Grilled Veal Stew
We start with chunks
The idea here is that grilling the chunks of veal enhances their flavor significantly and adds to the overall magnificence of a veal stew. Admittedly, a veal stew is a pretty magnificent dish to begin with -- but just you wait and see.
We are going to combine these chunks of veal with a bunch of ingredients which absolutely shout: Mediterranean! Mediterranean! Mediterranean!
In general, when we hear that shouting we come running, as does anyone else who hearsit.
Note: not every grocery store carries veal for stewing, and those that do do not always carry it all the time. So, when we do see it, we tend to grab it --before someone else does.
Not long on the grill
Just long enough to give them some color, dipped in a big of EVOO first, partly in order to help prevent the chunks from sticking to the grill. (For EVOO, click here.).
The object here is not really to cook the veal -- that will come in the stewing (even though the stewing with veal is shorter than with other meats). The object is the color and to heighten our appetite by subjecting it to the aroma of the grilling veal.
These look nice, don't they? Contrast beautifully with the dark grid on which they rest. A picture to prepare us for the next step.
The other essential
Tomatoes are the other essential ingredient -- actually, all the ingredients are essential, so maybe it is better to say "the other main ingredient." Again, it is color which is so important to culinary satisfaction, and tomatoes are color stars, color wizards.
At any rate, what would a veal stew, a Mediterranean veal stew, be without tomatoes?
We are going to grill these, too, of course.
These are Roma tomatoes, wonderful on the grill and in just about anything, including especially stew. Their firmness, their particular size and shape -- all characteristics that make them easy to handle on the grill. Again, a little EVOO to keep them from sticking and to enhance the grill marks which so enhance their appearance.
Just about three minutes on this side.
And three more on this side
Well, the grill marks have appeared and the color is just as beautiful as when we started.
Look great, do they not? These will make a wonderful addition to the stew we are building.
Or maybe "amalganation" would be a better word than "combining."
In here also is smashed garlic -- three cloves for this amount of meat and tomatoes. We can add twice that amount if we want to emphasize the garlic a bit more. In fact, I recommend it.
Next time we will do that.
Now we add EVOO (what would a Mediterranean stew be like without extra virgin olive oil? -- one shudders to imagine).
We also add dry white wine, scallions, vegetable broth, fresh rosemary, coarse ground salt and coarse ground pepper. Together with the EVOO, these six ingredients constitute a core set that can be used for so many things cooked in a pot. (Of course, red wine is also part of this core, as a replacement for the dry white).
This is all going into a Dutch oven or porcelain-coated casserole.
It is certainly possible to add other things as well at this point, mushrooms for example. Mushrooms are always a great addition to so many things. But on this particular occasion we are choosing to add just one more thing. See below.
Cut into pieces, or ripped into pieces, the distinctive, subtle, slightly salty flavor of the wonderful dried ham, Prosciutto, is really the thing that makes this stew.
Rip up a few pieces and add it to the stew. The actual weight of the prosciutto in this dish is insignificant, but the flavor it contains is powerful yet alluring -- I can't really find another word for it than "alluring." I'm allured every time I smell prosciutto.
Simmer the whole thing for forty-five minutes, an hour at most. The veal cooks quickly, but we want the flavors of the veal and those core ingredients to blend and to enrich each other.
Tubular pasta in this case. Noodle pasta would be perfectly delicious here, but the nature of a stew seems best enhanced by the tubular pastas. Penne rigate, farfalle (bow ties), fusilli -- they seem like the perfect bed for a ladle or two of the grilled veal stew.
Cheese -- if you want -- too, though the veal stew has such a wonderful blend of flavors that no further addition is really required.
Although veal stew is often associated with eating in one of the countries which surround the Mediterranean Sea, the Hungarians are also noted for their love of veal stew. There is in fact a notably Hungarian dish which consist of a type of pancake stuffed with veal stew. In this case the veal is minced and fried with onions and spices like (of course) papriká. Sometimes just plain veal stewing meat, sometimes veal with mushrooms, sometimes chicken, or sausage -- it must be admitted. Place the meat on the pancakes, tuck in the ends, then bake with (of course) more paprika and (of course) sour cream. Top with fresh parsley for color. Sounds delicious.
Part of a series
Pictures! Pictures! Pictures!
Series within series, actually. Food & Cooking, for example, then -- within that -- series on vegetables, fruits, seafood, meat, etc. Books, too. Ideas, too. Travel, too. Click on "featured lenses" at the top of the right-hand column, under my profile, for the complete list. Key virtues:. pictures, clear step-by-step text. Delicious -- whether foods or ideas! All of the items in this series, organized by floor, can be found in Lee White's Department Store. Happy shopping! -- everything is free!
Real Meal. Unlike fancy food mags, where images are hyped and food itself is secondary, all pix shown here are from a real meal, prepared and eaten by me and my friends. No throwing anything away till perfection is achieved. This is the real deal --- a Real Meal.