Veal Marengo…and Freezer Protection

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I don't know how many of you watched 'Friends'.  Those who did will remember the episode.  For those who didn't a brief description:

Joey, that pillar of male intellect, was reading a book.

A rarity for Joey. 

It was 'The Shining' by Stephen King.  Whenever he got to the scary parts, he would slam the book shut and put it into the freezer.  Apparently this was to protect him.

Yesterday I put all of the remaining cookies and truffles in the freezer; to protect me.

Think it will work?

Nah, me neither!

For some reason all of my much bragged about, self-proclaimed, self-control leaves me from December 12 through January 2. 

At that point I'll remember that I have an annual physical scheduled for 2 weeks hence, a trip to the U.S. scheduled for February (stupid time to travel to the Midwest) and I will be slapping my forehead wondering how I could be so lax in my self-discipline.  I will then put myself on bread and water for life.

Fortunately, that's still 5 days away…excuse me while I go get a cookie….(maybe two – after all, it's a long way to the freezer)

TableEnough with the cookies, chocolates and sweets!

We do eat other foods at this time of year; some of them classic holiday fare; some our own personal traditions.

This was our table and our first course on Christmas Eve: Smoked Salmon with Champagne.

With the salmon we had the traditional egg, lemon and buttered bread.  Mon mari also likes capers and minced shallots with his.

(You'll have to come back for the second course of Standing Rib Roast with Yorkshire Pudding.)

Since it is such a busy time of year I like to fix things that require little attention but are still, in my humble opinion, suited to the holidays.

Like Veal Marengo.

The lovely Ruth of Once Upon A Feast knows that pasta is always a great dish for busy times.

As this will be the last round-up of Presto Pasta Night for 2007, and we're in the throes of leftovers, she is expecting lots of turkey (and maybe ham) pasta dishes.

Not from me – square peg/round hole and all that!

Check her blog on Friday for the recap of pasta from around the world and some new ideas for great pastas!

I've made this in the oven, in a crockpot (back when I had one) and braised in my Dutch oven (my preferred method).

You can have it done in 90 minutes or let it sit and simmer all day.  I love versatile food!  You can serve it over gnocchi, pasta or egg noodles.  I'm using pasta. Unlike a lot of Italian sauces, this is very light on tomatoes, just enough for some flavor.

Veal Marengo

1 lb veal, suitable for braising – stew meat, shoulder, whatever the butcher suggests
1 tbs olive oilVealmarengo
2 tbs tomato paste
1 clove garlic
1/2 cup chicken stock
1 1/2 cup dry white wine
1 bouquet garni
1 tsp dried thyme
10 – 12 small shallots or 4 – 6 large ones
4 oz mushrooms
1 tbs butter
2 – 3 tbs cornstarch (maizena) dissolved in 3 tbs chicken stock

Cut veal into 1 1/2 inch (3.75cm) cubes.  Mince or crush garlic.  In a deep, heavy pan heat the oil over medium-high heat.  Add the veal and brown on all sides.  Add garlic, tomato paste, stock, wine, bouquet garni and thyme and bring to a boil.  Cover and reduce heat to low.  Simmer for 45 minutes.  Peel shallots.  Clean mushrooms.  If mushrooms are large cut in half or quarters.  Melt butter in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Add shallots and sauté until starting to brown, about 5 minutes.  Add mushrooms and sauté another 5 minutes, stirring often.  After the veal has simmered for 45 minutes add the shallots and mushrooms and simmer another 30 minutes or until vegetables are done.  With a slotted spoon remove the meat and vegetables to a serving dish.  Cover to keep warm.  Turn the heat to medium-high under the sauce.  Give the cornstarch mixture a stir and add to the sauce a little at a time until thickened to your liking.  Pour over the meat and vegetables and serve over gnocchi or pasta.

Last chance:

SkeletonsSaturday, is the last day to bear your foodie soul.  Final re-cap will be on Sunday.  Search your closet/pantry for skeletons.  Remember, confession is good.  It can, but doesn't have to, be an actual recipe.  It could just be the description of the, um, food or a story of the, um, event;  holiday related or not….
Really, any dirty little secret you feel like sharing!  You have until Christmas to post – the round-up will be just before Dec. 31.  The usual rules: post, link to me, send me an e-mail with permalink.  Click for details!

Come on, tell!  Share the pain…you'll feel better!  And so will we!

21 thoughts on “Veal Marengo…and Freezer Protection”

  1. Cookie temptations…I am goofy one who did twelve days of cookies. Ha! I think I am beginning to look like a cookie. This Veal Marengo looks delish. I have never heard of it. I love veal but always end up making it tough with the cooking. I have to keep this one in mind next time I pick up some veal.

  2. Never can have too many cookies during the holidays! If you didn’t, folks would think you have something wrong with you. I even made another batch yesterday! I am taking the same schedule of eating as you. So pile it on baby!
    Katie your Christmas table is absolutely beautiful:)
    And a BIG YUM on that pasta dish! Since it is so warm here and the family is not coming to visit until February, we have been grilling outside, taking the easy route this year on Christmas!

  3. BelliniValli, that is exactly what I keep telling myself – More Exercise!
    Chris, I was watching those 12 days of cookie Christmas….
    Thanks, Tanna, I like flexible dishes this time ot year…when naps are possibilities!
    Deb, I miss sunshine… You made cookies…AFTER Christmas? WOW!

  4. So now don’t I feel like an idiot….there was only one other entry (and even I don’t have one – no turkey or ham leftovers either), so I decided to save this fantastic veal marengo for the first Presto Pasta Night of 2008. Head back for the roundup next Friday – Jan 4.
    Thanks for being such a great PPNer (my fave) for 2007 and I look forward to lots more of your delicious dishes and great stories in 2008.
    Wishes for a very happy, healthy & prosperous 2008

  5. Freezing your cookies to stop (or at least slow down) eating them sounds like a good idea. Braised veal on pasta sounds really good!

  6. I’ve been purging leftover cookies from the house all week — unfortunately, some by eating them, but whenever possible I wrap them as gifts and bring them to the home of anyone who invites me for any reason! Cannot leave them sitting the freezer or, worse, on the countertop…. very dangerous.

  7. Oh, your Christmas Eve table is so beautiful! Thanks for sharing as the picture brought back many candlelit memories.
    If you’d like to swing by here on your trip to the US I can load you up with yet more cookies. 🙂

  8. Terry B, I’ll be in the Minneapolis area – both MN and WI – hope the snow stops!
    Ruth, I guess that proves that I’m always thinking about food – Happy New Year to you as well!
    Kevin, freezing the cookies was not as effectives ad I’d hoped…but their almost gone now!
    Gee, Thanks, Shayne….I could have handled a mild winter!
    Colleen, I’ve done that…
    Lydia, I could have left some in the post box….
    No more COOKIES, Lynn, but thanks for the lovely offer….
    Susan, that was the best thing about having an office – cookie dumping ground!
    Happy New Year!

  9. Amanda, mon mari want to build a BIG one. He’s been looking into buying all of the little figures…. I don’t even want to know where we’ll put it!

  10. It would be so special though. My Aunt’s is a 5 tier one. You can almost imagine going inside and living in there. I think the drugs for my back or making me go a bit bonkers! That said I do still think making one would be rather special.

  11. Amanda, that sounds gorgeous. In the Dresden area, where (I think) they originate, there are life-size ones in lots of the villages. Hope your back is okay!

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