A Dinner Fit for New Years Eve and SOOO Much More Fun than Going Out

We have done it all for NYE – going to parties, having dinner at various friend’s homes (always wonderful), a black tie dinner one year at Tony’s. But, we’ve decided we like to stay in. Don’t get me wrong. We still celebrate with a spectacular meal and wine worthy of the occasion. But it’s far safer and much more economical.

Last night we started with this creamy cauliflower soup, followed by veal chops stuffed with chorizo, wild mushrooms, spinach, and Parmesan, with creamy polenta and roasted green beans. Not to sound boastful, but the veal was nothing short of perfect. It was gorgeously caramelized and melted in your mouth. Then you get a bite of stuffing – earthy, slightly spicy and yet smoky, salty, and sweet. My mouth was quite happy. Polenta has become our new starch because it goes so nicely in color and texture with many meats. Oven roasting green beans are easy and yet they remain with a nice crunch.

Veal Chops with Chorizo, Mushrooms, Spinach, and Parmesan
Serves 2

About 3-ounce cooked Mexican chorizo, cooked, and I added some (2 slices ?) chopped cooked bacon to get the smoke Spanish chorizo (that the original recipe called for) provides
extra-virgin olive oil
a handful of dried mixed wild mushrooms, rehydrated, very thinly sliced
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 medium leek, white and tender green parts only, very thinly sliced crosswise
3/4 -1 C packed baby spinach
1/4 cup coarsely shredded Parmesan
Two 1-pound veal rib chops, cut 1 1/2 inches thick
1/4 C red wine
2 T dry Marsala
1/4 C chicken stock
1 T unsalted butter

Preheat the oven to 425°.  Set the oven racks to the lowest rack and highest enough rack to hold a skillet.

In a medium skillet, heat about 1 T olive oil. Add the mushrooms, season with salt and pepper and cook over high heat until browned on the bottom, about 4 minutes. Add the leeks, cover and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the cooked chorizo and bacon, stirring for 1 minute. Add the spinach and stir just until wilted. Turn off heat and let cool slightly. Stir in the cheese and season with salt and pepper.

Transfer the skillet to the top rack of the oven and roast the chops for 5 minutes. Turn the veal chops, and switch pan to the lowest rack of the oven and roast for 5 minutes longer, or until just pink. Transfer the chops to a warmed platter.

Bring the skillet back to the cooktop over moderate heat and add the wine, scraping up any browned bits stuck to the bottom. Simmer for 1 minute. Add the Marsala and stock and simmer until slightly reduced, about 3 minutes. Off the heat, whisk in the butter and season the sauce with salt and pepper.

Remove the skewers from the meat. Spoon the pan sauce on top and serve.

Bon Appétit!

Using a thin, sharp knife, cut a pocket in each veal chop. Insert the blade 2 inches into the center of the chop, cutting horizontally from one side to the other without cutting completely through. Generously fill the chops with the stuffing and secure the openings by threading them closed with bamboo skewers. Break off the ends of the skewers that protrude from the meat.

Heat 1 T olive oil in a large skillet. Season the veal chops with salt and pepper. Cook over moderately high heat, turning once, until nicely browned, about 9 minutes.


  1. I found your blog when I was trying to replicate Straub's chicken salad. I just wanted to write and let you know that I enjoy reading your posts. I made the African Sweet Potato Stew from Cooking Light this week and was amazed that it was so yummy. Definitely outside of my normal comfort zone. I also read the Thomas Keller comments about intuitive cooking but I think I have a ways to go with that. It's a goal. If you have any local cooking classes that you might recommend, I would love to hear your thoughts.
    Take care,

  2. Susan, thanks so much for the post. For the most part, I try to cook healthy five nights a week and have one splurge night like the menu on NYEs. Your blog is quite inspirational for living a healthy lifestyle.

    Please email me and I can respond to your question about cooking classes.



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