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Spring Veal Stew

If fresh peas are available, substitute 2 lb. peas in the pod for the frozen peas. Shell them and add to the stew along with the other vegetables.

Ingredients:

  • 3 lb. boneless veal shank or shoulder, cut into 2-inch cubes
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 3 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 3 Tbs. olive oil
  • 2 leeks, white and pale green portions, halved, rinsed and thinly sliced
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 2 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 1/2 lb. asparagus, tough ends removed and spears coarsely chopped
  • 6 oz. button or cremini mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 lb. frozen peas
  • 1/2 cup crème fraîche or sour cream
  • 3 Tbs. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Directions:

Brown the veal
Season the veal cubes with salt and pepper. In a large fry pan over medium-high heat, melt the butter with the olive oil. Working in batches if needed to avoid crowding, add the veal and cook until golden brown on all sides, 7 to 10 minutes total. Add the leeks and sauté until they start to soften, about 3 minutes more. Transfer the veal and leeks to a slow cooker.

Cook the stew
Return the pan to medium-high heat, add the wine and deglaze the pan, stirring to scrape up the browned bits from the pan bottom. Bring the wine to a boil and pour over the veal. Add the thyme sprigs, cover and cook on high for 3 hours or on low for 6 to 6 1/2 hours according to the manufacturer's instructions.

Add the vegetables
Add the asparagus, mushrooms and peas to the slow cooker and stir to combine. Cover and continue cooking until the vegetables are tender, 20 to 30 minutes. Remove the thyme sprigs and discard. Stir in the crème fraîche until it is blended with the cooking juices. Season the stew with salt and pepper.

Spoon the stew into shallow bowls, garnish with the parsley and serve immediately. Serves 6 to 8.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Food Made Fast Series, Slow Cooker, by Norman Kolpas (Oxmoor House, 2007).