact.
Marcella Hazan's Veal Stew with Tomatoes and Peas from Essentials is the simplest, lightest recipe ever. Onions, tomatoes, salt, pepper, and peas. What? No garlic or herbs? You can even use canned tomatoes and frozen peas. Reheats well. Because you add the peas at the last minute, it makes a great company meal.
I just trusted her word and followed the directions. I've been loving this one ever since. Only cooks for about 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Light enough for Spring and Summer.
Just to further distract you, years ago I learned a (Romanian? it was a Romanian who gave me the recipe) recipe for veal stew. It has been quite a while since I've made it, so this is going to read very "old fashioned", i.e., no quantities. That's not a problem, because there's not a lot of finesse in this in terms of technique, or ingredients, but it is delicious. For techniques, just like you make a typical stew. I think that the flavours are suitable for spring/summer.
white wine (or, in a pinch, *light* red)
tinned tomatoes (this is one thing I do recall - not a large tin.... for 2lbs veal, eye it, but I say about14oz., before draining)
salt, pepper, thyme, flour for dredging
Let it stew gently for an hour or so, turn off the heat, and let it rest, covered, until 20 minutes before serving. Gently reheat. Five to 10 minutes before serving, add coarsely ripped spinach leaves to the stew, stir them in, cover. Serve with warm bread.
Wow... what a memory: I was thinking about discomfort of making stew in summer. When I was a kid, I remember an old Italian woman in my town who in the depth of summer would do a lot of cooking on an outdoor brick/cement "stove". How old school is that?
A blanquette is a very nice dish, but if the veal has been in the freezer a bit too long, I'd make veal meatballs and serve them either in a rich broth or with a very light, fresh tomato sauce--the kind you cook five minutes. This is a nice spring meal.Chop your partially frozen veal stew meat in the food processor, and mix with some finely chopped onion, parsley, nutmeg, parmesan, and a small amount of milk-soaked bread and an egg. Form loosely into balls, and fry.
If you felt really ambitious, you could make veal tortolloni, ravioli, or even canneloni
You'll still have to cook it slowly for a relatively long time. But for spring or summer, you will want something more like a blanquette of veal (light cream sauce with lots of spring vegetables) or something with lemon and rosemary and white wine. This is a beautiful spring dish and even though it's a "stew" meat, veal cooks more quickly than beef - so it won't take all that long. Think of it more like lamb.