www.meganjoychapman.com

Author of Lion Heart & Alessio: The Victory Ride Series

Goût de France – Spring Veal Stew

Spring Veal Stew

I grew up eating Mom’s Veal Parmesan, Veal Marsala, and Veal Picatta—all good to my mother’s credit. But ordering perfectly cooked fresh veal in most restaurants is hard to find. If veal isn’t properly cooked , it can taste like an old leather shoe.

The best veal I’ve ever tasted was in France. While visiting Arles, I tried the veal stew at La Chistera and was surprised at the simplicity of the dish—no vegetables, no frills—just small pieces of delicate veal in a thick red sauce. But it tasted very fresh, tender, and flavorful.

When I tried to create a recipe similar to the one I had in Arles, I failed. Although my husband liked it, I thought it tasted too much like beef stew. Veal shouldn’t taste like beef—it should taste like veal. So I tried something different and made a white wine herb sauce instead, and then cooked it in a crock-pot.

The combination of herbs, wine, and vegetables complement the veal beautifully without overpowering the dish. A hint of cream mixed in at the end adds a supporting role of richness while the veal remains the star. I like serving this with French bread and Lavender Honey Butter. Bon Appetit!

Spring Veal Stew Ingredients

2 lbs. veal (stew meat cut into ¾-1” chunks)

¼ cup flour, plus 1 tablespoon

2 teaspoons salt, divided

1 teaspoon pepper, divided

3 tablespoons butter, divided

2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, divided

3 large garlic cloves, chopped

1 onion (2 cups chopped. I prefer Maui sweet)

2 teaspoons Gravy Master or Kitchen Bouquet

1 cup white wine (make sure it is something you like because flavors intensify as you cook)

1.5 lbs. mini potato medley (cut into ¾-1” chunks)

4 carrots (3 cups cut into ¾-1” chunks)

*Reserve 1 extra cup of chopped carrots for last half-hour of cooking

8 oz. button mushrooms (cut into ¾-1” chunks)

1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped (or 1 teaspoon dried)

1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped

2-2 ½ cups chicken stock

1 cup peas (will be added at the end)

1 cup whipping cream (will be added at the end)

Herbs (tied together with kitchen string)

1 handful fresh parsley

3 ribs celery with leaves

1 bay leaf

 

Spring Veal Stew Directions

Veal Stew Vegetables

Mix ¼ cup flour, 1 teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper inside a large medium sized bowl. Add the veal chunks and toss to combine with the flour mixture.

veal stew preparation

In a heated skillet melt 1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon EVOO over medium high heat. Add ½ of the veal in an even layer.

Veal Stew Preparation

Brown on all sides, careful not to burn. Using tongs is helpful to break up the sticky pieces. Cook about 1 minute per side. It’s OK if it’s still pink since we’ll be adding the veal to a crockpot.

Veal Stew Preparation

Once veal is browned, transfer to a dish. Repeat this process by adding 1 tablespoon of the butter and oil to the pan. Brown the other half of the veal and set aside on dish.

 veal stew preparation

In a food processor, add chopped garlic and onions, Gravy Master, and 1 teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper and grind ingredients till combined.

Veal Stew Preparation

Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in the same skillet.

Veal Stew Preparation

Add 1 tablespoon of flour, stirring vigorously to combine. Add the gravy mixture from the food processor. Using a spatula, deglaze the pan and pick up all the leftover veal bits, about 2 minutes. Add wine and bring to a gentle boil, stirring about 2 more minutes. Turn off the heat.  Add the reserved veal, along with all the veal juices that have accumulated, back to the skillet and toss to coat.

 Veal Stew Preparation

To a crock-pot  add the veal mixture from the skillet. Then add potatoes, carrots, mushrooms, thyme, and rosemary. Pour in chicken stock and add the tied herbs on top.

Veal Stew

Stir gently to combine all ingredients. Cook slowly for 4-6 hours. *I like to add an extra cup of carrots to the pot in the last half-hour of cooking so they stay vibrant and al dente. Add the peas and cream to the hot crockpot about five minutes before serving so that the peas stay green and the cream doesn’t curdle. Serve with French bread, Lavender Honey Butter, and good wine.

Related Links

La Chistera Restaurant Review

7-Minute Roasted Asparagus

Lavender Honey Butter

Read this story from the beginning

Goût de France: Thanks, Mom!

Click here to check out Megan’s educational adventure book for kids ages 8-12!

Goût de France – Roman Ruins of Arles

 

Arles

Rustic age-old town of Arles, France. A glimpse of the 2,000 year old Roman amphitheatre is spotted here in the background.

Traveling to Arles from Saint Remy

After a good workout and some breakfast we hopped into our rent-a-car and journeyed out to see first-century B.C. Roman ruins in the historical town of Arles, France—otherwise known as the place where Vincent Van Gogh sliced off his ear.

 Country back road Provence

The scenic drive on the way to Arles led us through winding country back roads overlooking rocky mountain landscapes.

 Les Baux

 The crown-shaped castle village of Les Baux was so striking; the four of us decided it was a must-see while staying in Saint Remy-de-Provence. So we planned to venture back on another day.

Les Baux

Deanna (left) Me (right) enjoying the view of Les Baux.

 

Arles Classical Theater

Our first stop in Arles was to the Classical Theater (Théâtre Antique) a restored Roman ruins theater still used today for concerts and special events.

 

It’s hard to believe that in the Middle Ages, 27 arches encased the theater.

Classic Theater Arles

One of the 27 arches still in tact

The original structure was 3-levels which required 33 rows of seats to accommodate the high demands for seating. What’s left of the Classic Theater now seats 3,000 people.

Classical Theater Arles

I believe this wall, or what’s left of a wall, once supported the highest seating level.

columns Arles

Only two Corinthian columns out of 100 remain from the 3-story stage wall.

Column Arles

Close-up of remaining columns

orchestra pit Arles

Orchestra Pit

ruined column Arles

Ruined Columns

Megan Joy Chapman - Arles

Pondering the 2,000 year old history of my theatrical roots.

Arles

Theater rubble

St. Trophime Church

Theater rubble from the Classic Theater was used to build St. Trophime Church, a Roman Catholic church that was built between the 12th and 15th century.

St. Trophime Church Arles

St. Trophime Church

St. Trophime Church Arles

Main entrance of St. Trophime Church

 According to travel guru, Rick Steeves, “this church sports the finest Romanesque main entrance I’ve seen anywhere.”

Arles Roman Arena

Our next stop just a stone toss away was the Roman Arena (Amphitheatre).

Roman Arena Arles

Construction outside the arena

Amphitheatre Arles

Inside the amphitheatre

Dating back to 90 A.D., Arles Roman Arena was a popular venue for 20,000 spectators who enjoyed watching chariot races as well as gladiators fight wild game. Bullfights, plays, and concerts still run today, entertaining residents and visitors of Arles.

Amphitheatre Arles

In the 5th century the amphitheatre’s arches were bricked up and it became its own town with 200 homes and 2 chapels.

 

Arena hallway Arles

Hallways surrounding the arena.

plaque

A plaque listing the principal amphitheaters of the Roman world.

shopping Arles

Of course the day wouldn’t be complete without a little shopping. I bought myself some French wall hangings and postcards outside the arena.

The Cryptoporticos

city hall arles

City Hall of the entrance into the cryptoporticus.

Arles cryptoporticus dates back to the 1st century B.C. and was built as an underground support or foundation for the town forum. It now supports the Chapel of the Jesuit College and City Hall.

Cryptoporticus Arles

Inside the creepy crypt

 

The cryptoporticus was also believed to have been a storage space as well as a barracks for slaves. The underground tunnels were damp, cold, dark, and musty. The four of us were the only people down there…hmmm I wonder why?

Oddly enough the crypt used to be at street level over two thousand years ago! Since then Arles has buried about 20 feet of history with renovations.

The Rhone River

After a long leisurely 3-course lunch at La Chistera, we did some more walking and sightseeing and ended our time in Arles at the Rhone River. The Rhone runs from Switzerland to the South of France. It’s one of the major rivers of Europe.

Rhone River Arles

The Rhone River

Related Links (Coming Soon!)

La Chistera Restaurant Review

Spring Veal Stew

7-Minute Roasted Asparagus

Lavender Honey Butter

Read this story from the beginning

Goût de France: Thanks, Mom!

Click here to check out Megan’s educational adventure book for kids ages 8-12!

Goût de France: La Chistera Restaurante Review – Arles – France

La Chistera Restaurante

La Chistera Restaurante in Arles, France

The 2,000-year-old medieval town of Arles was filled with history and character—Roman ruin theaters, museums, rustic homes, shops, restaurants, and lots of little maze-like side streets to explore.

 La Chistera Restaurante - Side Street

Rather than do the typical-type-tourist thing and eat in the busy town square, we decided to venture off to see if we could find a local gem hidden away in the back alleyways of Arles.

 La Chistera Restaurante - walkway

Thankfully we stumbled upon La Chistera Restaurante, a chef-owned café run by a lovely couple. I’m guessing they had Spanish roots since Chistera is Spanish for Red Hat. And our waitress—minus the red dress and castanets—could have passed for a beautiful Flamenco Dancer with her sleek long dark hair, brown eyes, and olive-colored skin. A Spanish influence in Arles isn’t surprising, considering the local bullgames and bullfights held at the Roman Arena.

 la chistera restaurante

I’ve always been very particular in choosing restaurants because it’s all about the experience for me. Dining is a hobby of mine and I want it to appeal to all my senses. I’m not much of a white-table-cloth-restaurant kind of girl. I’m more of a casual-quaint-eclectic atmosphere, good service, and interesting menu kind of girl. La Chistera met all my criteria.

 la chistera restaurante inside

The inside was a tiny shoe-box with about 8-10, two-top tables—the outside had only four tables. We chose to dine alfresco so we could people-watch.

The walls were painted a joyful rose color and the waitress (or wife of Chef) was very sweet and did her best to communicate with us in English.

A Glimpse of the Menu at La Chistera Restaurante

La Chistera Restaurante Menu

Scallops with Frois Grois (Duck Liver) wrapped in Pastry

We started with a scallop and frois grois appetizer that was served in a shell and wrapped in pastry. I can’t believe the amount of duck liver I ate in France! I actually loved liver as a kid but want no part of it as an adult—until I went to France. I guess there’s just something about being in a foreign country that makes you want to live on the edge and experience the adventure of local fare—no matter what it is. I haven’t touched liver since and don’t plan to—unless I go back to France. It’s quite tasty on a baguette.

La Chistera Restaurante Menu

Antipasto

Deanna and Link ordered the antipasto for their main course which came with a fresh local goat cheese.

Chap and I had the veal stew served with scalloped potatoes, asparagus, and roasted red pepper with caramelized carrots. We dug in too quickly to get a picture of it. But it was delicieux! The stew was very simple—no vegetables— only tiny cubed morsels of tender veal served in a mild fresh red sauce.

The scalloped potatoes were the best I’ve ever tasted and should be illegal. Creamy, cheesy, buttery euphoria. The side of asparagus, roasted red pepper and caramelized carrots were aldente, perfectly cooked and seasoned.

For dessert we ordered a variety on the menu and shared—Crème Brulee Pistache, Raspberry Panacotta, and a chocolate croissant.

La Chistera Restaurante Menu

Crème Brulee Pistache

 The Crème Brulee Pistache was a bit disappointing. The crust was scorched and bitter, and I thought the pistachio custard was somewhat grainy. I have to admit I’ve had better.

La Chistera Restaurante Menu

Chocolate Croissant

 The chocolate croissant was unexpected—not like a typical croissant. It was more cakey than flaky and served with a dollop of whipped crème and gelato.

We didn’t get a photo of the Raspberry Panna Cotta. It wasn’t anything to write home about, but it was still fresh and creamy. Most desserts we had in France were not as sweet as we’re used to in America so it took some getting used to.

We finished our meals off with a café –small cups like espresso. So heads up if you want American-sized, you’ll need to ask for un grand café. It’s also their custom in France to bring your coffee after dessert.

Overall I’d highly recommend La Chistera Restaurante. The four of us left the restaurant fully satisfied, having experienced a classic French meal with an endearing atmosphere—Four-and-a-half stars!

Related Links (Coming Soon!)

The Roman Ruins of Arles, France

Spring Veal Stew

7-Minute Roasted Asparagus

Lavender Honey Butter

Read this story from the beginning

Goût de France: Thanks, Mom!

Click here to check out Megan’s educational adventure book for kids ages 8-12!

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