soup and stew season: Slow Cooker Ragoût of Veal for 20

Sunday November 8, 2015

Every so often you need a good dinner party dish or family-style stew. Here is a luscious braised veal stew for that occasion.  You must have a very large, family sized slow cooker for this recipe.  I give you the choice of peeling your own baby pearl onions or using frozen, for convenience.  You can make this the day before and reheat; it will only be better. Serve with a combination of white and wild rice, very fresh crusty French bread with sweet butter, and a good green salad vinaigrette with crumbled Roquefort, dried cranberries, and thin pear slices. A feast for the season.


Slow Cooker: 7-or 8-quart large round or oval

Settings and Cook Times: HIGH for 1 hour, then LOW for 7 to 9 hours; stew thickened and mushrooms added during last 30 minutes

Serves 20


  • 9 pounds veal stew meat or boneless veal shoulder, trimmed of fat and cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour or rice flour
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons freshly black ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 cups dry white wine
  • 5 cups chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 8 cloves garlic, peeled and skewered onto toothpicks or a bamboo skewer
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
  • 2 bouquet garni (each containing 3 sprigs fresh parsley, celery leaves, and 1 bay leaf together with 2 celery strings or thin lengths of leek greens)
  • Four 10-ounce bags frozen pearl onions, thawed
  • 3 tablespoons soft unsalted butter mashed together with 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  • 2 pounds wild or domestic mushrooms, stems removed if necessary and sliced
  • 1/4 cup snipped fresh dill


1. Pat the veal dry with paper towels.  In a zippered-top plastic bag or bowl, toss the veal with the flour, salt, and pepper until evenly coated.  In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat the oil until very hot.  Add the veal and cook in batches until browned on all sides, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer to the slow cooker.  Add the wine to the skillet and bring to a boil, scraping up any browned bits stuck to the pan; add to the cooker.  Add the broth, tomato paste, garlic, oregano, and bouquet garni to the cooker. Cover and cook on HIGH for 2 hours.

2.  Add the onions, then adjust the heat to LOW and cook until the veal is tender enough to cut with a fork, 7 to 9 hours.

3. Remove the garlic and discard, then taste for seasoning.  Remove the meat and onions with a slotted spoon, then add the butter-flour paste in pieces to the cooker.  Cover and cook on LOW until thickened, about 15 minutes.

4. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the mushrooms and cook until slightly browned; let any juice evaporate a bit.

5. Return the meat and onions to the thickened sauce and stir in the dill and cooked mushrooms.  Cover and let heat for 15 minutes on HIGH, then serve hot.

painting by Karl Larssen

Excerpted from Not Your Mother’s Slow Cooker Entertaining, by Beth Hensperger and Julie Kaufmann. (c) 2007, used by permission from the Harvard Common Press.

Recipe and text copyright Beth Hensperger 2015

Please enjoy the recipe and make it your own. If you copy the recipe and text for internet use, please include my byline and link to my site.

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