Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Veal, Carrot and Chestnut Ragout

     A few weeks ago, Dear Husband was at Penn Mac and stumbled upon some fresh chestnuts.  A bag of them managed to come home with him and that meant Veal and Chestnut Ragu.  This recipe was published in Bon Appetit in 1997 and we have made this once every few years ever since then.  The dish hails from the Alba region of Italy and works wonderfully with a bottle of Dolcetto d'Alba, the wine of the region.  It is a light stew that lets the simple ingredients shine.  We normally roast our chestnuts for this but you could also buy chestnuts that have already been roasted.  

Veal, Carrot and Chestnut Ragout
from Bon Appetit, October 1997

Veal, Carrot and Chestnut Ragout


18 fresh chestnuts
2 1/2 pounds veal stew meat, cut into 2x1-inch pieces
4 T olive oil
1 1/2 c chopped onion
1 1/2 T chopped garlic
1 bay leaf
2 1/2 c chicken stock
3/4 c white wine
6 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
3 T chopped fresh sage

1.  Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Using a small knife, cut an X into each chestnut.  Place on a baking dish cut side up and roast for 20-30 minutes, until tender and the shells loosen.  Remove the shells (it is easier to do this while the nuts are still warm) and the brown skin from each nut and set aside.
2.  Pat veal cubes dry and season with salt and pepper.  Heat 2T oil in a large pot over medium high heat.  In batches, add veal and cook until brown on all sides, about 10 minutes.  Transfer to a bowl.
3.  Heat the remaining olive oil in the pot.  Add onion, garlic and bay leaf.  Reduce heat to medium and cook until tender about 5 minutes.  Stir in wine and broth.  Add veal and any accumulated juices.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat.  Cover and simmer 30-45 minutes until veal is tender.
4.  Add carrots.  Cover and cook until carrots are almost tender, 25 minutes.  Uncover and cook until meat is very tender and liquid is reduced to a thin, sauce consistency, about 25 minutes.  Stir in nuts and sage.  Simmer until nuts are heated through, about 5 minutes.  Discard bay leaf and transfer to individual, heated bowls.

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