Veal is sometimes a controversial meat because of the way it is raised. However, is it raised any differently than any other standard meat in our country? I’m not quite so sure. In other countries veal is considered a staple depending upon the region you live. For example in Northern Italy, veal is eaten more often than beef because it is more economical not to raise cattle to full size.
For me, I enjoy veal because it has a much different flavor profile than beef, it is softer in texture and easier on the palate. Also, veal tends to soak up the spices and sauces when incorporated in stews, soups and other heartier dishes.
Using a slow cooker to prepare veal is a great option because it slowly tenderizes the meat and allows it to absorb the brothy ingredients at a gentle pace. Cooking in a slow cooker is similar to the fable of “The Rabbit and the Hare” – best isn’t always fastest and the end result is very satisfying.
I enjoy this stew because it has a definite earthy quality from the abundance of mushrooms and the meat breaks apart gently with each bite. I think it makes a nice meal, especially on the weekends and it pairs nicely with a glass of red wine, like Merlot or Nebbiolo.
1 pound veal, cubed
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon salt + more if needed
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 pound mixed mushrooms, any variety
2 stalks celery
2 1/2 cups chicken broth
2 sprigs rosemary
1 tablespoon of butter
2 cups of arugula, optional
1. In a bowl, combine cornstarch, onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, salt and pepper. Toss veal into cornstarch mixture. Add 3 tablespoons of olive oil to your slow cooker insert or stock pot and place over medium-high heat.
2. Add pieces of veal to heated pot and cook until all sides are golden brown, about 4 minutes. While veal is browning, slice leek and celery into 1/4 inch pieces.
3. Add leek and celery to pot and cook for 4 minutes, or until slightly softened. Slice mushrooms and add to pot along with rosemary, stir. Continue to cook mixture for 5 minutes.
4. Pour in chicken broth and stir to combine. When simmering, place insert back into slow cooker. Cook stew for 5-6 hours on low, or until meat is fork tender. When stew is done, remove stems of rosemary.
5. Add tablespoon of butter to sauce and stir. Ladle stew over mashed potatoes, egg noddles or rice and serve with a nice handful of fresh arugula or herbs. Enjoy!