Sunday, 16 October 2016

Tomato veal stew

Have you noticed how early it starts to get dark these days? And the mornings as well, it's still pretty dark when I get up. I love the early autumn, for its fruit and colours, but mid-and-late autumn are a bit depressing. When the alarm goes off, I open one eye, look at the window, blimey, it is still too dark, I wish I could snuggle in bed under my warm duvet for longer. I often fantasize about pretending that I never heard the alarm. What if we just keep sleeping? Skipping the school sounds very tempting. But then I know that I would never do it deliberately. So, off I skedaddle to the kitchen, put the kettle on, switch on the radio and start making breakfast for my guys.
Just a few days ago when we walked to school across the fields, all the grass was covered with frost.
The air is positively chilly. When it's getting colder, I cook a lot of soups and stews. What could be better than tucking into a hot savoury bowl, and mopping up all the sauce with a chunky bread. Sigh of pleasure. I do love good bread. That's why I will never regain my thin figure again.
Yesterday I cooked a tomato veal stew. My guys are not very keen on dumplings, so it was a slightly Italianate version, with Spanish wine, Italian tinned tomatoes, Polish soured gherkins and British pickled jalapenos. Rather pre-Brexit.

Talking of which, since we live in Cameron's former constituency, we are facing elections the next week. The onslaught of campaigning has been relentless. Especially from LibDems, every day there is a new envelope, addressed to us personally. I even had a call on my mobile, which to be honest, annoyed me big time. I said I never voted LibDem, and never will, still I got more papers through the door which went straight in the recycling bin. Couldn't they see the poster I put in the window "Vote Labour"?!
The other day some very young man knocked on the door, all dressed up smart, but looking like a 12-year-old and uttered an immortal phrase "May I inspire you to vote Conservative?" Arrrgghhh...

Tomato veal stew
275g veal cubed
1tsbp plain flour
6tbsp olive oil
1 big red onion
1 carrot
150ml red wine (rioja)
1 tin (440g) Cirio Tuscan chopped tomatoes (or any other good quality tinned tomatoes)
1 beef stock cube
4 potatoes
2 fresh sage leaves
a few pieces of pickled jalapenos (Deli Toppers from Baxter's)
sour gherkins to serve with (optional)

Dust the cubed veal with the plain flour. Heat up 3tbsp of olive oil, add the veal, cook stirring until browned on all sides. Put the veal in a big pan. Add more oil to the frying pan, where the veal was browned, add the finely chopped onion, cook stirring for 5 minutes, add the sliced carrot, and cook for another 5 minutes.
Put the onions and carrots in the pan with the veal.
Pour the red wine, a tin of tinned tomatoes, crumble a beef stock cube. Cover with hot water, and bring to the boil, then lower the heat and cook on low for about 40 minutes, simmering.
Peel and cube potatoes, add to the stew. Add more water, and about 2 tbsp of pickled jalapenos as well as some finely chopped sage.
Cook on low for another 20 minutes or so, until the potatoes are cooked soft.
Serve hot with a nice chunk of bread, and slice some gherkins too.

Elizabeth David was very adamant in her dislike of stock cubes. I've just been reading "Is there nutmeg in the house?", and oh my, she clearly hated them with vengeance. The book is very entertaining, but goodness, the lady was very opinionated and also with a long memory.
Unlike Ms David, I don't see them as enemies of foodies, they do add flavour, and if you don't mind extra salt, then just use less salt when cooking.

In this recipe, I used a tin of Cirio Tuscan chopped tomatoes. They give the perfect flavour, a good balance of sweetness and acidity.
I also added some Baxters Deli Toppers Jalapenos for an extra heat.

What are you cooking these days?


  1. Not had veal for ages, this looks a really warming meal. I will have to try it. I use stock cubes all the time

    1. Thank you, Alison! I use stock cubes or powder very often.