Moschari me Kolokythakia

Braised Veal with Zucchini

THIS IS a special dish that my mother makes in the summer. Cooking meat with zucchini and other seasonal vegetables is common throughout Greece. What makes my mother’s version so light—and easy—is that instead of frying the zucchini, as most cooks do, she just rubs the chunks with salt to make them wilt a little.


  • pounds small zucchini, trimmed and cut into 2-inch-thick pieces
  • Salt
  • cup olive oil
  • 2 pounds boneless veal shanks or boneless shoulder, cut into 2-inch cubes
  • cups coarsely chopped onions
  • cups Chicken Stock or beef stock
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • cups grated ripe tomatoes (see Note) or canned diced tomatoes with their juice
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 2–3 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley


Place the zucchini in a colander and salt generously, tossing to coat all sides. Set in the sink or over a bowl and let stand for at least 1 hour and up to 3 hours.

In a large, deep skillet with a lid or a Dutch oven, heat the oil and brown the veal in batches on all sides over high heat, about 10 minutes. Add the onions and sauté, stirring, for 3 to 5 minutes more, or until soft. Add the stock and cinnamon sticks and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 40 minutes.

Add the tomatoes, sugar and pepper to taste and simmer for 30 minutes more, or until the veal is very tender.

Dry the zucchini with paper towels and add to the skillet, along with a little water if needed so that the sauce comes two-thirds of the way up the sides. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes, shaking the skillet occasionally, until the zucchini is tender and the sauce has thickened. If the sauce is too thin, increase the heat to high and boil for 3 to 4 minutes to reduce it.

Taste and adjust the seasonings. Discard the cinnamon sticks, sprinkle with the parsley and serve.

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