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Bev's Celebration Veal Stew

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My mother grew up in San Francisco in a hilly section of the City.  She attended Washington High School, located in the Richmond District - an up and coming neighborhood that attracted newcomers and those who wanted to be closer to the ocean.  She used to describe taking the streetcar to school, and seeing sand dunes all around this undeveloped part of San Francisco.  This school attracted kids from every neighborhood, near and far.  My mother befriended Mary Adiago, and for the first time in her life, was exposed to Italian food (my grandmother was German and Irish, and my grandfather, Swedish).  My mother also HATED vegetables, so eating stews were the way she could get at least a few veggies in!  My mom, not the greatest cook, managed to magically craft this veal stew from the memory of eating it at the Adiagos.  Being a meat wrapper, she had access to lots of great cuts of meat, but bringing veal home was a huge splurge.  So we only had it for very special occasions, like birthdays.  So mom, I've cooked this up on your 90th birthday to honor you!  
(and if you are financially or politically opposed to veal, you can use pork loin, chicken or beef in this recipe - all are delicious)

WHAT YOU NEED:

Heavy casserole with lid or crockpot
Large saute or fry pan


INGREDIENTS:

2-3 pounds of cubed veal (or lean pork, chicken, or beef stew meat)
1 cup flour
2 TB Italian Seasoning
2 tsp salt + 1 tsp pepper
Extra virgin olive oil
3 medium onions, chopped (about 4 cups)
2 large bell peppers, seeded and chopped
8 ounces sliced mushrooms
3 cloves garlic - chopped
1 tsp oregano
2 bay leaves
28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
10 ounces white wine (1/3 to 1/2 of the tomato can)
Fresh basil - about 1/2 cup, chopped


INSTRUCTIONS

1.  Pat the meat dry.  Mix the flour, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper together in a paper or plastic bag.  Drop in the meat, a handful at a time, and coat evenly.  Let sit on a cooling rack while you coat the rest.

2.  Heat a heavy casserole to medium high (if using a crockpot with flame-proof liner, heat that instead).  Add 2-3 TB olive oil, then the onions, peppers, and mushrooms.  Saute until the onions are translucent and the mushrooms have started to give up their moisture.  Add the garlic and stir until fragrant.  Add in the tomatoes, bay leaf, another tsp of oregano the white wine and stir.  Bring to a simmer.

3.  Heat a large fry pan to medium high, add olive oil, and brown the veal in 2-3 batches.  The key is to NOT MOVE THE MEAT for 4-5 minutes, and then turn once to achieve golden brown on both sides.  Once the batch is done, pour the meat and juices into your casserole or crockpot.  Repeat until all meat is browned.

4.  If cooking in a crockpot, stir it all together gently, add the basil, and cook on high for 3 hours if starting this recipe in the afternoon.  If starting in the morning,  heat on low all day.  If using your oven, cook the veal, covered, at 300 until ready to serve.

5.  Serve over pasta, mashed potatoes, rice or polenta.  Garnish with a little parmesan cheese and slivered basil.

6. CELEBRATE EACH DAY!!  Doctor's Orders.