Here is a tip from someone who knows - the next few weeks will be crazy. Regardless of where you are in the world, the months of November and December always feel like life has its foot jammed on the accelerator. In this neck of the woods we have the school year ending in mid-December, Christmas concerts, carol services, singing recitals, school orientations and a million other things, on top of Xmas shopping, and holiday planning. Exhausting. So now is the time to make a couple of meals to throw in the freezer, because you can bet there will be a night coming soon when all you want to do is warm up something you have already cooked.
In my opinion, the best things to freeze are casseroles and stews. This stew is light enough to eat here in the warm late Spring, and is very tasty (but would also work just as well for the chillier Northern Hemisphere). Depending on your appetites and what other side dishes you serve, this recipe will feed about 8 people (so for our family that is 2 meals taken care of). The recipe is from the delightful Silver Palate cookbook - definietly a cookbook worth having on your shelf.
Pearly Veal and Onion Stew
adapted from The Silver Palate
1/4 cup olive oil
1.5 kg veal stew meat, chopped into 3cm cubes
4 tbls plain flour
10 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
3 cups chicken stock
1 1/2 cups white wine
1 tbl fresh rosemary
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
3/4 kg white pearl onions (If you can find them, otherwise regular brown onions)
1 cup frozen peas
Heat oil in a large stew pot, and then add the veal a few pieces at a time to brown. As each batch browns, remove from the pot and transfer to a bowl. Add the next few pieces of veal. When all the pieces are browned, sprinkle the veal in the bowl with the flour and toss to coat.
Add more oil to the pot if necessary, then cook garlic over low heat until light golden in colour. Preheat oven to 160C. Return veal to the pot, adding the stock, wine, haerbs, salt and pepper. Bring to the boil on the stove then cover and put in the oven for 1 hour, stirring occassionally.
Meanwhile cut a small cross in the root end of the pearl onions. Bring a pan of salted water to the boil, add the onions and cook until tender (15 mins or so). Drain them and refresh under cold water. When they are cool enough to handle, peel and trim them.
Uncover casserole and taste the stew; adjust seasoning if necessary. Stir in the onions and return to the oven for another 20 mins, uncovering the stew for the last ten minutes of cooking time. Stir in the peas and serve.