Rustic Tuscan Veal

Debbi’s Story

I’m a creator. An inventor. I love to improvise. The slow cooker for me is about looking in the fridge and seeing what I can throw together that I think will taste delicious. The problem with this type of cooking, is that I very rarely remember what I put into my dish and if my family ask me to make the same dish again… it’s often impossible! But this is one that I will make all the time. We love that the veal is not too overpowering in flavour (like lamb or beef would be) – and all the piquant flavours get to shine through. I sometimes throw in chickpeas (please…no tinned ones) if I have any made up, or eggplant, or both.

We call this dish lemon veal with olives, but I made up the name Rustic Tuscan Veal just for this website!


Serves 4-6

1.5kg veal goulash
1 bunch tuscan cabbage (cavolo nero) or spinach if not available, chopped coarsely
1 tin pitted green olives (I use Israeli ones), chopped
1/3 cup olive oil, plus extra for frying
1 large onion, chopped or cut into wedges
8 cloves garlic, roughly smashed and crushed with a wooden spoon
4-6 anchovies
1 cup dry white wine
1 large tin crushed tomatoes
3 tablespoons tomato paste
4 cups stock (chicken or beef. I usually use a stock powder such as Massel and make according to instructions)
2-3 slices stale sourdough bread (discard crusts)
Salt and pepper, to taste
Juice of 2 lemons
Parsley to garnish
Optional: 1 cup precooked chickpeas and/or one eggplant


Recipe Notes:
You will be preparing this in 2 saucepans- one for the browning and making the sauce, and then the slow cooker.

1) Brush a very light coating of olive oil in a heavy-based saucepan and brown the veal in batches, adding salt and pepper to taste. As each batch of veal is browned, put it aside into the slow cooker, layering with some tuscan cabbage and olives.

2) Deglaze the pan with a little bit of water to get all the brown meaty bits off. Throw this liquid into the slow cooker.

3) Dry off the saucepan with a paper towel and add the olive oil, onions and garlic and saute until lightly browned. If using eggplant, brown together with the onions and garlic. Mash up the anchovies with a fork and toss them through the onions. Take the onion mixture and layer it in with the meat.

4) Add the wine into the saucepan and simmer for 2-3 minutes.

5) Add the tinned tomatoes, tomato paste, and stock and bring to the boil.

6) Remove saucepan from the stove and gently pour mixture into the slow cooker over the meat and all the vegetables. Make sure all the meat is covered – you may need to add a little more stock depending on the size of your slow cooker.

Cook on low for 6-7 hours. Your house will smell amazing when everyone arrives home from school and work!

Alternatively, you can cook it in your saucepan in the oven (I use my Le Creuset pot) for 3 hours on 180C. The house will still smell amazing – and you’ll have one less appliance to wash up.

Half-way through the cooking time, add the sourdough bread which you need to crumble up into fine little pieces. (If you are unable to do this step, prior to serving warm up the dish and add the bread. It will take at least 30 minutes for the bread to thicken the sauce).
If using chickpeas, add them half way through the cooking time as well.

Just before serving, mix in the juice of 2 lemons, season with salt and pepper; and sprinkle with chopped parsley.

This is delicious served with soft polenta or mashed potato.