I’m not much for those “impromptu dinner party” things. Well, at least not when they suddenly appear at my house and around my dining room table. I believe the best impromptu dinners are planned way in advance. These hastily thrown together gatherings have guests showing up on a moment’s notice where it is implied they understand they will consume whatever was already planned. It’s about the company, not the food after all. But spring veal stew?
I will readily admit to my own hypocrisy. When it is I who plays the role of the guest in these scenarios I have no problem adhering to this unspoken agreement. I know from personal experience just how hard these situations can be. Therefore, I am grateful to anyone who can pull it together and put edible food on the table for the sake of spending time together with friends. It’s about the company, not the food.
When I’m the host, however, I will strive for more than ‘edible food on the table’. So yeah, it is about the food. So l will stress. Even when it is ‘just close friends’ or family. And why do we say “just close friends and family’ when we talk about these types of affairs? If you don’t want a nice table for those folk who we love and care for the most — then who do we want it nice for anyway?
At my house I like to control as many variables as possible . This means I like to provide a well thought out dinner comprised of foods I think of as special — all served on a nicely arranged table. I understand that these affairs are supposed to be about the opportunity to socialize with friends and not about showing off mad cooking skills but if you can effect both…why wouldn’t you?
Green as Spring Veal Stew – Who will eat it?
I bring all of this up because last week I found myself scheduling this Green as Spring Veal Stew (for French Friday’s with Dorie) for an evening when nobody I knew would be around here to suffer through it. I had low expectations for this dish viewing it as perhaps one of the oddest recipes we’ve yet to encounter on this cooking adventure. Yeah. Nope. I would avoid serving to guests.
Green stew. Very green stew. Did I tell you how green this stew is? It’s pretty green.
But veal being veal, and this particular veal being nearly $19 dollars a pound I realized I had better get over my bad self and find a way to share it with somebody.
I called up Belinda from across the street to see if she wanted to come over and have some of the stew with us.
“What are you having?”
I don’t know about you but when a guest prospect asks this question immediately after being extended an invitation to dinner I immediately get turned off. It just seems so… conditional. Also, you will notice it gives truth to my anxious fear that it really IS about the food – at least a bit.
“It’s a veal stew. French. You’ll love it!”
I was lying. I had no idea at all what she would think of it since I couldn’t imagine what it would be like myself.
“Oh no! I can’t eat veal. I won’t eat veal!”
Now I am one of the very few people on this planet who know the truth about many different places her mouth has been and the many unsavory things she has put in it so I wasn’t going to have this conversation with her today. I reminder her of my intimate knowledge and informed dear Belinda that she was not going to draw her buccal line in the sand at veal eating tonight.
Had I wished to go into the ‘veal discussion’ I would have reminder her that there are ways to mitigate what is the inherent cruelty associated with veal, but they only take you so far along the rationalization road so let us just leave it that 1) I am indeed conflicted on the topic and 2) I wasn’t about to let Belinda be right about anything. She is never allowed to be right in our relationship.
I had some veal to eat and with 20 minutes to spare I found some other veal eating friends who would spontaneously visit at dinner time. The kind of friends that weren’t going to let any moral compass get in the way of an evening spent with friends. I could tell they were sincerely unconcerned with whether or not the green stew would be delicious. When I tried to warn them I wasn’t confident things would turn out well one said to me:
“If its bad we can always get pizza. You can’t always sit around the table with friends.”
The thought of ordering a pizza for a dinner party at my house did nothing to curb my anxiety.
Green as Spring Veal Stew Dorie Greenspan
Fretting over this Green as Spring Veal Stew turned out to be pointless. Once I saw it come together in the pot I was pleased. I could recognize it immediately as a distant cousin of Ghormeh Sabzi , a Persian herb stew usually made with lamb shank or chicken (but could just as easily be made veal if Persians had thought of it.)
Ghormeh sabzi usually has kidney beans in the mix, but other than that and a slightly different mix of herbs the dish is remarkably similar. Given the similarity I served this version in the Persian style by accompanying it with rice cooked so that the bottom of the pot turns out a toasty golden crust. We Americans might call this “burned rice” but Persians are smarter than us so they gave it its own name, tadig , and see it for the delicacy that it is.
They also recognize how perfect it is for serving with stew.
Even stew that isn’t green.
The recipe for Dorie Geenspan’s “Green as Spring Veal Stew” can be found here .
This Green as Spring Veal Stew recipe was an assignment for French Friday’s with Dorie, a cooking group working its way through Dorie Greenspan’s culinary tome “ Around My French Table” . We generally avoid including the recipes in our posts. However, wherever there has been a significant adaptation by me or where the recipe has already been publicly posted by Ms. Greenspan or her publishers or by hundreds of other bloggers , or it is, in fact, not much of a recipe at all, I will either include it here (adapted) or provide a direct link to it. Please feel free to contact me via the link provided on my page if you need any assistance finding a French Friday with Dorie Recipe. You should buy the book though.
It will change your life — as it has mine.