Veal Chops with Mushroom Cream Sauce

Mother nature decided we were NOT going to have fun with roller coasters this weekend, so we decided to stick around Chicago instead. The good news about this change of plans was that I was able to cook a DELICIOUS meal last night.

When rummaging through our fridge of meat, I decided to break us out of our normal meat routine and make some gorgeous veal chops we picked up from the Farmer’s Market recently.

I am a big fan of adding extra flavor to meats with a rub. I put Luke to work with our mortar and pestle grinding up three garlic cloves, olive oil, pepper and some cayenne pepper.

I rubbed the garlic paste into both sides of the chops and then pan seared thems in olive oil (heated until smoking) for three minutes on both sides

After searing, I put the chops on a plate and covered with foil. I added some beef stock and scraped up all the seared-on pieces from the bottom of the pan.

Despite not really liking mushrooms, I was craving a mushroom-cream sauce. What can I say? I’m an odd bird. I added some cipollini mushrooms, heavy cream and pepper to the liquid in the pan. To thicken it a little, I added some hazelnut flour (because we try to avoid white flour,) but any type will work.

I know the above doesn’t really give much guidance on the sauce, but you should just eyeball it all to your taste.

I let the sauce simmer 2-3 minutes to cook the mushrooms and then returned the chops to the sauce, covered and simmered another 5-7 minutes. You’ll want to spoon some of the sauce onto the chops throughout the cooking process.

I really like the combination of the tender veal with the creamy, savory sauce. They compliment each other very well.

To add to the inventiveness of the meal, I decided to try a NEW vegetable for a side: Radicchio. This hard-to-pronounce vegetable has a slightly bitter flavor that works really well with a salty counterpart. This is what it looks like at the store:

Kind of like red cabbage, but smaller.

I found a recipe in a cookbook at home for pancetta-wrapped radicchio that looks delicious and easy. To make it, just cut the head into wedges, drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper and wrap with a piece of pancetta or bacon.

Throw the pan into a 350 degree oven for 10-15 minutes until the pancetta is crispy and the radicchio is soft. Drizzle with some balsamic vinegar and what you get is this crazy-yummy “vegetable” side dish.

All in all, I’d say mother nature did us a favor bringing the storms so we’d be forced to stay in town and go on some culinary explorations!