The week separating Christmas from New Year’s can be a strange dead zone in culinary terms. We may be eating leftovers from Christmas dinner, but by the 27th we’re sick of those.
New Year’s Eve tends to be more about partying and drinking than comfort food. What do we eat during that week? No one wants to do anything extravagant because we’re all too tired or we’re expecting to save our blowout for the 31st. For me, it’s all about comfort food and not necessarily some family favorite. Comfort food in my mind tends to be food that cooks slowly.
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I go for a veal roast. This is a dish that is influenced by a style of cooking that I used to do more often about 20 years ago. I began cooking before the days of Marcella Hazan in the 1970s, so I learned from a group of pre-Hazan Italian cookbooks that I just loved, especially the great cookbooks of Luigi Carnacina, known as the Escoffier of Italy, Luigi Veronelli, Massimo Alberini, Vincenzo Buonassissi and Ada Boni. There was also a touch of monzù cooking in Carnacina’s dishes that had some intimation of French haute cuisine. The monzù were Italian chefs of aristocratic households in Naples and Sicily who received some training either in France or through French-trained chefs and their cooking reflects a baroque style of cuisine. The monzù received their name as an Italian corruption of the French monsieur. I would accompany the veal with French fries or rice along with any green vegetable you desire.
Veal Roast in Wine and Cream
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour, 10 minutes
Total time: 1 hour, 20 minutes
Yield: 4 to 5 servings
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 1/4 pounds veal loin roast, tied into a regular shape with kitchen twine
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 medium onion, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
2 cups dry white wine
1/3 cup dry Marsala wine
Bouquet garni, consisting of 8 sprigs of fresh parsley, 10 sprigs of fresh thyme, and 8 sprigs of fresh marjoram, tied in cheesecloth
1/2 cup heavy cream
1. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
2. In a flameproof baking casserole, melt the butter with the olive oil over medium-high heat. When the butter just begins to stop bubbling, brown the veal on all sides, about 5 minutes. Season the veal with salt and pepper.
3. Add the onion, carrot and celery and cook until softened, stirring frequently, 4 to 5 minutes. Pour in the white wine and Marsala and scrape the bottom of the pan to deglaze the crust. Add the bouquet garni, cover, and place in the oven to bake for 1 hour.
4. Remove the roast and set aside, keeping warm. Strain the broth and return to the casserole. Turn the heat to high and reduce the broth by half. Add the cream, stir, and reduce until the gravy is a consistency you like. Slice the veal and transfer to a serving platter. Pour the gravy over and serve.