Grab a fork, stoke the fire and settle in for a big bowl of comfort. This tasty stew is teeming with tender chunks of veal braised in a rich, creamy sauce studded with mushrooms and potatoes. Pure yum.
There are certain days when I don’t want to see the sun. I want the clouds to roll in, rain to pound on the roof, or even better, snow to pile up on the ground and frost to lick the windows. I want my cozy sweats and a smoldering fire in the fireplace. And most importantly, I want to cook something low and slow and have those delicious aromas waft through the house all day.
I would love to say that a dream day for my little family is a 10 mile hike, green juices and hot yoga, but truth be told, we’re more of a leisurely stroll, fuzzy blanket and movie marathon sort of crew. Listen, I’m of the age and profession where exercise isn’t a want but a must. But if I’m picking my dream day, there won’t be an elliptical machine in sight.
Since we’re very much in the heart of winter in the northeast, I’m all about stews, braises and hearty dishes. I crave the comfort of velvety sauces, root vegetables and cuts of meat that require time to become fork tender and succulent. I want a dish that simmers on the stove all day and allows the flavors to meld and develop. I love the earthy flavors of mushrooms and in today’s dish I even sneak a little extra umami in there with a squeeze of anchovy paste. But never fear my anti-anchovy friends, the addition of anchovy paste doesn’t add fishiness, but instead a rich savoriness that you can’t quite put your finger on.
Today we’re braising veal shoulder until it’s melt-in-your-mouth tender in a sauce that coats the spoon and clings to the noodles that it’s generously poured over. Because the veal is mild in flavor, the sauce, while rich, isn’t overly assertive or robust. Instead, it’s subtle, savory, creamy and everything you want to eat on a cold, rainy day nestled in by the fire.
I heard we’re in for a shift in weather this weekend and sunny, spring-like temperatures. Argh. Normally I’d be thrilled, but since I’m in a veal stew sort of mood, I’m thinking of pulling the blinds, turning on the sprinklers and directing them toward the house. We’ll cue up a movie, grab our bowls, drape napkins across our laps, and hunker down for “the storm”. Whatever Mother Nature, in our house, it’s still stew season.
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 Tbsp plus 1/4 cup all purpose flour
- 2 lbs boneless veal shoulder cut into 2 inch cubes
- 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 large onion diced
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 2 tsp anchovy paste
- 2 tsp soy sauce
- 1 tsp sugar
- 2 1/2 cups dry white wine
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 6 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1 lb baby potatoes diced
- 10 oz mushrooms sliced
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- *egg noodles for serving
Heat the oil in a large heavy bottomed pot or dutch oven until hot but not smoking.
Toss the veal with salt, pepper and 2 Tbsp flour and add to the pan. Brown on all sides and remove to a plate.
Add the butter to the pan and add the onions. Cook for 2-3 mins and then add the garlic. Cook for an additional 2 mins.
Stir in the flour, scraping up the brown bits on the bottom of the pan. Cook for 2 mins, stirring constantly.
Add the anchovy paste, soy sauce, and sugar. Whisk in the wine, then the milk, and finally the chicken stock.
Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Add the thyme sprigs, browned veal, potatoes and mushrooms to the pot. Season well with salt and pepper.
Cover and simmer gently over very low heat for about 2 hours, until the veal is tender. Remove the sprigs of thyme. Season to taste and serve over cooked noodles.