I grew up eating Mom’s Veal Parmesan, Veal Marsala, and Veal Picatta—all good to my mother’s credit. But ordering perfectly cooked fresh veal in most restaurants is hard to find. If veal isn’t properly cooked , it can taste like a leather shoe.
The best veal I’ve ever tasted was in France. While visiting Arles I tried the veal stew at La Chistera and was surprised at the simplicity of the dish—no vegetables, no frills—just small pieces of delicate veal in a thick red sauce. But it tasted very fresh, tender, and flavorful.
When I tried to create a recipe similar to the one I had in Arles, I failed. Although my husband liked it, I thought it tasted too much like beef stew. Veal shouldn’t taste like beef—it should taste like veal. So I tried something different and made a white wine herb sauce instead, and then cooked it in a crock-pot.
The combination of herbs, wine, and vegetables complement the veal beautifully without overpowering the dish. A hint of cream mixed in at the end adds a supporting role of richness while the veal remains the star. I like serving this with French bread and Lavender Honey Butter. Bon Appetit!
Spring Veal Stew Ingredients
2 lbs. veal (stew meat cut into ¾-1” chunks)
¼ cup flour, plus 1 tablespoon
2 teaspoons salt, divided
1 teaspoon pepper, divided
3 tablespoons butter, divided
2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, divided
3 large garlic cloves, chopped
1 onion (2 cups chopped. I prefer Maui sweet)
2 teaspoons Gravy Master or Kitchen Bouquet
1 cup white wine (make sure it is something you like because flavors intensify as you cook)
1.5 lbs. mini potato medley (cut into ¾-1” chunks)
4 carrots (3 cups cut into ¾-1” chunks)
*Reserve 1 extra cup of chopped carrots for last half-hour of cooking
8 oz. button mushrooms (cut into ¾-1” chunks)
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped (or 1 teaspoon dried)
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped
2-2 ½ cups chicken stock
1 cup peas (will be added at the end)
1 cup whipping cream (will be added at the end)
Herbs (tied together with kitchen string)
1 handful fresh parsley
3 ribs celery with leaves
1 bay leaf
Spring Veal Stew Directions
Mix ¼ cup flour, 1 teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper inside a large medium sized bowl. Add the veal chunks and toss to combine with the flour mixture.
In a heated skillet melt 1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon EVOO over medium high heat. Add ½ of the veal in an even layer.
Brown on all sides, careful not to burn. Using tongs is helpful to break up the sticky pieces. Cook about 1 minute per side. It’s OK if it’s still pink since we’ll be adding the veal to a crockpot.
Once veal is browned, transfer to a dish. Repeat this process by adding 1 tablespoon of the butter and oil to the pan. Brown the other half of the veal and set aside on dish.
In a food processor, add chopped garlic and onions, Gravy Master, and 1 teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper and grind ingredients till combined.
Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in the same skillet.
Add 1 tablespoon of flour, stirring vigorously to combine. Add the gravy mixture from the food processor. Using a spatula, deglaze the pan and pick up all the leftover veal bits, about 2 minutes. Add wine and bring to a gentle boil, stirring about 2 more minutes. Turn off the heat. Add the reserved veal, along with all the veal juices that have accumulated, back to the skillet and toss to coat.
To a crock-pot add the veal mixture from the skillet. Then add potatoes, carrots, mushrooms, thyme, and rosemary. Pour in chicken stock and add the tied herbs on top.
Stir gently to combine all ingredients. Cook slowly for 4-6 hours. *I like to add an extra cup of carrots to the pot in the last half-hour of cooking so they stay vibrant and al dente. Add the peas and cream to the hot crockpot about five minutes before serving so that the peas stay green and the cream doesn’t curdle. Serve with French bread, Lavender Honey Butter, and good wine.