Weeknight Veal Stew

2016-02-16 17.44.53.jpgRECIPE #199, DAY #235

ORIGINAL RECIPE: “Vegetable Veal Stew” from Desperation Dinners by Beverly Mills and Alicia Ross*

TIMING: 30 minutes

DIFFICULTY: Pretty easy

TOOLS: Nothing much

COOK TYPE: Stovetop

HEALTH: This is another Desperation well-rounded bowl of dinner. Protein. Vegetables. And with a crusty bread; grain. With a salad, it would be even more well-rounded, but there is no need on a busy night.

EXPERIENCE: I was excited to make a beef stew for a quick dinner. We ate beef stew and beef roast a lot growing up, though, and I am beginning to realize that I am a purist when it comes to beef stew and roast. In my humble opinion, there is no need to add much of anything, unless it is the occasional can of condensed cream soup or a package of French onion soup mix. And tomato is never welcome. Other than that, broth and veggies, salt and pepper, will serve me fine.

So no, this was not my favorite. I have modified it some, though, and it would be fine to repeat as not everyone is a stew purist.

NOTES: I’m pretty sure that this recipe uses veal in order to approximate a long-cooked beef stew in less than half an hour. If you did this with beef stew meat, your meat would be too tough. As with all our meats, we used a conscientiously raised veal.

The original recipe called for a bag of frozen stew veggies. I have never seen these, so I modified to use some fresh veggies. If you find an onion-carrot-potato-celery mixture in the store, then go for it; there is no need to saute them and they’ll hasten the prep a lot.

My grocer did not carry the usual brand of natural, onion soup mix that I use, so in that pinch I used a natural, brown gravy mix instead.

You could add a can of stewed tomatoes if you like tomato in your beef stew.


  1. On a deep plate, combine 1/4 cup all purpose flour with 1/2 teaspoon black pepper and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Dredge 1 pound cubed veal stew meat and let rest.
  2. In a Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed soup pot, heat 1 tablespoon safflower oil and 1 tablespoon unsalted butter over medium-high heat. Add veal so that it does not crowd the pan. With tongs, brown evenly and remove to a plate until all veal is browned.
  3. To the pan, add 1 sliced onion, 4 chopped carrots, and 1 sliced rib celery. Sprinkle with salt and cook until onions are beginning to brown.
  4. Add 15 ounces beef broth, the veal, 2 peeled and diced potatoes, 8 ounces sliced mushrooms, 2 tablespoons onion soup mix, 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce, 1 pressed garlic clove, and 1 teaspoon herbs de provence. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer, and cook for about 20 minutes until potatoes are cooked through. If it starts to reduce too much, cover (and/or add more broth). Taste for seasonings.

Serve with crusty bread, rice, or egg noodles and a nice pickle-y side.

*Recipe changed from the original.


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