volvent.jpg (19816 bytes)                   Vol-Au-Vent

This is a great veal based dinner, from France. This meal will impress anyone you serve it to, just don't tell them its veal, 'cos some people get weird about that. I just try to ignore it. This will serve 3 hungry people, or 4 normal appetite type folks.

Ingredients:

    2 lbs veal stew meat
    1 Large can mushrooms, drained
    1 Large can Olives, sliced     (Green if you like them and can find them without inserts, black otherwise)
    1  Onion, chopped in small pieces
    2 Knorr Chicken Cubes
    3/4 16 oz. can diced tomatoes    (no Italian recipe, just plain old tomatoes)
    2-3 tlbs Wondra Flour
    Pastry Shells (see note below)
    2 to 3 cups water

Scenario:

    This dinner was passed down from my mom, and has been a tradition on the French side of the family for a long time.. She used to use this meal  as a "carrot" to make me come over for dinner, but I now know how to make it myself. She still has lots of "carrots" left however.

    The flavor of this meal depends a whole lot on the way the meat is cooked, the quality of the meat, and the amount of fat in the meat. I try to find fresh veal stew meat from a quality grocery store, with some fat in the grain of the meat if possible. As most stew meat from grocery store is cut in big chunks, you may want to cut the meat into smaller pieces. Remember, you will want to combine several ingredients into each bite you eat.vovmeat.jpg (44013 bytes)

    In a large pan, put a small amount of oil, enough to cover the entire pan. Pre-heat the oil to "quite hot". Add the meat.  Leave the heat on high. The goal is to brown the meat, not boil it. As the meat cooks, if too much liquid accumulates in the pan, pour it into a bowl, save it for later. Keep turning the meat, and pouring off liquid until the meat is very brown. Don't burn it, but try to brown it evenly. As the meat browns, if the pan starts getting dry, pour in a little bit of the liquid you saved earlier. Keep the pan on hot, and the adding of the liquid should make things exciting, lots of sizzling to impress your friends.

    When you are happy with the meat, i.e. its nice and brown, put it into a bowl. Add a little more oil to the pan, put in the onions and cook on medium until they are transparent. Take the pan off the stove, and put the meat back into the pan, and add 3/4 can of drained diced tomatoes, then sprinkle the flour into the pan.  Stir until well mixed. Let sit for 5 minutes. (Don't know why this has to be done, it just has to).

    Dissolve the chicken cubes in about 2 cups of water. Pour this mixture into the pan, along with the drained mushrooms and olives. Add more water  to cover the meat. Bring to a boil, then turn down to a low simmer. Cook this concoction for about 2 to 3  hours, stirring once in a while.

    This meal is served poured into pastry shells. If you know of a bakery nearby that sells "Puff Pastry Shells", you can try them from there. If not, I often use Pepperidge Farm's Puff Pastry Shells, they do the job.  Two or three pastry shells filled with this wonderful Vol-Au-Vent creation should be plenty for one person.

 

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