For our honeymoon we spent a wonderfully romantic week in Vienna and Prague. We stayed in a palace, toured castles, took a river cruise, saw a giant panda, drank some beer and ate lots of yummy food – probably too much schnitzle but that’s another story! One of our favorite meals and nights was dining at Motto am Fluss. Motto am Fluss is a boat docked along the Danube Canal in Vienna that features a restaurant, bar and cafe. Dining along the canal provided great views of the city, very romantic setting for our last evening in Vienna before traveling to Prague. That night I ordered the braised veal shoulder roast, which to my delight was served in an individual sized cast iron pot. The veal was accompanied with carrots and pearl onions in a rich sauce with mushrooms, there was also a second pot of mashed potatoes with horseradish. I shouldn’t forget to mention the bacon that seasoned the veal (when in doubt add more meat!!). I tried my best to take it all in, in hopes I could replicate the meal once we returned home. After an unsuccessful search for a similar recipe, I recently worked up the courage to try myself without the recipe safety net… This will be my first attempt at cooking a more complex meal without a recipe. I picked up the veal shoulder roast I ordered from my butcher and held my breath…
In thinking about the flavours I decided to braise the meat in red wine, stock, onion, garlic and thyme. I also decided to forego the bacon, because I wasn’t sure when eating it the first time what the bacon added. The mashed potatoes would be without the horseradish since T. was not a fan. Overall I was pleased with the outcome, although I think next time I would let the meat rest in the sauce to absorb the flavours instead of spooning for the meat before serving. I will also add the bacon for flavour (silly me not sure what I was thinking). You will also notice from the pictures the meal was without the carrots – I was half way through the cooking process when I realized I didn’t have carrots. It was a Sunday night and we were cozy watching TV waiting for dinner so the carrots did not seem all that important.
Our evening in Vienna ended with chocolate fondant, complete with a sparkler and advice for a happy marriage thanks to our awesome waiter, and a glass of Talisker 35 year old Whisky (probably the best whisky I’ll ever have the good fortune of tasting). Last night our evening ended with watching Top Gear.. slightly less magical 😉 But it was special to try to replicate a meal we shared on our honeymoon, brought back great memories of our trip. It was also a great confidence booster to be able to create a yummy meal all on my own. I think I will still probably stick to recipes, but cooking without one is far more creative and adventurous! Definitely making me a smarter home cook.
Here is my recipe for what I’m going to call the honeymoon roast – braised veal shoulder roast with mushroom sauce and mashed garlic potatoes. Trust me when I say after 6 months of internet searching… you won’t find a recipe like this out there.
- 3 pound boneless veal shoulder roast, rolled and tied. Let meat come to room temperature, then dust with seasoned flour. Heat oil in a large dutch oven. Brown meat on all sides – about 10 minutes. Remove meat and set aside.
- Add one medium sized white onion (quartered) and 8 cloves of garlic crushed. Allow to soften about 8- 10 mins. Scarping the brown bits from the bottom.
- Add 2 cups of red wine (remember if you wouldn’t drink it don’t cook with it!!) and bring to a boil. Then add 900 ml good quality chicken stock, 2 sprigs of fresh thyme and 1 bay leaf. Reduce to a simmer and cover. Turn the meat every 30 mins, allow to braise for 2.5 – 3 hours till the meat is tender. (Note: if I had carrots I was planning on adding in when there was an hour left of cooking time)
Once the meat is tender, remove and allow to rest while you prepare your sauce.
- Bring the stock to a boil to reduce by about half.
- Add butter to fry pan, once heated add thickly slice crimini mushrooms.
- Once mushrooms have browned add 3 cups of the strained stock. Allow stock and mushrooms to simmer for about 5 mins. Then stir in 3 tbsp of heavy cream, and add parsley and pepper. After the sauce has simmered, add a little shaker flour to thicken sauce if needed. Check seasoning, making necessary adjustments.
In the meantime prepare your mashed potatoes (or whatever you’d like to accompany the meat).
Just before you are ready to plate, slice the meat.
To plate I served the mashed potatoes on the side/centre of the plate, topped with 2 pieces meat (there is a far amount of fat) and then spooned the sauce and mushrooms over the meat.
As I mentioned above I was happy with the outcome, but I would definitely suggest making more of the sauce and allowing the meat to rest in the sauce before serving. In Vienna they served larger chunks of meat in the sauce, process of learning I can now see how that would work well with this style of meat.