Back in Spanish Harlem, the family did not eat that much veal. Reason being, it was an expensive cut of meat. Thus, veal was a special occasion for us. And when we had it, Ternera en Fricasé was one of our most popular renditions. You can call it veal fricassée. Years later I learned that our version was similar to the French dish called Veal Marengo. In that renowned effort, mushrooms and parsley are combined with the meat to create a sort of veal stew. We do it the Nuyorican way in that we adhere to a simple mix consisting of broth, tomato sauce, onions and pepper strips. If desired, quartered potatoes, capers and olives can be included in the mix. Just increased liquid content accordingly by adding ½ cup water.

Back on the block, the accompaniment to this dish was arroz con gandules,  or rice with pigeon peas (see blog 12/01/14 for a recipe). This time around we used mashed potatoes and,as a side dish, it was perfect.

Let me add that this recipe is from my first cookbook, Puerto Rican Cuisine in America (Running Press). It’s still out there, folks.

(Veal Fricassée)


2 pound boneless shoulder of veal, cut into 1-inch chunks
1/2 cup flour
Salt and ground black pepper to taste
1/2 cup olive oil
1 medium onion, peeled and finely sliced
1 large green bell pepper, cored, seeded and cut into ¼-inch strips
2 cloves garlic, peeled and crush
1 cup beef broth or bouillon
1 8-ounce can tomato sauce
1 tablespoon fresh chopped oregano or ½ teaspoon dried
½ teaspoon fresh chopped thyme or ¼ teaspoon dried
1 bay leaf


  1. Rinse veal and pat dry with paper towels.
  2.  Season flour with salt and pepper.
  3.  Dredge veal chunks in seasoned flour
  4.  Heat oil in a heavy skillet or Dutch oven. Sauté onions, bell pepper and garlic over moderate heat for about 4 minutes. Add veal and cook until meat is lightly browned (another 2-3 minutes).
  5.  Add broth, tomato sauce, oregano, thyme a d bay leaf. Stir to combine.
  6.  Cover and simmer, on low heat, for 20-30 minutes or until veal is tender.
    Yield: 4 servings