This is another one-pot complete meal, in which the protein and vegetables come together. In this recipe, veal is recommended, but pork, beef, or lamb could be substituted. As always, just keep the cooking time in mind for the different meats. This is also an economical meal: secondary cuts of meat give the most flavorful results and are cheaper. Here butternut squash and onions are the vegetables but you certainly can substitute according to season and preference. Peppers, carrots, parsnips, and squash could be added but again, as with substituting the meat, keep in mind the cooking time for each different vegetable so you do not get a mushy result.
- ¼ cup dry porcini mushrooms
- 2½ pounds veal for stew, cut into 1-to-2-inch cubes
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- All-purpose flour, for dredging
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 cups pearl onions, peeled
- 8 sage leaves, chopped
- 1 cup white wine
- 1 butternut squash (about 2 pounds), peeled and cut into 1-to-2-inch chunks
Soak the porcini mushrooms in 1 cup of hot water for 30 minutes. Season the veal with 1 teaspoon of the salt. Dredge the veal in flour, and tap off the excess. Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, brown the veal on all sides in batches, stirring to let a crust form.
Return all of the veal to the pot, clear a space at the bottom, and add the tomato paste. Let the tomato paste toast for a minute, then stir it into the veal. Add the pearl onions and sage, and brown for a few minutes. Drain the porcini, reserving the soaking liquid; finely chop, and add them to the pot. Pour in the wine, and bring to a simmer. Strain the porcini liquid, and add it to the pot with 1 cup of hot water. Simmer, covered, for 10 minutes; then uncover, add 1 cup of hot water, and cover again. Simmer until the veal is beginning to become tender, about 30 to 45 minutes.
Uncover, and add the squash and ½ cup of hot water. Simmer, covered, until the squash and veal are both tender, about 20 minutes more. Season with the remaining teaspoon of salt, and raise the heat; simmer rapidly to reduce the sauce, if necessary, till it glazes the veal and squash.