One of my first veal experiences was on the seafront in Cannes in the South of France. I ordered Veal Milanese, lightly breaded veal escalopes served with spaghetti in tomato sauce, on the recommendation of my husband. I have to say I was a bit dubious but fell in love with the dish within my first few mouthfuls. Since then I’ve ordered it all over the world and even made it myself dozens of times.
I love the delicate flavour of veal and its lovely texture. And as I’m still struggling to come to terms with the transition from South African autumn to English spring (no prizes for guessing which is colder and rainier), I had a mind to tuck into a hearty stew.
This dish has only a few ingredients and is really quick to prepare. Just make sure you cook it slowly for around 2 hours to infuse all the flavours and for the meat to be truly tender.
It was the first time I’d made polenta in a long while and reminded me of how much I love it. It’s so easy to make and tasted great infused with thyme flavours and combined with the rich tomato sauce. A recipe well worth trying. Of course if you don’t eat veal (for whatever reason), you could use beef or lamb instead.
500g veal, cut into bite sized chunks
2 tbsps olive oil
2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
1x400g tin of chopped tomatoes
100ml white wine
2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
3 tsps dried thyme
100g quick polenta
Heat the oil in a heavy-based pan to a medium-high heat and fry the veal in batches to seal and brown slightly.
Remove from the pan and put aside.
Add the garlic and fry for a few minutes until softened. Add the rosemary, 2 tsps of the thyme, tomatoes and white wine and bring to the boil. Simmer for a few minutes and then return the meat to the casserole.
Cover and turn the stove down to its lowest possible temperature. Make sure to check on it every half an hour or so to make sure it’s not bubbling too furiously or drying up. Adjust the temperature or add a dash of water if you need to. Cook for approximately two ho urs.
Just before it’s ready, cook the quick polenta and/or the vegetables. Peas and carrots work well.
Stir the remaining 1 tsp of thyme through the finished polenta as well as a good drizzle of olive oil