Monday, December 20, 2010

Snacember 20

First off, CONGRATS to Riann, for winning the best kids holiday not only renewed a childn's faith in Santa, you made him excited to get underwear for Christmas.  Brava.  E-mail me your address at staceyballisinfo (at) gmail (dot) com and I will send you your Make Your Own Gummies Kit!

I don't know if it is cold where you are, but it is bitter here in Chicago!  And as we know, it stays this way for long stretches.  Like November thru May.

Chicagoans are proud of our ability to suffer the cold.  I am no exception.  I am one of those insane people who actually gears up to go to the Bears games in the winter...

I get this illness from my Dad, who has, as you can see, given it to my sister as well.

It is much more fun when they win, which they spectacularly did not on this occasion.  But I digress.

The thing about so much cold is that it requires a pretty serious repetoire of comforting stews and soups and such.  Because a warm bowl of comfort is much needed when one has done things like sit outside in 40 mile an hour winds and snow and ten below zero windchill to watch a team get spanked.


Eventually, you get a little tired of the standard chilis and ubiquitous beef stew.  And then you need something new.  Something fresh.

This is my twisty new take on an old French classic, Blanquette de Veau.  In the traditional Blanquette de Veau, a creamy veal stew, there is an abundance of mushrooms.


As I have mentioned before, HERE, I don't like most mushrooms.  I especially don't like the white button mushrooms that this dish calls for.  However, I do like veal, and creamy oniony sauces that get sopped up by rice or noodles or potatoes, and I especially like that it is a more elegant and refined stew, which makes it lovely for dinner parties. 

So, I changed it.  I swapped out the mushrooms (GACK!) for parsnips, which add the necessary vegetable bulk, and a subtle sweetness that actually works very well!  Yay me!  (A lot of recipes call for carrots, which I think are too sweet, and I don't love the orange color in my soothing pale stew.  Try the parsnips, they are just, well, better!)

Give it a try and let me know what you think. 

Stacey's Almost Blanquette De Veau

6 cups chicken stock
3 pounds veal shoulder in cubes
1 medium onion, quartered
1 celery stalk, in 1-inch pieces
2 leeks (white part), chopped
1 pound parsnips, peeled and cut into 1 inch pieces
4 sprigs thyme
3 T chopped flat leaf parsley
Salt and ground white pepper
10 ounces pearl onions, peeled
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup heavy cream

In a 4-5 quart casserole place stock, veal, onion, celery, leeks, thyme and parsley sprigs, and salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 1 1/2 hours, skimming frequently.

Boil pearl onions for 3 minutes. Drain. Heat oil and cook parsnips and onions until lightly colored and tender. Set aside

When the veal is tender, drain it. Reserve 3 cups stock, discarding vegetables and herbs. Wipe out casserole and melt butter in it. Whisk in flour, cook for a minute to get rid of the raw flour taste . Whisk in stock, cook 5 minutes until slightly thickened. Whisk in cream. Add veal, parsnips and onions. Simmer 5 minutes and taste for seasoning. Serve over rice, buttered noodles, sauteed gnocchi, or with buttered new potatoes, garnished with chopped parsley.

Do you have any classic dishes that you have altered to suit your personal tastes?  Do share with the class!

Yours in Good Taste,
The Polymath


  1. I watched that game on TV and I felt so bad for all of the Bears fans there. It's bad enough to be in the cold like that for a game, it's even worse when your team is losing.

    I'm going to the Pats game on January 2nd, and I hope it's a good one. Because it's going to be pretty damn cold otherwise.

  2. Veal = Yum. Mushrooms = Yuck. Way to change it up! It sounds great.

    That Sunday was insane. I hope you had a great time even with the crappy outcome. Cheers!