Brown Veal Stew with Tomatoes and Mushrooms
3 lbs. veal stew meat cut into 2-ounce, 2-inch pieces
2 to 3 T. olive oil, more if needed
1 C. minced yellow onions
1 t. salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 T. flour
2 C. dry white wine or dry white vermouth
1 lb. firm, ripe, red tomatoes, peeled, seeded, juiced and roughly chopped (1 1/2 cups) or 1 C. drained and chopped canned tomatoes or tomato puree
1/2 t. basil or tarragon
1/2 t. thyme
3-inch strip of orange peel, 1/2 inch wide or 1/2 teaspoon bottled ground orange peel
2 cloves mashed garlic
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 lb. fresh button mushrooms or quartered larger mushrooms
1/2 T. cornstarch mixed with 1 tablespoon water, if needed
2 to 3 T. minced fresh tarragon, basil or parsley
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Dry veal on paper towels. Heat oil in the skillet until almost smoking. Then brown meat, a few pieces at a time, and arrange browned pieces in casserole.
Lower heat to moderate. Pour all but a tablespoon of oil out of the skillet, and brown the onions lightly for 5 to 6 minutes.
While onions are browning, toss meat in casserole with salt and pepper, then with the flour. Toss and stir over moderate heat for 3 to 4 minutes to brown the flour lightly. Remove from heat.
Add wine to skillet with browned onions. Boil for 1 minute, scraping up coagulated saute juices. Pour wine and onions into casserole and bring to simmer, shaking and stirring to mix liquid and flour.
Stir tomatoes into casserole. Add herbs, orange peel and garlic.
Bring again to simmer and season lightly to taste. Cover and set in lower third of oven to simmer slowly for 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours, or until the meat is almost tender when pierced with a fork.
Add mushrooms to casserole and baste them with sauce. Bring to simmer on top of stove. Then cover and return casserole to oven for 15 minutes more.
Remove casserole from oven. Pour contents into a sieve placed over a saucepan. Remove strip of orange peel and return meat and vegetables to casserole. Skim fat off sauce in saucepan and boil sauce down rapidly until it has reduced to about 2 1/2 cups. It should be lightly thickened and a rich reddish brown.
If too thin, blend in corn starch and water and simmer for 2 minutes. Correct seasoning, and pour sauce back over veal.
May be done ahead to this point. Set aside; cover askew.
Shortly before serving, cover and bring to simmer for 5 to 10 minutes. Present the stew in its casserole, or on a platter surrounded by rice or noodles. Decorate with fresh herbs.