Stewed Shoulder of Veal with White Wine, Artichokes, and Cream

Spezzatino di Vitello con Carciofi

Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Medium

  • For

    8

    persons

Appears in

Marcella Cucina

By Marcella Hazan

Published 1997

  • About

It is no secret that I am partial to stews. There is no way to cook meat that pulls flavors so closely together or that permits such an expressive variety of combinations with vegetables, spices, and other ingredients.

This stew with onion, artichokes, and cream capitalizes on the finesse and delicacy that are veal’s attributes. The onion, sliced very thin, cooks right along with the meat without any preliminary sautéing, thus binding its sweet flavor to it from the beginning. The artichoke is sliced and cooked apart at first so that it is already tender when it is added to the meat. When the stew is finished neither onion nor artichoke has a separate identity.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • ¼ pound pancetta, cut into very fine dice
  • 2 pounds veal shoulder, cut into 2 to 2½-inch cubes
  • cup very thinly sliced onion
  • Salt
  • Black pepper ground fresh
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • 6 medium artichokes, preferably with their stems on
  • A lemon cut in half

For Cooking the Artichokes

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup chopped onion
  • 2 tablespoons chopped garlic
  • 2 tablespoons chopped Italian flat-leaf parsley
  • Salt
  • Black pepper ground fresh

For Finishing the Veal and Artichokes

  • ½ cup heavy cream

Method

  1. Choose a sauté pan or skillet large enough to contain both the meat and the artichokes later. Put in the vegetable oil, the butter, and the diced pancetta and turn on the heat to high. Lightly brown the pancetta, stirring it two or three times.
  2. Slip in as many pieces of veal as will fit loosely, brown them well on all sides, transfer them to a bowl using a slotted spoon or spatula, put in more meat, and proceed thus, browning the veal in as many batches are required to do all the pieces.
  3. Put the sliced onion in the pan, turn it over once or twice, return all the meat to the pan, add salt and several grindings of pepper, and turn over all ingredients. Cook until the onion becomes colored a light gold, then add the wine, scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Let the wine bubble for a few moments, then cover the pan and turn the heat down to minimum low.
  4. If your artichokes have stems, cut them off and, with a small knife, pare away their hard, dark, outer skin, exposing the paler, tender core. If the stems are thick and long, cut them in half both lengthwise and crosswise. Put them in a bowl of cold water, squeezing lemon juice into it. From the artichokes themselves trim away the outer leaves and the tough, inedible tops. Cut the remaining hearts lengthwise in half, and slice these very, very fine. Add the slices to the bowl as you do them, squeezing a little more lemon juice over them.

Cooking the Artichokes

  1. Choose another large skillet, put in the olive oil and the chopped onion, and turn on the heat to medium high. Cook, stirring frequently. When the onion begins to be colored a light gold, add the garlic, stirring as it cooks. As soon as you notice the garlic’s aroma rising, add the parsley, stirring it once or twice.
  2. Working very quickly, rinse the artichokes in fresh cold water, drain well, and add them to the pan together with salt and grindings of pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until the artichokes begin to feel tender when tested with a fork. If the pan juices are not sufficient to keep the artichokes from sticking, add a few tablespoons of water, up to ½ cup.
  3. Empty the contents of the artichoke pan into the pan with the meat, use a wooden spoon to turn over all ingredients, cover the pan, and continue cooking at very low heat until the meat feels very tender when prodded deeply with a fork. If the pan juices are not sufficient to keep the food from sticking, add a few tablespoons of water, up-to cup at a time.

Finishing the Veal and Artichokes

  1. By the time the veal is cooked, if you have sliced the artichokes fine enough you will find that they have nearly dissolved into a sauce-like consistency. Add the heavy cream, turn over the contents of the pan for about 1 minute with the wooden spoon, transfer to a warm platter, and serve at once.