This was a Sunday evening supper that I knocked together for my parents and me using some diced veal and some leeks from the allotment. I opted for a white wine and lemon take on a stew because red wine and tomatoes seemed overwhelming for the delicate meat. It wasn't hard, it wasn't especially time-consuming—the onions and leeks demanded the most attention—and it was delicious. It's the perfect way to make use of sweet and tender spring vegetables. I love leeks, so these were an obvious choice; but as soon as the broad beans are through these will be going in, too. And peas are always a winner.
For anyone who has concerns about eating veal and the veal production industry, there are several factors that should be taken into consideration. First, select your veal carefully. It's rare that I eat veal because it's expensive, but when I do, it's British 'rose' veal. This is meat that comes from calves reared in conditions worlds away from the darkened, slatted crates, and all-liquid diet that's associated with the veal industry of old. Second, I enjoy eating dairy products and veal calves are a by-product of dairy farming. I'd rather know that their meat is put to good use rather than their carcasses wasted. Finally, I like eating lamb. If I can eat a baby sheep, I can eat a baby cow.
- 275g (10oz) diced veal
- Plain flour for coating the veal
- salt and pepper
- 2tbsp olive oil
- A teaspoon of butter or margarine
- 1 medium-sized onion, halved and then sliced into half-moons
- A pinch of salt and a pinch of sugar
- 3 good sized leeks
- 125ml (5floz) white wine, I used Sauvignon Blanc
- 250ml (½ pint) stock, chicken is best
- Juice of half a lemon
- A sprig of rosemary
- Handful of frozen peas
Put two tablespoons of flour into a ziplock bag
, season it, and then add the veal cubes. Seal the bag and toss to coat the veal with the flour.
In a large, heavy-based casserole dish, heat the olive oil and proceed to brown (and really brown, not just show it the pan) the flour-coated meat. If there's too much meat to spread evenly on the base of the pan, do it in two batches. When all the meat is browned, remove it to a plate.
Add the butter or margarine to the meaty pan and when it has melted, add the onions and leeks, together with a pinch of salt and sugar, and allow them to cook slowly until tender, browned but not burned, and sweet.
When the vegetables are cooked, add the wine and scrape up the toasty bits from the bottom of the pan. Pour in the stock and return the meat to the pan. Squeeze in the lemon juice, throw in the rosemary, and check the seasoning.
Cover the dish and place it in a moderately slow oven (say 160° Celsius, 325° Fahrenheit) for about 90 minutes. The meat should cook through to tender and the sauce should thicken. Add a handful of frozen peas (or broad beans if you have them) about ten minutes before the cooking time is up.
Serve it with mashed potatoes and any more vegetables that you might wish to eat. We drank ours with the same Sauvignon Blanc that went into the pot.
Music to cook to: I was dancing around to a selection of Motown hits.