Saturday, February 2, 2008

Stufato di Vitello/Veal Stew

I haven't posted many recipes lately for several reasons, and I apologize. I miss experimenting in the kitchen and sharing my findings with everyone. My husband is still undergoing a lengthy medical treatment which leaves him wanting bland foods (like when you have the flu.) So, I am missing my "right arm" in the kitchen as we work really well together in creating new dishes and enhancing old ones. Also, without someone to cook for, I am not inspired. There is definitely something to be said for cooking for others.

Today I asked my husband and if he wanted some simple chicken stew and he replied, "No, veal stew." Happily I agreed; I had something fun to cook today! Especially in the winter, a hearty, one-pot meal is so comforting, and relatively easy. This stew can be made identically with rabbit, chicken or beef. My store did not have "stew" cut or chunks of veal so I bought two veal shanks, equalling 1.4 lbs, which is plenty for three people actually. (I can get carried away.)
Veal Stew/Stufato di Vitello
serves 3
1 lb. veal chunks or two veal shanks (about 1.25-1.5 lbs)
flour
one medium onion
1 cup red wine
4-5 Tbsp. chopped tomatoes or pureed tomatoes (or 2-3 Tbsp. tomato paste)
one garlic clove peeled, left whole, and stuck with one clove (the clove is optional)
1 celery stalk, diced finely
3-4 medium carrots, roughly chopped
2 large yukon gold potatoes (or 8 small ones), cut in small chunks
about 1 cup roughly chopped cremini (or brown) mushrooms
1 bay leaf
1 Tbsp. chopped parsley (optional)
approximately 2 cups chicken broth
1 cup water
salt and pepper to taste
Sautee the onion in some olive oil in a sturdy stew pot. Dust the veal pieces with flour. When the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes, add the veal and brown on both (or all sides). Add the wine and cook down for about 10 minutes.
Add the tomato puree or paste and stir. Add the all the chopped vegetables and herbs and stir well.
Add the broth, water and some salt and pepper. Add enough broth so that it just covers the vegetables. Bring to a boil. Place the whole garlic clove on top of the vegetables, being careful not to stir it under. (You want to know where the garlic clove is at all times as you will remove it after about two hours of cooking.) Lower heat to a simmer and place lid on pot, but leave it slightly open (I put a wooden spoon across the top of the pot and rest the lid on that.) Stir every 20-30 minutes, being careful not to lose the garlic clove. Cook like this for 5 or more hours - the longer the better. Serve with a good, crusty bread, with a salad on the side for a great meal.
Shortcut:
If you have less cooking time, use no water, just two cups broth and cook for about 3 1/2 hours. Less than that, it is just not tasty enough.
Other version:
You can omit the potatoes and serve this over polenta. If you do, use about 1 cup less liquid so that the sauce is thicker.
I think rabbit is my favorite version of this stew, but that is a personal preference. Either way, it is really satisfying.
Enjoy with a medium to heavy bodied red wine like a Chianti Classico, Barbera, Barbaresco, Rosso di Montalcino, or something similar.
Buon appetito!

16 comments:

Chris said...

Sorry I have been a stranger! This looks like such the perfect stew for these damp days. I bet the aroma in the house was mouthwatering!

bleeding espresso said...

Recipe looks great, and I do hope your hubby is feeling better and helping you create soon :)

JennDZ - The Leftover Queen said...

That looks delicious Jeni! I am sure this was a great help to your husband!

I wanted to let you know I featured you in the Friday's Finest Foodies:
http://www.leftoverqueen.com/2008/02/01/finest-foodies-friday/

The Passionate Palate said...

Chris - first of all, I love the new picture of you! Glad to hear from you again and yes, the aroma alone made the stew worth it!

Sognatrice - me too!!!

Jenn - you are great. Thanks so much. And I love your new picture too!

Maryann said...

That would be perfect here today. It's snowy, rainy, lightening, thundering, windy..we have it all. This would warm us up :)

Proud Italian Cook said...

Hope your "right arm" soon is by your side cooking up a storm with you!

african vanielje said...

Oh how absolutely yummy. I'm going to try it this weekend. My family are sick of minced meat, cottage pie etc.

rowena said...

Those images do justice to the recipe...I can just smell the aroma from here!

Hope hubby is doing better. Indeed, cooking for one is just no fun!

Absolute Vanilla (& Atyllah) said...

Yum! Your recipe actually reads very similar to something I make with chicken. And I know just what you mean by not being inspired to cook for only one. I hope your husband is soon very much better!

Tara said...

Ooh, this looks great and I agree that it would be fantastic over polenta. They would be a perfect match.

The Passionate Palate said...

Maryann - I'm sure it even tastes better in the snow!

PIC - I am counting the days...thank you!

AV - I hope your family liked it!

Rowena - thanks for the wishes. Yes, the aroma is amazing.

Vanilla - it is great with chicken too. I have to give the vanilla thinga try.

Tara - it is great with polenta!

katiez said...

I love stews - and I love slow-cooking them. The house smells so good and it really whets the appetite... Not the mine needs help!
I just picked up some shanks the other day - with no plans...now I have some!

Pasticcera said...

Yum, this should perk him up and hopefully get back i the kitchen where he belongs next to you.

Christina said...

I love these kinds of meals on cooler days--the whole house smells good for hours.

I hope everybody is well soon in your house: being sick is just no fun!

Jannis said...

I have missed you! I am sending good thoughts for you and yours.

Wanderlust Scarlett said...

looks and sounds SO good!

Hope your husband heals soon. He's in my prayers.

Hope you had a Happy Valentines too!

Missed you lots, big hugs

Scarlett & Viaggiatore