A hearty, class classic Italian veal stew recipe topped with zesty fresh gremolata. Serve this rustic veal stew recipe over a bed of polenta or mashed potatoes. Perfect for a weeknight meal on a cold day and fancy enough to serve for guests on the weekend!
Winters in Canada can be cold. Not Siberia cold but still cold and long. There is nothing better than warming up to a hearty pot of stew that has been simmered slowly in a Dutch oven all afternoon.
I only this month got a Dutch oven and quite honestly I don’t know why I waited so long. I have been making stews like this Italian veal stew all month long. Veal is a tender cut of protein already without much effort but when it is simmered all day in a mixture filled with veggies, white wine, and broth the veal becomes so tender it quite literally melts in your mouth.
I live in Ontario and am thrilled that I can get Ontario grain-fed veal. Ontario veal is delicious and tender with a subtle character that takes on the flavours it is cooked with so making an Italian veal stew with tomatoes, garlic, white wine and vegetables is an easy choice!
Something about using veal in a recipe elevates a simple rustic stew to something special and makes it perfect for entertaining.
why use ontario veal?
- Ontario veal is a delicious, lean, nutrient-packed, high-quality protein that is an ideal choice for today’s healthier lifestyle needs. Compared to other meats such as pork, beef and chicken, all veal cuts are extra lean (7.5 g of fat or less per 100 g portion) and contain a very low amount of saturated fat.
- Ontario veal has a vast assortment of available cuts that can be, among other things, grilled, sautéed, braised, roasted, slow-cooked and pan-fried.
- Ontario veal is produced with pride and care by local farm families.
- Ontariovealappeal.ca is a great source of recipes, nutrition information, cooking tips, cut guides and production information.
Ingredients & Substitutions
- Ontario grain-fed veal – Boneless veal shoulder roast works best because it has some marbling that makes it even more tender. Trim into 1″ cubes.
- Salt & pepper – To season the veal prior to browning to seal in the flavour.
- Olive oil – Used to brown the meat prior to slow cooking.
- White or yellow onion – Chopped.
- Carrots – Peeled and sliced into 1/2″ rounds.
- Celery – Medium-sized celery ribs washed and trimmed then cut into 1/2″ inch pieces.
- Garlic – Because garlic is like life in Italian food.
- Cippolini onions – Slightly sweet onions that carmelize deliciously when sauteed or baked. Substitute with pearl onions if you can’t find Cippolini.
- Flour – Use to toss the veal in to prior stewing which helps thicken the gravy while cooking. All-purpose flour works best.
- White wine – Any dry white wine will work well. Wine adds flavour and is also used to scrape up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan. This is a process called deglazing. The deglazing process adds a tonne of flavour from the browned meat bits and also adds colour to the gravy. You can use red wine if you prefer but the gravy will become much darker than what is pictured in this recipe and the recipe will have a heavier flavour.
- Chicken broth – This adds moisture to the stew and works to create a hearty gravy – the backbone of the stew which works well to tenderize the veal while cooking. You may substitute chicken broth with beef or vegetable broth interchangeably.
- Stewed whole tomatoes – I like to use one can of stewed San Marzano tomatoes because the stewing process removes the peel from the tomatoes. I strain them from the juice and cut them in quarters to add to the stew. You can also use diced tomatoes if you prefer or can’t find whole stewed tomatoes. I like to keep some of the tomato sauce from the can to add to the stew to give the gravy amazing flavour.
- Bay leaves – Bay leaves give soups, stews and sauces a mild peppery slightly minty flavour that provides a well-rounded more balanced flavour to recipes.
- Lemon zest – Used in the gremolata to add a touch of bright flavour to this rustic recipe.
- Parsley leaves – Also used to perk up dishes, add flavour, and helps with bad breath from all of that garlic.
- Cornstarch – Mixed with a tiny bit of cold water to form a slurry and used as needed to thicken the gravy in the stew once cooked.
How to make italian veal stew?
Using paper towels pat dry cubed Ontario veal and season with salt and pepper. Add 1 tbsp of olive oil to the pot of the Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat. Add the veal and brown on all sides. Work in small batches so as not to crowd the veal adding more olive oil as needed to keep the veal from sticking. If the pieces are too close they will not brown and will steam instead.
Transfer each batch of browned veal to a separate bowl and set aside until all the veal has been browned.
Add the chopped white or yellow onions, celery and carrots and another tablespoon of olive oil and sautee until the onions become translucent and the garlic soft.
Bring the browned veal back to the pot and sprinkles with flour mixing to coat. Add the white wine and with a wooden spoon scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan.
Next add in the Cippolini onions and chicken broth and stir.
Add in more chicken broth as needed to just barely over the veal in the pot. Next, add in the tomatoes and bay leaves. Stir and cover with the lid for the Dutch Oven. Transfer to the oven preheated to 300 F and let cook for 1 1/2 hours.
Just before serving in a small bowl add in 1 large clove of minced garlic, the zest from one large lemon and a 1/4 cup of chopped fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley. Mix and set aside.
You can use curly leaf parsley too but I prefer the texture of the flat-leaf variety.
After the veal has been stewed in the Dutch oven for about 1 1/12 hours. The veal should be very tender. Remove from the oven and mix to find those bay leaves and take them out. Return the pot to the stove over medium-high heat and remove the lid. If the gravy in the stew is still very runny thicken with a cornstarch slurry.
To do this add 1 heaping tablespoon of cornstarch to a 1/4 cup of cold water and mix until smooth. Pour the slurry into the pot, mix and bring to a boil. Once the stew starts to boil the cornstarch thickening action will get to work. It won’t take long so stir and keep an eye on it. After about a minute, the gravy should be thick enough to coat a spoon and you can then remove the pot from the stove.
This Italian veal stew recipe is best served over a bed of fresh polenta or mashed potatoes. For the final touch sprinkle some of the gremolata over the dish just before serving.
Is veal better for you than beef?
Veal is an excellent source of iron, zinc and Vitamin B12 which are essential for overall good health including physical and mental performance, infection resistance and proper growth respectively making it an excellent protein choice.
does veal taste like beef?
Ontario has a much milder flavour than beef and is much more tender. Veal is by no means flavourless. Because of its milder beef flavour it is able to take on more of a recipes unique flavours than other cuts of meat.
Italian Veal Stew & Gremolata
- Dutch oven
- Chopping Knife
- Measuring Cups
- Measuring Spoons
- Large Bowl
- Paper towels
- Wooden Spoon
- Lemon Zester
- 3 lbs boneless Ontario grain-fed veal shoulder trimmed and cut into 1" cubes
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 4 tbsp olive oil divided
- 1 medium white or yellow onion diced
- 3 medium carrots peeled and diced to 1/2" rounds
- 3 medium celery ribs trimmed and diced to 1/2" pieces
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 4 tbsp all-purpose flour
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 12 Cippolini onions peeled and left whole
- 1 1/2 cups chicken broth
- 14.5 can stewed San Marzano whole tomatoes strained, cut into quarters; reserving 2 tbsp of tomato sauce from can
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 2 tsp lemon zest
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley finely chopped
- Preheat oven to 300F.
- Pat the veal dry using paper towels and season on all sides with salt and pepper.
- Add 1 tbsp of olive oil to the bottom of the dutch oven pot and heat to medium-high heat. Add the veal to the pot allowing space between the pieces and brown on all sides. Work in batches transferring the browned veal to a large bowl off to the side and then add more veal to the pot. Continue this process until all the veal has been browned adding in a little olive oil as needed so the veal doesn't stick to the bottom of the pot.
- Once the veal is browned and in transferred to a bowl add the remaining tbsp of olive oil to the pot. Next, add the diced onions, carrots and sautee until the onions become translucent. Add in the garlic and let cook for 1 minute.
- Bring the veal back to the pot and add the flour and mix to coat the veal. Let cook for one minute.
- Add the white wine to the pot and use a wooden spoon to scrape up any brown bits from the bottom of the pot. Add the Cippolini onions and top with chicken broth. Pour in enough so that the veal is barely covered about 1 1/2 cups.
- Add the bay leaves and quartered tomatoes along with 2 tbsp of the tomato sauce from the can. Mix. Cover the pot with the lid and place in oven. Let cook for about 1 1/2 hours or until veal is tender.
- Remove the Dutch oven from the oven, mix removing the bay leaves. The gravy should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. It should not be watery. If still thin, add the pot without the lid back to the stovetop over medium-high heat. Add 1 heaping tbsp of cornstarch to a 1/4 cup of cold water stirring in the cup until smooth and clump-free. Pour this cornstarch slurry into the stew and mix. Bring the stew to a boil and stir. After about 1 minute the gravy should be thickened. You don't want it sludgy just thick enough to add a smooth coating to a spoon. Remove from heat.
- To a small bowl add 1 clove minced garlic, the zest from 1 large lemon and a 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley. Mix.
- Serve the stew in over a bed of polenta or mashed potatoes and sprinkle with the fresh gremolata and salt and pepper to taste.
- Pearl onions can be substituted for Cippolini.
- Vegetable or Beef broth can be used in place of chicken broth.
- Diced tomatoes can be used instead of stewed tomatoes.