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imageThe perfect veal chop is a very slowly cooked, thick cut of meat. This one is cooked “à la Normande” which means the dish has lots of cream and butter, both of which are plentiful and delicious in Normandy.

imageIt is basically a fricassee, which is a classic dish in which poultry or meat is first seared in fat, and then braised with liquid until cooked. This recipe for Veal with Mushrooms is finished with a little cream – leave it out if you wish- but I would not recommend that.

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This recipe was born out of having a full basket of freshly harvested girolles (chanterelle) mushrooms, see picture above. Girolles are the slightly unusually shaped, yellow/orange mushrooms. The cepes, the more traditional brown capped ones, were used in a delicious cepe (porcini) omelette for breakfast the following morning. We live in an area prized for its mushrooms but with neither Stuart nor I knowing the first thing about collecting mushrooms in the forest, it is a pastime, I have left to those in the know, not least for fear of eating a highly toxic specimen by mistake. Until now … We have some wonderful French friends that live nearby and who regularly go foraging for mushrooms in the forest so last Tuesday they invited us over for dinner but suggested we arrive about 2 hours early to go for a walk in the forest. While Carole prepared dinner, Michel took us out into his forest and started explaining what to look for. The best time is a sunny day or two after rain, the forest must have some sunlight and you will not find anything where there is ivy on the forest floor. Girolles love growing in moss and under leaves so they are not exactly out there on the path in front of you, you need to look very closely indeed. They grow close together so where you find one, you will usually find several. He pointed out fresh wild boar tracks along the way. Luckily the boars were not around. Then he spotted one, a minuscule hint of the orange cap was peeking out from under some leaves. I would have walked right by and not seen anything at all. Michel moved the leaves very gently and there was a perfect specimen – the elusive girolle – staring right up at us. Where there is one, there usually are several, so we all started looking around, very carefully moving leaves with a stick and soon, we had found 5! Wow! this was exciting. We continue looking and wandering around the forest for over an hour and found about 20 or so girolles as well as a few cepes and the much sought after dark cap cepe. Now, I have to admit that I only spotted one by myself, Stuart a few, but most were found by our guide, Michel.  The thunder was growing louder and a few drops of rain were starting to fall, so we headed back to the car. Without Michel, I would still no doubt be wandering around the forest as it was impossible to figure the route out. I now realize just how easy it is to get lost. We set off back to the house with our filled basket for a lovely dinner prepared by Carole, a “Tourte Périgourdine”, basically a puff pastry encased pie filled with potatoes and duck confit. I will post the recipe in the next few weeks. So now, Stuart and I have to try and put our new acquired skills to the test and venture into our forest and see what we can find. (But not without a compass, phone, knife, water, basket – all the necessary survival items – in case we get lost).

 

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 4 large veal chops, cut 2 1/2 cm / 1″ thick  (or 1 kg / 2 lbs veal, cut into pieces)
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • veal demi glace, 1 tablespoon
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • bouguet garni
  • 450 g / 8 oz girolles (chanterelles)
  • 15-20 small white onions, peeled or 1 large onion, peeled and chopped
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley, to garnish

Preparation:

Season the veal chops with salt and pepper
Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large skillet or dutch oven
Add the veal and brown over high heat on all sides
Reduce the heat to medium, add the onions and cook 5 minutes
Sprinkle the flour and stir well
Add the veal demi glace, the white wine, the broth and the bouquet garni
Bring to a simmer, cover and cook on a low simmer for 45 minutes
Meanwhile, in another pan, melt the remaining 2 tablespoons butter
Add the mushrooms and over medium high heat cook them for 10 minutes, stirring frequently
About 15 minutes before the end of the veal cooking time, uncover and add the mushrooms
Once the veal is tender and almost falling off the bone, transfer the veal, onions and mushrooms to a warmed serving platter
Increase the heat and allow the sauce to boil and reduce by half
Add the cream, cook for 1 minute
Pour the sauce over the veal (or return all to the pan)
Sprinkle with parsley and serve immediately
Bon Appétit!

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