Stewing Over Time
Admittedly, I sometimes stew about how time flies these days, about how in a blink of an eye a third of a year is somehow already gone. What gives?
But then again, why stew when you can eat it instead, right?
Especially when it’s a stew that’s made for the bright arrival of spring.
That’s just what “Green-As-Spring Veal Stew” is. It’s a recipe from “Around My French Table”(Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) by everyone’s favorite culinary guru, Dorie Greenspan. The cookbook, of which I received a review copy, is filled with French comfort food for every season.
Cubes of veal simmer in broth with garlic, onion, carrots, celery and thyme until tender. Fish them out, then add a plethora of herbs and greens to the braising liquid. We’re talking bountiful handfuls of arugula, spinach, dill fronds, parsley and tarragon. Blend them all until you get a vibrant green sauce. Although the recipe says you can use a blender, food processor or hand blender, don’t opt for the latter, as the leaves may end up clogging it. Better to let your food processor or blender make easy, efficient work of it all instead.
Creme fraiche is added to enrich the sauce. And fresh lemon juice squeezed in to give it a lift.
Serve the stew with simple steamed potatoes, rice or noodles. A wedge of crusty bread is welcome, too, to sop up all that lovely, grassy, herb-infused sauce.
Time to stop fretting about time zooming by. Time to start slowing down the pace instead with this lovely, long-simmered stew.
Green-As-Spring Veal Stew
(Makes 6 servings)
3 pounds veal for stew, cut into 2-inch cubes
2 cups chicken broth
2 cups water
3 carrots, trimmed, peeled, and quartered
2 celery sticks, trimmed, peeled, and quartered
1 onion, quartered
3 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
2 thyme sprigs
1 bay leaf
Salt and freshly ground white pepper
2 1/2 cups packed arugula leaves
2 cups packed spinach leaves
1 cup small fresh dill fronds
1/2 cup fresh parsley leaves
1/4 cup fresh tarragon leaves
Scant 3/4 cup creme fraiche
1-2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Drop in cubes of veal and boil for just 1 minute to rid the meat of impurities that might later cloud your sauce. Drain and rinse the meat.
In a Dutch oven or other large casserole with a tight-fitting lid, stir together the broth, water, carrots, celery, onion, garlic, thyme and bay leaf. Season the mix with salt and white pepper and bring to a boil. Stir in the veal and bring the broth back to a boil, then cover the pot (if your lid is a little shaky, seal the pot with foil and then top with lid) and lower the heat to a gentle simmer. Cook the veal for 1 1/2 hours. (You can make the dish up to this point, and once cooled, refrigerate for a few hours, or for as long as overnight; reheat gently until the meat is heated through before continuing.)
Transfer meat to a bowl, cover, and keep it warm while you work on the sauce.
Remove vegetables and herbs from the broth (you can fish them out with a slotted spoon or strain the broth and return it to the pot) and discard them. Bring the broth to a boil and boil until reduced to about 1 1/2 cups.
Toss in all the greens and fresh herbs and cook for 1 minute. Puree the mixture in a blender or food processor, in batches if necessary. Return sauce to the pot. Whisk in creme fraiche and 1 tablespoon lemon juice. Taste the sauce, add more lemon juice, if you’d like, and season as needed with salt and white pepper.
Return meat to the pot, give the pot a stir and gently heat everything through before serving.
Adapted from “Around My French Table” by Dorie Greenspan
More Dorie Greenspan Recipes: Scallops with Caramel Orange Sauce
And: Sardine Rillettes
Plus More Favorite Stew Recipes: Dijon and Cognac Beef Stew
And: Chicken in Riesling