Veal Marengo

Veal Marengo, from the oven

Veal Marengo, from the oven

As the days are now getting shorter and cooler, thick delicious stews are more to my taste than lighter fare. I decided to give Julia Child’s Veal Marengo a try. I didn’t have mushrooms and I was a bit to lazy to go out after them. But I did have veal, onions, carrots, celery, dry vermouth and, now my favorite, albeit hefty cooking implement, the Cuisinart enameled casserole. Oh yes, I forgot, the canned tomatoes. When Julia was writing “Mastering The Art,…” canned tomatoes, not paste or sauce, usually came two ways, whole or stewed. Then diced tomatoes were introduced, then diced tomatoes with seasoning. I try to keep all varieties on hand, but occasionally I find I only have one or the other on hand. Tonight, I had a choice, basil and garlic or green chilies. I opted for the basil and garlic. Yes, she does list fresh tomatoes as a first choice and, yes, I had a some fresh tomatoes, did I mention about the lazy? But, I really wanted to find out how this dish fares, should I be stuck indoors with only canned goods, long keeping veggies, the carrot and the onion, and frozen meat and wanted an option that didn’t involve the words “beanie-spammie”. Did they really eat that?
One more bit of laziness, I skipped the brown the veal part, sort of. I decided to saute the onions first, toss the veal and flour in a plastic bag, then brown them with the onions. The only problem was the lack of space, so I had to take a few pieces of veal to another pan and brown them there. I used the vermouth to deglaze that pan, pouring the whole lot into the 97 pound enameled cast iron pot. Well, it doesn’t really weigh quite that much, just almost.
I popped the whole lot into the oven at 325 for 1 hour and half-ish. I ran a little late on starting the gemelli pasta over which to serve it. No troubles, that pot keeps anything hot. So it sat, happily on the stove, while the pasta cooked. You may wish to serve this with boiled potatoes, which is traditional, but it is exceptionally good over pasta.

Here are the stats:
2 T Olive oil (+2 T Olive oil if veal browned in a separate pan)
1 medium onion, small dice
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp tarragon
2 packages of veal, 1 of stew meat, one of bones for stewing, about 3.5 or so pounds
1 lb firm red tomatoes, peeled, seeded and diced
= or =
1 can diced tomatoes, may use basil and garlic seasoned
2 cloves mashed garlic ( omit if using garlic seasoned tomatoes)
Orange Zest or 3 inch strip of orange peel with no! pith!
2 cups vermouth
2 T flour, I’m pretty generous here, I’m sure they were heaping and I didn’t use a measuring spoon, but a serving spoon.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Adjust or remove racks as necessary.

Heat olive oil in casserole, on medium high. If you cook veal separately from the onions, you will need the extra olive oil for that pan.
Julia says to dry then brown the veal, then remove the veal, then cook the onions, add back the veal, toss with flour. This is great, provided you have the patience and energy to do it this way. I got lazy again, so I started the onions in the casserole, floured the veal in a big ziplock bag, browned some of the floured veal in the extra pan and some in the casserole. Since I emptied the bag of floured veal into the casserole I was assured of some thickening flour being in the bottom of the pan.

Once the veal and the flour are lightly browned add the wine, tomatoes, tarragon, thyme, salt and pepper, and orange zest. Pop on the lid, place in the bottom third of preheated 325 degree oven to simmer for the aforementioned 1 hour and a quarter or half-ish.

Even with all the short cuts that I made, this was an exceptional dish. My only wish is that we’d had some crusty french bread on hand to accompany it.

Bon Appetit!

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