An autumn ragout of veal, puff pastry and roasted vegetable sides.
Text & Photo © JW van Hal, CM Cordeiro & JE Nilsson 2020

Personally, I think it’s fun to share recipes with family and friends, particularly if they live in a different part of the world and have different culinary traditions and heritage. The current global pandemic also seems to have the effect of bringing out that home cook in us. With digital video conferencing tools that enable shared cooking and culinary experiences online, I know of a couple of friends who cook and dine together in the virtual realm in real-time, generally having a good time with interesting conversations.

This weekend, we have a recipe to share from the Netherlands for a Ragout made with veal and roux, puff pastry and roasted vegetable sides. There are no notable grams of this or even pinch of that in this recipe, but rather a very much traditional method of tacit knowledge and for those who lack the tacit knowledge, it would be an agak-agak (estimate) recipe.

Ragout ingredients

Veal meat, preferably on the bone, shoulder works real well.
Butter
AP flour
Whole milk (cream optional)
Pepper corns
Juniper berries
Cloves, whole
Bay leaves
Nutmeg, salt, (white) pepper to taste
Egg
Puff pastry dough sheets
Broth (optional)
(button) mushrooms optional

Begin with rinsing the veal meat with cold water. Transfer to a large stock pot and cover with water or broth. Put the peppercorns (10/litre, juniper berries (2/litre), whole cloves (2/litre), bay leaves (2-4 per litre) in a (large) tea egg (wire mesh tea ball) and add to the pot. Bring to a boil and simmer until the meat falls of the bone. Separate the meat from the broth.

Take the meat of the bone and remove fat/tendons and the like if desired (cool down enough so you don’t burn your fingers). Chop the cleaned meat at the desired size. You can do this ahead of time.

Preparing the roux

Roux is made up of equal portions of fat and flour. It is used to thicken sauces. Melt the butter on low heat. Add an equal amount of flour by weight, whisk to a paste and cook for a couple of minutes. The flour to liquid ratio should be 1 to 10 (weight flour volume liquid). Add the stock (warm) and milk (cream) in small portions in the desired ratio until the desired consistency. You can do this step ahead of time as well.

Puff pastry

This is store bought. With so many steps to making this Ragout of veal, it makes much more sense to buy puff pastry than make from scratch, which might set you back to summer in the overall dish preparation time.

To make the puff pastry pretty, make an egg wash (beat an egg with equal amount of water). Put half the puff pastry sheets on a lines sheet pan. Brush with egg wash. Cut circles out of the other half of the puff pastry dough. Cut a cross in the cut-out circles and put on the sheet pan as well. Put the other part of the sheets on top of the intact squares, press. Brush all the pastry again with the egg-wash. Bake the puff pastry per the instructions on the box.

Plating

Heat the roux until it just starts to bubble. Add the desired amount of meat. Heat a frying pan to high heat and sear the mushrooms in your favourite oil, add them to the ragout. Season the ragout as desired with salt and pepper, nutmeg optional. Ladle the ragout into the puff pastry shells, cover with the pastry lid.

Roasted vegetables ingredients

Potatoes
Fingerling potatoes (Pommes noisette), with or without skin as you desire, scrubbed in case you eat them with the skin.
Mustard
Butter
Garlic, minced
Sturdy herb such as thyme
Dijon mustard (or whatever mustard rocks your boat)

Cover the potatoes in a mixture of oil and mustard (mostly mustard). No salt needed, it is in the mustard. No pepper, it burns. Mix with chopped/minced garlic. Put in an oven proof dish, or on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Sprinkle with herbs. Bake (180°C) until golden brown and delicious (or shorter if you like them less crisp). Season with pepper (freshly ground of course) to taste, salt optional.

Roasted bell peppers
Bell peppers (whichever look good)
Butter
Sturdy herb (rosemary, thyme etc.)

Scrub the bell pepper in cold water, pat dry. Slice the sides taking out all the seeds and ribs, and julienne (match-stick cut). Grease the baking dish with a little butter on the bottom. Bake until soft at 180 °C, season with freshly ground pepper.

Roasted butternut squash
A whole butternut squash (because they tend to melt away in the oven)
Butter
Your favourite aromatic herb

Scrub the squash under cold water. Pat dry (so it doesn’t slip, it is slippery and wet enough as is). Cut of the ends and peel the skin off (heavy duty peeler will do just fine, no toys here). Yes cutting these things require a big very sharp knife. Cut the squash in half. Remove the seeds (heavy duty tablespoon or melon baller if you need a cutting edge). Cube the thing. Put in a buttered oven proof dish or sheet pan. Click over more butter and sprinkle with herbs. Bake at 180 °C (temperatures are for a forced air oven!). Until your desired tenderness.

Now if you are somewhat organised and have done this before, you can sequentially put all the sides in the oven and they are done at the same time.

Serve the sides with the above ragout.

Admittedly, reading the incoming recipe shared was daunting enough. But inspired, I think I might try my hand at one part of the recipe anyway… baked vegetables anyone?

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