Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Veal Casserole

You can probably tell that I quite enjoy blogging about food, and recipes. But so far I have only indulged my sweet tooth. This is mainly because when people come to our house it’s “yaddah-yaddah-yaddah hurry up and eat this main course. Oh good! It’s dessert time!” I never intended to be good with desserts, it just happened. And strangely, I’m more of a savoury person. (That implies I don’t eat sweet foods. I do. A lot. But I’d choose a chicken over cheesecake for my desert island food.)

So, as we had a casserole last night I thought bugger it. I’ll blog about this today. Now I can literally hear some little moans. If you’re against veal (I like to try and use veal that’s as humanely kept as possible, where I can!) then just use chick thighs. (Yes thighs. Not breasts.)

This started when my parents brought us some lovely veal back from France (they take weekends to stock up on meats, and mushrooms and wine, and what not) and I had no idea what to do with it. So I chucked lots of things we liked in a pan, crossed my fingers and it was lovely :]

Normally, I see casseroles as winter food but my partner could have this all year round, every night of the week. In fact, he had it for tea last night, lunch today, and he’s getting it for tea tonight too! (And chances are tomorrow’s lunch as well….)

Stuff you’ll need. I estimate everything I cook so I’m afraid this is all a bit fo guess work!

Shallots (those long, large ones)
Garlic Oil
Sweet Potatoes
Pearl Barley
Lemon Thyme
An Orange
Concentrated Chicken Stock
Gigantes beans, in a jar in a tomato-y sauce from Sainsbury’s

The oven should be pre-heated to around 180 to 200 degrees. I’m not sure what gas mark that is? Sorry.

Firstly, you need to brown some veal, (preferably in a cast iron pan that can do the frying and the cooking) in some garlic oil.

And then fry two large shallots and 6 (trust me….) cloves of garlic in the same pan, in the lovely meaty juicey stuff.

Once all that’s done, you need to add the meat back to the pan and take off the heat. While they were frying I peeled two medium sweet potatoes and chopped them into large chunks. Add that to the pan and 4-5 small handfuls of pearl barley.

Then, I made 1¾ litres of stock to add. I juiced a whole orange in to the jug and I added the tomato sauce (or as much as I could get without adding the beans) from the gigantes beans, a large splash (or two) or port and 3-4 teaspoons of Knorr liquid chicken stock. I then topped this all up with boiling water, and poured over the stuff.

Give that a good mix up, and then add some black pepper (you don’t need salt, as the chicken stock is salty and you can always season at the end), sugar and the herbs. I added some lemon thyme whole and pulled some off, and added the rosemary whole.

Pop the lid on, and in to the oven!

(I was going to take a picture in the oven but it’s ridiculously dirty!)

Stir this occasionally. It should cook for around 2 hours.

After an hour, remove from the oven and add another 4-5 handfuls of pearl barley. It gives a nice difference in textures. I’m not sure if you then end up with some overdone pearl barley, and some perfectly cooked. Or if you end up with some perfectly cooked, and some a bit raw. But it tastes good :]

Ten minutes before it’s done, add the beans in. (That was just before the beans and just ignore the fact that I threw some all over the hob…..)

And there you go! Casserole :]

Enjoy! x

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