Friday, June 8, 2012

Unintentionally - more stock and a veal stew

I love Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and The River Cottage philosophy and I've enjoyed watching the "Season's Series"of The River Cottage on the ABC recently. When watching a "Summer's Here" episode, where Hugh made a veal casserole, I instantly wanted to cook his recipe as soon as possible.

I had to ask for the veal shoulder at the butcher, and thought that I would buy two kilograms to try a French 'blanquette de veau' as well. The butcher told me that the veal was cut into chops, was that OK? I said it would be fine and he disappeared out the back. When I got home and went to cut up my meat for the recipe, I found that one kilogram of the veal was bone, they weren't exactly what I would call chops either. My 'blanquette de veau' would need to wait for another time. At least I had enough meat to make Hugh's stew and now enough bones to make my first veal stock.

Hugh's Veal Stew

serves 6

for the beginning

• 1 tablespoon olive oil
• 1 cloves garlic (finely chopped)
• 1 x 440 gram tinned tomatoes or  600g fresh tomatoes (roughly chopped)

• 1 bay leaf
• a good pinch caster sugar
• salt and pepper

for the stew

• 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
• 1 kilogram veal shoulder (chopped into 3cm pieces)
• a generous dash of brandy    

• 1 tablespoon tomato paste
• 75 ml double cream

• 100-200 ml chicken or veal stock 

for the extra flavour

• 1 tablespoon olive oil
• 1 clove garlic (finely chopped)
• 2-3 anchovies (drained and roughly chopped)
• 2 tablespoons double cream

for the end

• lemon juice

to serve

• mashed potatoes
• steamed green beans
• lots of crusty bread

First, heat the oil in a small saucepan and gently saute the garlic, don't let it colour. Add the tomatoes, bay leaf and sugar. Season to taste. Bring to the boil and then reduce the heat to simmer. Cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. 

While the tomatoes are cooking, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a heavy based casserole and brown the veal in 2 - 3 batches, it’s important not to crowd the pan. Add more oil if you need it. After browning each batch, set the veal aside. After the last batch, keep the pan on the heat and deglaze with the brandy. Return the veal to the casserole and pour over the tomatoes. (Hugh sieved his tomatoes, I didn't - if I had used fresh tomatoes, I may have sieved them to remove the seeds) Add the tomato paste and cream to the pan. Add enough stock to almost cover the meat and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to simmer, cover and cook gently for 1 1/2 hours. (Hugh cooked his veal for for 45 minutes to an hour - I'm not sure we were dealing with the same quality of veal)

Once the veal is simmering slowly, heat the last tablespoon of oil in a small frying and gently saute the garlic for half a minute. Add the anchovies and the double cream and cook gently, stirring, until the anchovies have almost dissolved. Add this to the stew while it cooks. 

When the veal is tender, taste the stew and adjust the seasoning with salt, pepper and lemon juice. Serve piping hot.

We served this with mashed potatoes and greens beans and with Hugh's suggestion of lots of crusty bread. Yum! There is a lot of liquid in this stew. Naturally my kids screwed up their noses when I put it on the table - "not soup again!"

This veal stock recipe is based on the recipe in this "Meat" cookbook. As you will see, it is very similar to the stock base that I have been using. Adrian also adds a pigs trotter to his stock. I did not have this at hand (who does?) but I will try that next time.  

Veal Stock
makes approximately 3-4 litres

• 2 kilograms chopped veal bones (roasted for 20 minutes, turning once)

• 1 pigs trotter (split in half lengthwise)
• 2 onions (roughly chopped)
• 2 small carrots (roughly chopped)
• 2 stalks celery (roughly chopped)
• 5 stalks of flat-leaf parsley
• 4 sprigs of thyme
• 2-3 bay leaves
• 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
• 4 garlic cloves

Place all of the ingredients in a large stock pot. Cover with cold water and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer gently for 3 1/2 to 4 hours. Skim any scum from the surface while simmering. Strain the stock through a fine mesh sieve and allow to cool. Refrigerate and allow time for the fat to set, then skim the fat off of the top. This can be refrigerated for 2-3 days or frozen for up to 3 months.

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