French veal stew addresses the tastebuds with a slight Middle Eastern accent

April 05, 1992|By Linda Gassenheimer | Linda Gassenheimer,Knight Ridder News Service

A warm and inviting stew is usually not on a list of quick and easy dinners. Sauteed veal with leeks, however, is simple, delicious and will take just minutes to prepare.

Stew veal is usually sold already cut into cubes. Try to buy cubes that are about 1 inch square and don't have a lot of gristle. These will cook more evenly and remain juicier than smaller pieces. The dish freezes very well; if you have time, double the recipe and save half for an emergency dinner.

The recipe calls for a bouquet garni, a bundle of fresh herbs. Simply tie sprigs of parsley and thyme and a bay leaf together with kitchen string; add it to the pan with the other ingredients. If you don't have time for that, throw some fresh parsley and a bay leaf into the sauce and fish them out just before serving. This will give a better result than store-bought bouquet garni.

The leeks, lemon and raisins give this provincial French dish a slight Middle Eastern flavor. Lemon-parsley rice rounds out this hearty dinner for two.

Sauteed veal with leeks

Serves two.

1 teaspoon corn or canola oil

1/2 pound stew veal

3 cups sliced leeks (about 2 medium leeks)

1/4 cup dry white wine

1/4 cup milk

bouquet garni (1 sprig parsley, 1 bay leaf, 1 sprig thyme)

2 tablespoons raisins

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Remove as much fat as possible from the veal and cut into 1-inch cubes. If the veal is already cubed, just remove fat and gristle. Heat the oil on medium-high heat in a non-stick frying pan and add the veal. Saute on all sides until golden brown, about 5 minutes.

Cut off any dark or damaged leaves from the leeks and wash. (This can be done by quartering the leeks lengthwise and running them under cold water.) Thinly slice and add to the frying pan with the meat. Add the wine, milk and bouquet garni. Add a little salt and pepper. Cover and simmer gently for 20 minutes. Remove the bouquet garni and add the raisins and lemon juice. Cook another 5 minutes. Taste for seasoning. Add more salt and pepper if necessary. Serves 2.

(Nutritional information per serving: 324 calories; 33 grams protein; 27 grams carbohydrate; 7 grams fat; 20 percent of calories as fat; 3 grams fiber; 128 milligrams cholesterol; 122 milligrams sodium.)

Lemon-parsley rice

Serves two.

1/2 cup long-grain white rice

1/2 tablespoon margarine or butter

1 cup chicken stock

zest of 1 lemon (grated rind of 1 lemon)

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1/4 cup freshly chopped parsley

salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Place rice in a colander and rinse under cold water. Heat margarine in a small, heavy-bottomed frying pan and saute rice for 1 minute. Add the chicken stock, grated lemon rind and lemon juice. Cook, covered, for 15 minutes or until all of the liquid is absorbed and the rice is cooked through. (If the rice begins to stick to the pan before it's cooked, add a little more chicken stock.) Add the parsley and toss well. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve with the veal.

(Nutritional information per serving: 218 calories; 6 grams protein; 39 grams carbohydrate; 4 grams fat; 16 percent of calories as fat; 0.8 grams fiber; 7 milligrams cholesterol; 49 milligrams sodium.)

Shopping list

To buy:

* stew veal

* leeks

* fresh parsley

* long-grain white rice

* bouquet garni (parsley, bay leaf, sprig thyme)

* raisins

* lemon

Staples:

* butter or margarine

* corn or canola oil

* chicken stock

* milk

* salt

* black peppercorns

* dry white wine

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