Shoulder of Veal with Polenta and Spinach

I’ve already written about all of the dishes in tonights’ meal, but I’ll share the menu with you, give you a recap of the technique, then tell you about any new discoveries I’ve made in the preparation of any of the dishes, since there are often new discoveries whenever I make something–no matter how many times I’ve made it.

The main course, a boneless shoulder of veal, was my New Year’s Eve dinner and my very first post.  As I wrote in that post, this dish should be made at least one day before serving it.  So this was made the other night, and I’m serving it tonight.  The technique is typical for a braised dish–the veal gets lightly dredged in flour, browned in oil, then seat aside.  In to the dutch oven, go a couple of coarsely chopped onions, 3 sprigs of fresh rosemary, 2 cups white wine and 2 cups chicken broth.   After simmering the sauce for about 5 minutes, add back the roast, cover and bake at 325 degrees for 2 hours.  Refrigerate overnight and slice cold.  To serve, simply reheat slices in a bit of the pan jus.

For my polenta tonight, I’m using the last of the outstanding artisanal polenta that a friend gave me a few months ago and which I’ve kept in the freezer.  To order it, go to  I posted about this a month or so ago, and tonight I made a new discovery while making it . . . I’ve always made my polenta with 5 parts water/1 part cornmeal.  The last time I made it, it resulted in a watery polenta that I couldn’t seem to cook long enough to thicken it (I cooked it for 3 hours).  So tonight, I decided to go with a 4 to 1 ratio.   Well, it worked wonders . . . I was able to get the polenta to a nice porridge within 1 hour.

Since I had counted on 3 hours to make it, I simply turned off the flame and left it covered for  a few hours, then when I was ready to serve, began slowly reheating it and breaking it up with the back of a wooden spoon.   I added some broth to it while reheating it (about a cup), and it turned out perfectly–sturdy and thick, but not undercooked.  All I needed to do was add a bit less water and let it sit for a while!

The sauteed spinach can also be found in my first post, “New Years Eve Dinner”.  No surprises here, just boil it, squeeze it well, saute it in oil with some garlic, and add some homemade chicken broth to it at the end–the broth makes all the difference in the world.  I now only make sauteed spinach when I have homemade chicken broth in the house (either freshly made or in the freezer).  I’ve tried it with chicken bouillon and it doesn’t compare.

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3 Responses to Shoulder of Veal with Polenta and Spinach

  1. Steven L. Salzman says:

    As the friend who got you the grits, I thought I would share a new technique for polenta which I tried the other night, to pair with the leftover stew that Mrs. Friedman gave me from Sam’s birthday dinner on Saturday. I was starving and wanted to reheat the stew and serve it over something nice and warming. I thought the corny flavor of polenta would be perfect, but I didn’t want to wait 40 min. let alone 4 hours and wondered if I could do it in the pressure cooker. I used 3 cups of water to 1 cup of Logan Turnpike Farm Grits which I had rinse in a bowl of water to separate out the chafe. Brought the water to the boil, dumped in the grits and some salt and locked the lid on and brought it to high pressure. I turned it down to the barest simmer, just enough heat to keep the pressure up, and in 15 min. I had perfect polenta. Beautifully cooked, no excess water and exqusite texture. I was shocked. In less than half an hour from having the original idea, I had the dish on the table. (Since I had skipped the cheese which I did not think would go with the Ropa Viejha, I fried up the leftovers and had them for breakfast the next morning with butter and maple syrup. I will never stand over the polenta pot again.

    • fjbnyc says:

      steven–that’s brilliant!! that’s the first i’ve heard of polenta from the pressure cooker. bravo. and thank you for subscribiing to my blog. i’ll try not to disappoint!

  2. OMG Steven, what a great idea. I can’t wait to try it. Thanks for sharing!

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