Pots of Possibility

As we all know (I hope), published recipes are meant only to be a guide. Dedicated cooks know that everything is open to experimentation. We are inspired by random ingredients to push the boundaries… hoping for the best as we measure and contemplate what might happen if “I did THIS with THIS.” Sometimes, it works out. Sometimes it doesn’t. (I have equally rejoiced over pots of success and cried over the burnt remains of possibility.)

Veal - Calf

A couple of days ago at my local grocery store, I lucked up on a breast of veal. It was a cut of meat that was totally unknown to me.  In considering its possibilities, all I could do was channel my mother’s rendition of veal cutlets and my grandmother’s veal marsala. Even so, I bought that breast home and proceeded to unravel its provenance and potential. What I learned is: “Veal is the meat of a baby calf (knew that). Though it can be produced from a calf of either sex and any breed, most veal comes from male calves of dairy cattle breeds” (did not know that).

I prepared that baby according to what I knew, aggrandized with a splash of creativity. The end result was a dish SO GOOD I had to share.As I gazed upon my bounty, I contemplated (yet again) the truth of what I am eating (thanks, Michael Pollard). In doing so (every time I cook/eat meat), I can’t help but feel compassion. BUT… the carnivore in me spurs the creation of a dish that honors the animal whose life is rendered for my nourishment.

Braised veal with onion & mushrooms

Braised veal with onion & mushrooms

INGREDIENTS

¼ cup oil (olive)
¼ cup butter
3# veal breast
¼ cup flour
2 tbs lemon juice
1 cup white wine
2 cups water
1 onion (halved & sliced thin)
2 cups mushrooms (sliced)

 

SEASONING

1 tsp salt
1 tbs pepper (crushed black)
1 tbs garlic salt
1 tbs allspice
1 tbs herbes de Provence
1 tbs parsley
2 tbs chicken bouillon powder 

DIRECTIONS

MIX seasoning in a bowl
RUB mixture on veal & MARINATE for at least 1 hour
HEAT oil/butter mix in a Dutch oven
BROWN seasoned veal in olive oil &  butter
REMOVE veal and SET ASIDE
BROWN flour in dirty oil
ADD lemon juice & wine
ADD onion & MIX well
RETURN veal to pot
COVER & COOK for 1 hour (turn veal halfway through)
TURN heat to low and cook for another hour
ADD mushrooms (and more water if necessary)
COOK for an additional hour

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