Every eater has limits. It might be something simple, like avoiding raisins in other foods (unless it’s chocolate). It might be something broader, like avoiding whole categories of food for health or ethical reasons.
Though I have a few mild food sensitivities, I don’t talk about them much.They’re boring, annoying, and better kept to myself. I do talk about eating gluten-free, since that’s an absolute necessity for my partner. I’ve also talked a little bit about his movement toward eating vegan or vegetarian most of the time, since that can affect what I post for French Fridays. Some dishes, like the one I’m posting about today, have to wait until I’m cooking for meat-eaters.
Most of my decisions about what I cook and eat are based on some broad parameters, that I adjust as necessary. I try to eat fresh, local, sustainable, in season, and organic as often as I can. I try to shop at locally-owned places more often than I do at large chains. I try to eat meat less often than I eat vegetarian or vegan.
There are always exceptions, of course. There are national brands that I trust. Sometimes I shop for the items I need for a particular recipe, rather than cooking what’s in season. Sometimes a frozen vegetarian pot pie is the best option for a busy night.
There are also a few things I never budge on. Veal is one of them. I just don’t feel right about eating it. So, I don’t. Instead, I usually substitute wild venison wherever it’s called for. I’m lucky enough to have access to wild meat from hunters I trust. That said, I know that my choice is an arbitrary one in a food system that’s often broken. I’m sure that I’m ignoring other food choices I make that are equivalent to veal’s problems. I certainly wouldn’t condemn anyone else for their choices around eating. There are far too many factors that govern where each person’s choices and limits lie.
At any rate, this recipe is a winner whatever you choose to feature as your protein. It’s also at least as full of healthy vegetables as it is protein. The secret is in the sauce. The usual aromatics are cooked with the meat, but at the end, cups and cups of fresh arugula, spinach, dill, parsley, and tarragon are added to the broth, along with a little crème fraîche (or in my case, some sour cream I already had in the refrigerator).
The result is a vibrant green sauce that tastes as much of the greens and herbs as it does the broth. We had the stew over potatoes I’d roasted with garlic and rosemary the first night. The next night, the leftover sauce topped simply roasted chicken thighs, with a salad on the side. There was still a little sauce left over after that, so it went into the freezer to be used to flavour a soup some time.
I could see this sauce as an accompaniment for any number of proteins or poured over all sorts of roasted vegetables. It’s one I’m going to come back to over and over again, I can tell. Without reservation.
You can find out what the rest of the French Fridays crew got up to this week here: Smoked Salmon Waffles And here is the link to the rest of the group’s thoughts about this recipe: Green As Spring Veal Stew