Thursday, October 7, 2010



Many a man curses the rain that falls upon his head, and knows not that it brings abundance to drive away the hunger.
~Saint Basil

The rain has begun. It has washed away the golden glow of autumn, the brilliantly blue skies have melted into unpolished pewter, the gentle cool breeze has yielded to the cruel, chill wind and icy patter of rain. Rain, incessant rain, has taken over our world and wrapped us in her gloomy blanket of gray. The dampness seeps into our bones and we huddle together for warmth. And we dream of stew. Soup is fine and dandy for some, but nothing warms you to the marrow like a thick, rich, hearty stew. Chunks of meltingly tender meat long-simmered in a rich broth infused with the earthiness of thick slices of carrots, onions, mushrooms heightened by the gentle tang of white wine all blended together into a perfect mellow sensation. Served over rice or homemade pasta to be slurped up with the last of the sauce as you push back your chair from the table, satisfied.

The first days of autumn, the bright sun adding a gentle warmth to the mellowing temperatures, the crackle of gold and red leaves underfoot, bring a joy to my heart and a spring to my step. It is absolutely my favorite season. Weekends are spent walking the dog through the vineyards outside of Nantes or taking strolls through the city. The summer fruits are making way for the burnt orange of pumpkins and sweet potatoes, the deep violets of figs and plums, the tumble of grapes and the pyramids of pale green pears and apples snuggled up next to the warm woodsy browns of the walnuts and chestnuts. But then all is suddenly washed away as the rains sweep in, calling our attention to the change of seasons like a slap in the face.

Don't threaten me with love, baby. Let's just go walking in the rain.
~ Billie Holiday

I love the rain. I love being snuggled up inside as the water drizzles down the windowpanes and spatters on the cobblestones outside. It is the ultimate in cozy: sipping coffee, nestled in one’s favorite armchair, book in hand listening to the rhythmic patter of raindrops on the roof. Even the flash of lightening and the distant groan of thunder are exciting when warm and snug inside. But when the rain and the cold let themselves in and bring with them an unexpected dampness, forgotten sometime through the heat of the summer, and sitting still for even a few minutes has us grabbing for a thick, down-filled comforter and slipping on a second pair of socks, then all I want to do is migrate towards the kitchen, push baking sheets of dough into the oven as the heat and the smell of cinnamon wash over me and I simply begin to chop vegetables.

Some people walk in the rain, others just get wet.
~Roger Miller

This Autumn Veal Stew is simple, pure, uncluttered pleasure made with the most basic of ingredients: tender, slow-simmered meat, I chose veal today, the richness of tomato paste adding depth to the meaty sauce, a splash of wine and the hint of garlic bringing life and zing to the dish. The added texture and deeper, earthier flavor of a selection of mushrooms complements the usual, lowly carrot and onion and together they bring a luxuriousness to an otherwise simple stew.

The best thing one can do when it's raining is to let it rain.
~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

I was extremely excited to have my Fouace Nantaise featured on as The Daily Fare and Life's a Feast added to their Sites We Love club. I was proud and honored.


28 oz (800 g) veal for stew *
1 cup (125 g) flour seasoned with salt, pepper & smoky paprika for dredging veal
2 Tbs (30 g) butter or margarine + 2 Tbs olive oil
1 large yellow onion, trimmed, peeled and slice into 8 - 10 wedges (depending on size of onion)
1 or 2 carrots, trimmed, peeled and sliced into ¼-inch (½ cm) thick coins
2 - 3 cloves garlic, peeled, cloves crushed
2 Tbs or 1 small can tomato paste (concentrate)
1 cup (250 ml) dry white wine
1 cup (250 ml) water
Bouquet garni or 1 large bay leaf, 1 branch rosemary & a few branches fresh or dried thyme
½ - 1 tsp smoky paprika, to taste
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbs (30 g) butter or margarine
10 oz (300 g) fresh mushrooms of choice

* I used both ossobuco and veal shoulder. I found the ossobuco came out much more tender and I’ll use only this cut for future stews. You can also make this with chunks of lamb shoulder.

Heat the butter or margarine with the olive oil in a large heavy pot over medium-high heat. Rinse and pat dry the pieces of veal then dredge each piece in the seasoned flour, making sure all sides are floured and shaking off the excess. Brown both sides of the veal.

When the veal is browned on all sides, add the onion wedges, the carrot coins and the crushed garlic. Tossing often, cook the vegetables with the meat until the vegetables are beginning to color and are slightly tender.

Add the tomato paste, wine, water, herbs or bouquet garni, the salt, pepper and paprika. Stir to combine and then bring just up to the boil. Turn the heat to low, cover almost completely (I always leave the lid slightly ajar to allow steam to escape so the sauce thickens) and allow to simmer for 1 hour.

About 15 minutes before the end of cooking, clean and trim the mushrooms and cut into large chunks. Sauté the mushroom chunks in butter or margarine until softened and beginning to brown around the edges. Salt and pepper. Feel free to add a squeeze of lemon if you like. Add the cooked mushrooms to the stew for the last 10 to 15 minutes of cooking.

Check the meat and allow to cook a bit more if not yet ideally tender. Top up the sauce with a bit more water if it evaporates or thickens too quickly. Taste and adjust seasonings towards the end of cooking.

Serve over rice or pasta.


MeetaK said...

what a warming looking stew. unfortunately i do not share your love for rain LOL! unless it's a warm summer one - but i do share your love for autumnal stews and this looks amazing!

Happy Cook said...

I agree with Meeta I don't share the love of rian unless if it is insummer. Love the stew that is indeed a delcious comforting food.

Baker Street said...

i absolutely love the rain!! and the stew looks just awesome! :)

Barbara said...

In Queensland we get our rain in summer. We barely see autumn, sadly,as it is my favourite season. I went out to photograph some spring blossoms today and even spring has been just a 2 week affair.

THe veal stew looks delicious Jamie.

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Here, we didn't get much rain. I must say that it is very sunny and warm! I love autumn...

That is alovely dish! So comforting, warming and mouthwatering.



Cake Duchess said...

I love the rain like you do Jamie. We sometimes get so much of it here and it is often a reprise to the stifling heat.:)
This stew looks delicious. When can I come over for a plate?;)
Bacillus, besos.

girlichef said...

I'm with you, my friend...I love rain! Cozying up with a bowl of your beautiful, warming stew on a rainy day would make me infinitely happy :). And congrats on the Saveur feature...I'm still waiting for the day... ;)

the lacquer spoon said...

Utterly beautiful stew to expel the rainy blues! It rains a lot in September in Japan, so everyday is about stews ;)

Les rêves d'une boulangère (Brittany) said...

Meat is always best when cooked slowly in a stew or casserole. Fabulous looking dish. I love the colours; it even looks warming and hearty!

The Souper said...

Your veal stew looks delicious. Will give this recipe a try.

The Souper

Betty Bake said...

aaah thank you so very much for the lovely and kind comment on my blog :) it really made my day - really.

you stew is making me hungry (tummy grumbling)

Betty Bake Blog

doggybloggy said...

that veal shank looks so incredibly inviting - the marrow is calling out to terms of rain versus snow or anything else I vote only for rain if I get to stay in - snow is way more fun to walk around rains a lot in NYC so I guess the charm wears off....

Jamie said...

@doggybloggy - Yes but you get more snow in NYC than we do so lucky you.

@Meeta & @Happy Cook - I think I like rain less in the summer. But again, I love it when I can stay inside baking cookies and reading.

@cake duchess - Ah what is exciting about Florida rain is that the sky goes pitch black and there is all that thunder and lightening. All very exciting and mysterious, don't you think?

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

Jamie, that's so utterly luscious I would just love to sink my teeth into it! Look at how deliciously glossy and inviting that sauce is! And I'm with you, I love rain when I'm in my kitchen and doing prep work :)

Cathy said...

We'll soon be in our rainy season here as well and its time to bring out the dutch oven and make hearty, tummy warming dishes like this. Looks like a wonderful recipe, Jamie.

Heavenly Housewife said...

I like the rain when i am nice and cozy inside, but if i'm stuck in it without an umbrella... not so much. This is the definitely perfect rainy day dinner. Your husband is a very lucky man daaaaahling, make sure he knows it ;)
*kisses* HH

Jamie said...

@Lorraine - Exactly! Lovely rain when we are inside cooking!

@Cathy - and where you are it really rains!

@Heavenly H - Dahling, I remind him all the time! xx

Nuts about food said...

I had never thought of using ossobuco in stew; now that you did it seems like such an obvious choice, tender as it is. I almost wish it were raining again outside.

Mary said...

What a lovely stew. Veal is very difficult to buy in the area where I live, but "blanquette" is one of my all time favorite foods. I'll now have to add your lovely stew to my very short list of veal stews. I hope all is well and that you are having a great day. Blessings...Mary

elra said...

Love how silky your stew look, I am sure it is very comforting to have this for supper on a chilly night.

lisaiscooking said...

It's actually been cool here for a week or so. It's amazing to wake up to cool, dry mornings, and it makes me want soups and stews. I think I'm ready for fall this year! I love the look of your stew.

shaz said...

Congrats Jamie on the saveur site mention, well done. And I do love a good stew when it rains. But I also like it when the rains stops :)

RamblingTart said...

I'm smiling cuz I'm wearing two pairs of socks to keep warm tonight as well!! :-) Marvy looking stew, Jamie. I rarely ever cook with veal, but this looks so scrumptious I will have to remind myself pick some up soon. :-)

Sarah, Maison Cupcake said...

This looks fantastic, I could do with warming up with this... even though the UK is set for an Indian summer this weekend!

Deeba PAB said...

Love it that the 'feast' is warming up here Jamie. I like rain {other than for feet}, and I like the sun too, but I love the way your stew looks the best! NICE!!

Julia (A Slice of Cherry Pie) said...

Oh! I love the rain too, Jamie! I have a little entry in my cookbook all about it and a chapter called 'Rain on Glass'. x

Jamie said...

@Julia - I can't wait to see your cookbook!

Joanne said...

I am way more of a stew person than a soup person. there's something about the added texture, the thickness that coats your tongue, that is just so glorious. Definitely perfect for a rainy day, which I only enjoy when I have nowhere to go and can sit quietly in my apartment and watch it. Storms aren't as fun when you're standing outside waiting for a bus that never seems to come, I'll tell you that. The autumn flavors in this soup are spot on. Love it.

Sara@OneTribeGourmet said...

Loved the Veal Stew! So comforting & delicious! Yum!

Spoon and Chopsticks said...

I love rain when I stay indoors...

Your stew looks awesome. Love the colours.

Joudie's Mood Food said...

This stew looks incredible and full of flavour. I love stews and now that autumn has clearly arrived it is something that will be gracing my table very soon. Love veal, love stew, love this recipe!

asiangrrl said...

I love the rain as well. Autumn is my second-favorite season. Unfortunately, the weather here is stubbornly refusing to drop (unseasonable highs in the sixties), and nary a drop of rain to be found. Stew is perfect for autumn, and yours looks wonderful.


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