March 12, 2012

Veal Stew with Spring Greens

It's not March 20 yet, but spring has...well...sprung in St. Louis already. High temperatures are expected near 80 this week. In fact, we've had an unseasonably warm winter. There was no real snow to speak of. Flowers and trees started blooming in February.

I've been so looking forward to the warm weather and longer days. I'm realized this year, more than ever, how much I am affected by winter's dark days. I've felt like I was constantly crabby; every one and every thing irritated me. I was annoyed at work, which has been difficult for me this year with teaching an extra class and encountering some challenging students/situations. I felt so overwhelmed with everything that I suffered from paralyzing anxiety. I was also very sad, often breaking down in tears at home (and once at school), usually for no real reason. Of course, I'm sure some of that was residual from my divorce in September. Still, I would say that I was actually depressed this winter.

But, now, I'm soaking up this lovely sunshine and ready to power through the last two months of school. Since we had no snow days this year, we are done May 22. MAY 22! I hate to admit it, but I'm just as anxious as the students are. Summer Kelly is much more fun and relaxed than School Kelly.

The change in weather always makes me change my eating habits. Winters are full of soups and pastas at my house. In the spring, I want vegetables and lighter dishes. This recipe, which I saw in Food & Wine magazine two years ago, is the perfect dish for early spring. It's hearty & comforting enough for those too-chilly spring evenings but light & bright enough to satisfy the cravings I have this time of year.

This is a very versatile recipe as well. Instead of veal, you could use lamb or beef or bone-in chicken (or any meat you'd like, really)...just choose a cut that is good for braising. Or, you could brown up some chopped boneless/skinless chicken breast & add the greens (without braising). It could also easily be made vegetarian by substituting garbanzo beans or tofu for the veal (skipping the braising steps).

Veal Stew with Spring Greens
slightly adapted from Food & Wine

photo from F&W