Tuesday, April 19, 2011

She's Human, After All

The best thing about "Green As Spring Veal Stew" turns out to be the title. When reading the intro, I imagined tender chunks of meat nestled into a refreshing, light puree of arugula, spinach, and loads of herbs. The intro may have also prompted a vision or two of myself running knee-deep through fields of wildflowers, though in reality, if I were running through a field, it would probably be to escape the insects. Insert your own screaming soundtrack.

Maybe I did something wrong, but this dish turned out NASTY. First of all, I can't afford to buy three pounds of veal at $12/lb, so I used three pounds of sirloin instead, per the recommendation of my butcher. I bought the arugula, spinach, and herbs from the farmer's market, so they were as fresh as I could get them.

I was surprised that the instructions didn't say to brown the meat before slow-cooking it in stock. Lo and behold, this produced boring boiled meat. Maybe veal would have worked better than steak, but since the method was the same, it seems that the result would be similar.

I blended all the veg and was excited by the brilliant emerald color of the puree. Then I added the creme fraiche, and it washed the color out to a 70's era lime green. Dorie says to use creme fraiche instead of heavy cream or sour cream because it won't separate when heated. I don't know what went wrong, but my creme fraiche balled up on the surface and would not smooth out, no matter how much I whisked it. I eventually gave up and dumped the meat back into the pot.
Dig in, if you dare
There was a lot more liquid than I expected, so perhaps I didn't reduce the stock enough. I don't think that was the crucial difference, though. Bland is bland, and no amount of reduction was going to add enough flavor to rescue this. Did you ever see the episode of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia where Charlie says his favorite food is "milk-steak"? That was all I could think of while eating this.
More milk-steak, anyone?
My mother's response summed it up best. When asked how she liked it, she said that the accompanying bread I'd baked was good. Way to find the silver lining!

Conclusion: Awful. Just awful.

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