Veal Stew with Basil and Mushrooms

Veal stew is one of my favorite dishes and I make a number of different versions, but this one is my favorite. The keys to the recipe are (1) Use good veal. This is not always easy to do especially outside of large cities. Although butchers who cater to an Italian clientele are the most promising sources, really good veal is expensive. (2) Brown the meat well. Browning is time-consuming if done properly; it is also essential to producing a flavorful stew.

  • 5 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 3 lbs. veal cut from shank in 1 1/2 inch cubes
  • 2 Tbsp. garlic, minced
  • 1 c. white wine plus 1Tbsp.
  • 1/2 c.+ 2 Tbsp fresh basil leaves
  • 1 c. canned plum tomatoes
  • 2 c. mushroom in 3/4 in. cubes
  • 1Tbsp cornstarch
  • Dry veal cubes and season with salt and pepper. Heat 3 Tbsp oil in skillet or saute pan and brown veal cubes in small batches over medium-high heat. Put browned veal cubes in heavy 4 quart casserole. When all of the veal is browned, add garlic and brown, but do not burn. Deglaze with white wine, scraping caramelized juices from bottom of pan, and reduce to half. Add tomatoes and break up into small chunks with spoon. Chiffonade basil leaves and add, reserving 2 Tbsp. Simmer 2-3 mins, then add to veal cubes in casserole. Simmer casserole gently until veal is tender, 1 1 hr 15 mins.

    Add remaining 2 Tbsp oil to skillet and saute mushrooms under medium-high heat. Add to mixture in casserole. Mix 1 Tbsp wine and cornstarch, add to casserole, and simmer until stew thickens. Serve over noodles or polenta, garnished with basil.

    6 serving