4 pounds boneless veal shoulder or leg, cut into 2-inch chunks
2 large carrots, cut into 2-inch pieces
1 medium onion, chopped
Bouquet garni made with 2 cloves, 8 peppercorns, 2 bay leaves, and 1 sprig of
4 cups chicken stock or canned low-sodium broth
3 cups dry white wine
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 medium leeks, white and light green, thinly sliced
1 pound small white mushrooms, trimmed
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 cups thawed frozen peas or halved snow peas
3 large egg yolks, at room temperature
1 cup heavy cream or crème fraîche, at room temperature
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon
Freshly ground pepper
Preheat the oven to 350°. In a large enameled cast-iron casserole, cover the veal with cold water and bring to a boil over high heat, skimming as necessary. Drain the meat in a colander. Return the meat to the casserole and add the carrots, onion, bouquet garni, stock and wine. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat, then cook the veal in the oven for about 2 1/2 hours, or until very tender.
Meanwhile, in a large nonreactive skillet, melt the butter over moderately high heat. Add the leeks and mushrooms and cook, stirring, for about 1 minute. Add 1/2 cup of water, the lemon juice and 1 teaspoon of salt and reduce the heat to low. Cook until the leeks and mushrooms are tender, about 10 minutes.
Transfer the stew to a colander set over a bowl. Discard the spice bag. Transfer the meat and vegetables to a large shallow bowl, cover and keep warm. Pour the broth back into the casserole and boil over high heat until reduced to 2 cups, about 15 minutes. Add the peas and cook until tender, about 2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove the peas from the broth and add them to the bowl with the veal.
In a small bowl, whisk the egg yolks and cream. Whisk in 1/2 cup of the hot broth. Add the egg-yolk mixture to the casserole and whisk constantly over moderately low heat until the sauce thickens, about 8 minutes; do not let the sauce boil. Remove from the heat and continue whisking for a minute or two to stop the cooking. Stir in the tarragon and season with salt and pepper. Pour the sauce over the veal and vegetables in the bowl and serve.
The veal stew can be refrigerated, covered, for up to 2 days. Remove the fat from the surface and reheat in a 350° oven before proceeding.
Such an elegant yet simple dish requires at least a semblance of luxury in the accompanying wine. Splurge on a nutty Hanzell Chardonnay from California or be more realistic and go for the Lageder Chardonnay from Italy.