A little everyday chit chat around the table...like we all used to do around my Grandmothers' tables when I was growing up. A little of this...a little of that...nothing too special...but as the years pass, all of it seems so. Come, sit at the Table, contribute, enjoy, stay as long as you want, leave when you need to, and return often!
Whisk Wednesdays rolled around again, and while I had planned to make this over the weekend, it turns out that my butcher could not get any veal shoulder until Wednesday at noon. I thought perhaps that would be okay...that I could slip it in while doing my regular cooking gig, but things got a TAD busy and I had to do the stew in two rounds, which probably did it some good actually, to sit a bit and soak up some extra flavors, so I am actually posting this on Thursday.
This week's recipe is from
Class 16, Part 2 • Blanquette de Veau à l’Ancienne (White Veal Stew with Onions and Mushrooms served over rice), on page 55-56 of the Le Cordon Bleu at Home cookbook.
Stew is pretty much stew. You put a bunch of stuff in a pot and cook it a long time over low heat and the flavors all sort of meld together and create a comforting bowl of satisfying goodness. The French, however, I have decided, have a special knack for layering flavors to make something taste as if it has depth, and not that it is just a bunch of flavors melded together. You can taste the layers separately and identify all the parts, or at least a good many of them. It's hard to describe, but it is definitely there. Make this stew and tell me if you don't think so, too. I think, honestly, that it may be all those pots you need to use...things cooked separately and then brought together for the FINALE...what's not to love about the FINALE?
The only thing difficult about this recipe was for me to order the veal...not because it was all that difficult to score a veal shoulder, because it wasn't, just a few days advance notice and all, but because I have a very difficult time eating veal. I know...I know...I have been around farm animals my entire life and learned early on that one never NAMES anything that could possibly be destined for the dinner table.
That said, I have no trouble eating beef, but veal to me is a little baby calf that is so darn cute and fun and cuddly and sweet and I just can't bear to do it. My friends all make fun of me and call me a hypocrite, saying things like, "Okay, you won't eat veal, but you will eat steak...so all you are saying is that you are fine with eating something that has grown up and been around for awhile. That it isn't the same?"
Yes, that is what I am saying. It isn't the same at all! By the time the steers, etc. are grown up, you aren't really all that fond of them anymore. Steers do things like run you into the side of the barn, try to flip you over the feed trough, step on your feet, knock your hand into the chute sides when you try to vaccinate them causing your hand to be numb for two days, splat huge amounts of do all over you when you are moving them, etc., etc....yep, by the time they are at that stage...dinner seems a fine choice for their future.
So, I hope we are done with the veal things as I really really don't like making veal. Was it tasty? Well, yes, it was tasty...I ate two chunks of it and it tasted different than regular beef in stew, it tasted more like pork actually. Mark declared it "Fantastic...extremely good, and much too good for the French." (Sorry if you are French...Mark can get rather political at times.) Matt loved it, too. Alex was not here for dinner to try it, so I will need to make it again if he wants to try it...and shhhh...don't tell, but next time, I will substitute pork loin because I hold no sappy sentimentalism for hogs.
If you would like to make this recipe at your own home, just purchase the cookbook Le Cordon Bleu at Home and give it a go. The techniques you need are shown clearly in the book, so rest assured it is all very simple if you take it one step at a time. (Oh, yeah, and I cheated on one part because if anyone thinks I am sitting around peeling 60 tiny pearl onions, they are wrong...I just bought the ones already peeled and frozen and made do.)
If you would like to see how the other Whisk Wednesday members fared in the braising class, clickhere, and then on the Whisk Wednesdays connect to individual bloggers, or better yet, come and join us!
Next week's class is:Class 16, Part 3: • Navarin d'Agneau Printanier (Braised Lamb Shoulder Stew) page 350-351.