With the cold days here, it was time for some winter goodness. I'm talking a meal that sticks to your ribs, and warms you from the inside.
Today, I'm making veal Marsala.
1 to 1 1/2 Pounds Thin Sliced Veal
1 1/2 Cups Marsala Wine
3 Tablespoons Butter
2 Tablespoons Fresh Thyme
8 Ounces Mushrooms (any kind)
1/2 Cup Flour
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1/2 Teaspoon Pepper
How thin should your veal be? You want about twelve slices in a pound and a half. So basically, four slices per half pound. Not a fan of veal? No worries. Substitute thin sliced chicken, or even a nice thick cut filet steak. For chicken, just follow this recipe. For steaks, simply cook to your preference on a grill, and finish it in the sauce.
For my side dishes, I'm making some roasted asparagus and mashed potatoes. So first I'm going to do a bit of prep work, and actually get the sides going, as they're going to take the longest.
In a measuring cup, I have 1/2 a cup of olive oil, two tablespoons of lemon juice, and some salt and pepper (to taste). This is going to be drizzled over my asparagus before it goes into the oven.
I'm also going to pull all my fresh thyme off the stalks, and set that aside.
These are going to go into the oven on 350 for about forty-five minutes. As I put them in, I'm then going to start peeling potatoes, slicing them, and throwing them in a pot of boiling water that has some salt and pepper in it.
I talked about how I make my mashed potatoes in this post, which coincidentally is also a veal dish, and was also accompanied by asparagus.
With asparagus in the oven, and potatoes boiling on the stove, it's time to focus on the main course.
I'm starting by mixing my half a cup of flour with my 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper.
Mix this together, and dredge your veal in it to coat both sides. Set this aside, and in a large skillet add just enough olive oil to coat the bottom. You're looking for a shimmer of a coating, but not enough (by any means) to deep fry.
Add your meat, and brown each side a bit over medium heat. Add more oil as necessary, and it will be necessary, especially as you take pieces of meat out and add more to the pan. It will probably take you three to four batches to cook a pound of thin sliced veal.
Because you're not going to clean the pan when done, you need to avoid two thing. Number one is having too much oil. Only add enough to keep that shimmer at the bottom. Number two, keep your heat on medium because things will stick, and that's a good thing, but you don't want it to burn.
Additionally, you're not looking for well done meat. The reason being is that this is going to continue to cook in your sauce, and you want to ensure it stays tender. So look for slightly brown, slightly pink, as shown in the photo above.
When all your meat is "cooked", set it aside on a plate to rest, and remove the pan from heat. This will ensure that all those golden brown bits at the bottom don't burn up on you.
Pre-sliced mushrooms are ideal, but if like me, you go to the store on the one day they don't have them, whole mushrooms are just as fine. All you have to do is give them a good washing, and then slice them up.
Add them to your pan, and return it to low heat. You want these to get a little tender, while maintaining all those golden bits at the bottom, which you're going to gently start to scrape off. Don't worry if they won't cooperate. The wine will de-glaze the pan soon enough. Speaking of which, get this all measured out, and ready to go.
While the preferred wine for Italian Marsala dishes is sweet Marsala, you can easily use a dry variation if that's all you have access to. It will change the flavor slightly.
Add your wine to the pan, and then two tablespoons of fresh thyme. Give this all a good stir, and raise the temperature to medium / high. You want to bring this to a simmer, and let the liquid reduce by 1/3.
Once the liquid has reduced by 1/3, add three tablespoons of butter, and stir this around to melt. Once melted, add your meat back to the pan, and simmer it for five minutes. This is where you want to introduce your steak to the party if you opted to not use veal (or chicken). Just toss it in your sauce though, as you don't want to overcook it beyond your desired temperature.
In the interim of all of this, balance your time with your mashed potatoes, getting them drained, mashed, and ready to go.
Scoop up a pile of potatoes, and make a well in it with the back of the spoon. Fill this well with some of the Marsala sauce, and then place a few pieces of meat and mushrooms on top. Drizzle this with a bit more sauce. Having some delicious rolls on hand to clean up whatever doesn't stick to the potatoes is good eatin' practices. You can sub pasta for the mashed potatoes, but I'm personally not a fan. Noodles don't absorb all that delicious sauce like mashed potatoes do.
Now you know what's up. Get you a fork, and get to digging in!
Even the most harsh food critic will love this one.
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