Veal Stew

Happy Thanksgiving Eve, y’all.

I didn’t post yesterday – it wasn’t intentional, I was just so darn busy.  We woke up, got The Young One off to school and headed out to pick up our Thanksgiving turkey from our poultry farmer, along with two quart jars of homemade mincemeat and our weekly egg purchase.  We really like our poultry farmer and his wife and stayed and visited with them for a bit (they are both just a hoot), then we went out to Whitefeather Meats to pick up our latest hog (you should check out their re-designed website, it rocks).  While we were there, we picked up two lamb shanks and a pheasant, of all things, which I plan to cook for Christmas dinner.

Afterwards, we headed home and put away the pork, lamb, pheasant, eggs and mincemeat and I dropped Mr. Turkey into a brine of salt, water and pure Grade B maple syrup and stuck him in the fridge in the garage.  Then I dropped a grass-fed beef arm roast in the slow cooker for dinner, and made us some lunch before heading into the office and working like a madwoman because I’m only staying at work until noon today so I can go home and start prepping for The Big Meal tomorrow.

Whew.  I’m tired just typing all that.

At any rate, we also recently picked up a pound of humanely raised veal stew meat (from the grocery store, of all places).  I don’t have a lot of experience with veal, but decided to give it a whirl and I am glad I did – this stew was rich and decadent and delicious.

I will confess and tell you that I used cream in the dish, although I’ve given a dairy-free option, and attempted to thicken the sauce with egg yolks.  It didn’t work out quite like I’d hoped – the end product was more like a soup than a stew – but the consistency didn’t detract from it at all.   It felt like, and would be excellent as, a good “special occasion” dish.  Without a lot of work – it is, after all, just a stew, albeit a rather fancy one.  You could call this a Blanquette de Veau, although technically the veal shouldn’t be browned in the classic preparation.

You can make this Whole30 compliant by using the coconut milk and subbing the Yukon gold potatoes with white-fleshed sweet potatoes.

Veal Stew
Veal Stew
Veal Stew

Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1 pound veal stew meat, cut into 2″ cubes
  • 2 tablespoons ghee or butter
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • pinch ground cloves
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and thickly sliced
  • 1 stalk celery, roughly chopped
  • 4 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
  • 2 sprigs thyme, tied with kitchen twine
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 medium Yukon gold potatoes, washed and quartered
  • 4 ounces crimini mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons ghee or butter
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk or 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • salt and pepper, to taste
Instructions
  1. Heat 2 tablespoons ghee in a 2 1/2 quart Dutch oven over high heat and cook the veal until browned on all sides, 3 to 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium and add the onion and cloves; continue cooking, stirring frequently, until the onion softens and is beginning to turn translucent, about 5 minutes more.
  2. Add the carrot, celery, thyme and bay leaf to the pot and stir in the chicken stock. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil; reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 1 1/2 hours, or until the veal is tender. 20 minutes before the stew is done, add the potatoes to the Dutch oven, recover, and cook until the potatoes are fork tender.
  3. After the potatoes have been added to the stew, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of ghee in a sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms in a single layer, taking care not to crowd them, and cook, turning frequently, until the mushrooms are nicely browned. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside.
  4. Once the meat and potatoes are done, remove them from the Dutch oven using a slotted spoon and add them to the mushrooms in the sauté pan; keep warm. Pick the thyme sprigs and bay leaf from the the liquid in the pot (you may also remove the celery if you wish).
  5. Whisk egg yolks and coconut milk or heavy cream together in a bowl, and slowly stir into the liquid in the Dutch oven. Cook over very low heat for 10 minutes, stirring frequently, taking care not to let the mixture boil. Return the meat, potatoes and mushrooms to the pot; stir in the lemon juice. Taste, season as needed with salt and pepper, and serve.
  6. Nutrition (per serving): 604 calories, 30.8g total fat, 263.8mg cholesterol, 490.9mg sodium, 1657.5mg potassium, 46.5g carbohydrates, 5.4g fiber, 8.4g sugar, 35.9g protein.

 

Indian-Spiced Sweet Potatoes

Good Monday morning, everyone! I had a very nice weekend, especially Sunday – I actually got some rest.  Wow.  I wish I could say the same about Beloved, who decided it was a great day to cut down a tree in our backyard.  In the evening we had The G Man, who has decided that not only does Meema make the best french fries ever, but that Christmas Drink – known to the rest of us as “egg nog” – should be served with every meal for the rest of his life.

What?  Meemas are allowed to feed their grandsons french fries and egg nog for dinner once in awhile.  (He got a hamburger and applesauce, too.)

I’m excited for this week, if for no other reason that next weekend starts (for our company, anyway) at noon on Wednesday.  Thursday, of course, is Thanksgiving in the United States, which officially begins the Holiday Season here.  We close our office the Friday after; our clients are all retailers (most of them are fashion retailers) and they’re going to be far too busy with Black Friday to call us, so we take advantage of that.  It will be nice to have four full days away from our office, and I have a long-standing rule that no business may be discussed for the duration of those days.

But on to today’s recipe – it’s a marvelous preparation of roasted sweet potatoes, of which I have an abundance right now.  The Young One usually spends Friday nights at one friend or another’s house, so Beloved and I will often take advantage of that and either have something for dinner that The Young One is not fond of, or make something special that we don’t want to feed a teenage bottomless pit.

This Friday was a bit of both; we had steaks – a filet for me, and a dry-aged ribeye for Beloved – braised kale and these sweet ‘taters.  I wasn’t particularly excited to make dinner, but when I began looking through my spice cabinet (which is huge), I just started pulling out spices and before I knew it I had everything to make this very delicious and very simple side dish.  It was really, really good.

The list of ingredients is long, but remember it’s just spices; this really does come together quickly and easily.

The recipe is not only Whole30 compliant, but vegetarian as well.  If you sub the ghee with olive oil, these will be vegan.  I know, I know…but it happens sometimes. 😛

Indian-Spiced Sweet Potatoes
Indian-Spiced Sweet Potatoes
Indian-Spiced Sweet Potatoes

Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 2 large sweet potatoes, cut into 1 1/2″ cubes
  • 2 tablespoons ghee or butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne, or to taste
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425 F.
  2. Combine all of the ingredients in a large mixing bowl; toss until the potatoes are completely and evenly coated.
  3. Spread the sweet potatoes evenly on a large, shallow, rimmed baking sheet and roast for 30 minutes or until the potatoes are crisp and golden brown, stirring every 10 minutes.
  4. Serve immediately.
  5. Nutrition (per serving): 112 calories, 6g total fat, 15.3mg cholesterol, 507.5mg sodium, 246mg potassium, 14.1g carbohydrates, 2.5g fiber, 2.8g sugar, 1.3g protein

 

Roast Beef with Mushroom-Brandy Sauce

I had been pretty apathetic about Thanksgiving until the last day or two; now I’m beginning to look forward to it, if for no other reason than I get five days off from work.  Yes, I’ll spend two of those days cooking, but I don’t mind – I won’t have to cook Friday, which will be nice.  The Saturday after Thanksgiving is always the day we decorate the house for Christmas, and this year we’re having The G Man over to help.  He’s never seen Meema’s Santa and snowman collection, or our upside-down Christmas tree, and I think he’ll have a good time.  I know I will.

In the meantime, I have a backlog of quite a few recipes to choose from, and had a dickens of a time deciding which one to post today.  In the end, I decided on this one – it’s a really lovely special-occasion type of meal, and while it looks long and involved, it’s really not.  You slow-roast an eye of round roast (or roast of your choice), and make a mushroom-brandy sauce to serve over it.

A delicious mushroom-brandy sauce, if I do say so.

At any rate, I thought it might be a nice option to have for those who prefer a more non-traditional main course for Thanksgiving; it would also make a very nice Christmas Eve or Christmas night dinner, too.   I served this with a puree of purple cauliflower, which was just so pretty, and some glazed carrots – it was a very nice, very tasty dinner, worthy of a holiday table.

Roast Beef with Mushroom-Brandy Sauce
Roast Beef with Mushroom-Brandy Sauce
Roast Beef with Mushroom-Brandy Sauce

Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 2 1/2 pound eye of round roast
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • Sauce
  • 2 tablespoons ghee or clarified butter, divided
  • 8 ounces white button mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 small onion, very thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup brandy, divided
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk or half and half
  • 2 tablespoons tapioca flour
  • 1 cup beef stock, preferably homemade
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 F.
  2. Rub the roast with the olive oil, thyme, salt, pepper and garlic. Place roast on a vented roasting pan and set in the middle of the oven; roast at 400 F for 20 minutes, then turn the oven off and open the door, leaving the roast
  3. in the oven for 5 to 7 minutes.
  4. Place the probe of an oven safe meat thermometer into the center of the roast; take care that it is not touching bone, fat or gristle. Close the door and set the oven to 200 F. Continue roasting until the thermometer reaches 130 F for rare or 140 F for medium rare. Remove the roast from the oven and loosely tent with foil; allow to rest for at least 15 minutes before carving.
  5. While the roast is in the oven, heat 1 tablespoon of the ghee in a large skillet over medium-high heat and, taking care not to crowd them, cook the mushrooms until golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.
  6. Add the remaining tablespoon of ghee to the skillet and reduce the heat to medium low. Cook the onions, stirring frequently, until they are golden brown and beginning to caramelize, 15 to 20 minutes.
  7. Increase the heat under the skillet to medium and return the mushrooms to the pan; add 2 tablespoons of brandy and stir for 20 seconds. Add the coconut milk or half and half and cook, stirring constantly, until almost all of the liquid is absorbed, about 3 minutes.
  8. Sprinkle the mushroom mixture with the tapioca flour and stir to coat; add the remaining brandy to the pan. Increase the heat to high and stir in the beef stock; bring to a boil, stirring constantly, then reduce the heat to medium and simmer until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Taste, and season as needed with salt and pepper.
  9. Serve the mushroom-brandy sauce over the thinly sliced roast beef.
  10. Nutrition (per serving): 384 calories, 16.5g total fat, 95.1mg cholesterol, 830.6mg sodium, 911.8mg potassium, 5.9g carbohydrates, <1g fiber, 1.3g sugar, 45.5g protein

 

Thanksgiving Menu, 2012 Edition

I was going to do a huge rant today about Mayor Michael Bloomerg’s latest idiocy –  he has now banned donations to NYC homeless shelters because the city can’t monitor the fat, sodium and sugar content of the food being donated – but I just don’t have the energy.  And I’m afraid my head will explode in the process.  (If you’re not worried about your head exploding, click the link; you’ll just be amazed.  And, I hope, appalled.)

So in the interest of keeping my brains intact – my laptop, after all, is practically brand-new and I hear exploded brains are a bitch to clean up – I’ll swagger a little instead and tell you that The Young One, who made the honor roll the first grading period this year, has already been accepted to the university of his choice, Kent State.  (I do my best, every time he mentions it, not to start singing, “Tin soldiers and Nixon coming, we’re finally on our own. This summer I hear the drumming, four dead in O-hi-o…”  Thank you, Neil Young.)  It looks like there might be some sort of a scholarship in all of this, too.

I’m proud of the boy.  Especially because it got him to call his grandmother without being nagged.

At any rate, while I was talking to Darling Daughter last night about her Thanksgiving plans, my own menu finally came together.  And since I post it every year, well…here you are.  I’ve linked to recipes I’ve posted before.

The Turkey From Hell.  Needless to say, our turkeys are now pastured and the wheat flour used for the roasting bag has been replaced with tapioca flour, but other than that, the recipe is essentially the same.  I’ll probably make some giblet gravy to go with it, using tapioca flour, since Beloved loves it so.

Fermented Cranberry-Orange Chutney.  Because I’m absolutely in love with it and have an entire quart in my fridge and isn’t that convenient?

My Grandmother’s Cornbread Dressing.  I found a recipe on the internet that is very close to my own for gluten-free cornbread, using alternative flours rather than wheat flour, which it claims is indistinguishable from the “real thing.”  Since I cannot imagine Thanksgiving dinner without cornbread dressing, I’m making it, enjoying it, and giving the leftovers away.  Well, most of them, anyway.

Bourbon Molasses Sweet Potatoes with Buttered Pecans.  I haven’t made this for two or three years, but it’s just a marvelous dish.  Beloved really likes it, and so do I, so it’s back on the menu.  I’ll either skip the brown sugar or substitute it with evaporated cane juice.

Roasted Garlic White Cheddar Mashed Potatoes.  The Young One does not care for cornbread dressing or sweet potatoes – don’t ask me; the kid is just odd – so I will make this as well.  Gladly, actually, since they are the best mashed potatoes I’ve ever eaten.  (I will probably buy him some of those brown-and-serve rolls he’s so fond of, too – it is, after all, also his Thanksgiving dinner.)

Balsamic Glazed Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta.  This is an absolutely delicious dish guaranteed to convert even the most adamant Brussels sprout hater.  It’s also quite easy, and the pancetta and balsamic give it that “special occasion dish” aura.  My good friend Gretchen makes this every year, too.

Gluten-Free Apple Crisp.  Because, Holy Mother of Pearl, it was good.  VERY, VERY GOOD.

Crustless Lemon Chess Pie.  I can thank Darling Daughter for this one; she is going to bake a pie to take to the Thanksgiving dinner she’s going to, and when I suggested her great-grandmother’s Pumpkin Pie (which is simply the best pumpkin pie recipe in existence).  She said she’d done that last year, and thought she’d bake a lemon chess pie instead.  I gasped – it simply hadn’t occurred to me – and said, “You know…I could make that without a crust.  In individual ramekins, even, like a brulee.”  I glanced over to my left, and saw Beloved vigorously nodding his head YES.  I don’t know if I’ll go ahead and use white sugar in it, or evaporated cane juice just so I can feel a little bit better about all the sugar, carbohydrates and dairy I’ll be consuming that day.  But whatever I do, I’ll post the recipe afterwards, because Lemon Chess Pie, with or without a crust, is a thing of beauty.

So that’s it.  Nothing excessive – trust me, I’ve done excessive in the past, and probably would be again this year if I were going to have a houseful – but fancy, and satisfying, enough for the holiday.

What are you doing for Thanksgiving?  If you’re cooking it yourself and follow a certain way of eating, such as paleo, will you try to keep your dinner in line with your diet, or will you throw caution to the wind and make some favorite traditional dishes because it just wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without them?

Winter Squash Fritters

And here it is, Tuesday.  We’re just 9 days shy of Beloved’s favorite holiday, Thanksgiving (“You get to eat too much, drink too much, watch football and you don’t have to buy anyone a present.”).  I still have no idea what I’m cooking, beyond the turkey, which is pretty unusual for me.  Maybe I’ll just say, “To hell with it” and serve roasted turkey and fermented cranberry orange chutney.  If you want anything else, cook it yourself.

Oh, you know that won’t happen.  I’ll keep you updated on what I decide to serve, if I can ever muster some enthusiasm and make up my mind.

Anyhoo.  I’ve been having a bit of a “side dish” dilemma, mostly centered around our stockpile of winter squashes in the basement.  There are quite a few acorn and sweet dumpling squashes down there, and they’re usually the last to be eaten.  This is mostly due to the fact that almost every recipe you come across calling for one or the other consists of roasting and/or stuffing – once in awhile, you can find a soup recipe, but there are other squashes, such as hubbard and butternut, that are much more suitable for soup.

At any rate, the evening I made the World’s Moistest Chicken, I also roasted a sweet dumpling squash, just to use one; I had a vague idea about mashing it with some ghee or coconut oil, salt and pepper and just serving it that way.  Then I thought, “I could make it a nice puree if I put it in the food processor.”  The next thing I knew, I was mixing it up with a bunch of stuff and pan-frying it in ghee.

And so I present to you:  Winter Squash Fritters.  Crispy on the outside, creamy on the inside, with some added crunch from the onion and celery.  Beloved gobbled them up, and I have to admit I enjoyed them quite a bit, too.  They’d also make a great breakfast or brunch side dish, and are just lovely topped with my friend Alex’s Kirby Ketchup.

Note:  You can make these Whole30 compliant by substituting the potato flour with about half the amount of coconut flour.

Winter Squash Fritter
Winter Squash Fritter
Winter Squash Fritters

Serves: 8
Ingredients
  • 3 cups roasted winter squash, such as acorn or sweet dumpling
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped celery
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 1/4 cup tapioca flour
  • 2 tablespoons potato flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher or sea salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 cup ghee or clarified butter
Instructions
  1. Puree the roasted squash in a food processor blender until smooth; scrape into a large mixing bowl.
  2. Whisk the beaten eggs into the squash, then stir in the remaining ingredients except the ghee until well-blended.
  3. Heat the ghee in a large skillet over medium-high heat until a drop of water added to the pan sizzles. Working in batches, pour the fritter batter by 1/4 cupfuls into the skillet and fry until golden brown, about 3 to 4 minutes per side. Allow to drain briefly on paper towels and serve immediately.
  4. Nutrition (per serving): 183 calories, 10.1g total fat, 61.8mg cholesterol, 382.6mg sodium, 501.5mg potassium, 20.7g carbohydrates, 5.2g fiber, <1g sugar, 3g protein