french veal stew

If you follow Cooking the Book on Facebook, you know that I adore the All Souls Trilogy by Deborah Harkness. Now that they’ve made a television series, my borderline obsession has only grown. For this Fictional Food Friday, I’m making the veal stew that appears in the first book of the series.

If you’re not familiar with the series, it begins with A Discovery of Witches.
It’s the story of witches, daemons, and vampires and how they came to be. We follow witch Diana Bishop and vampire Matthew Clairmont, in particular. There is so much happening; mysterious books, supernatural politics, romance, hunting, humor… The stories are wonderfully written and the production company Bad Wolf (yes, that is absolutely a Doctor Who reference) has done a marvelous job bringing the stories to life.

Scents and tastes are incredibly important themes throughout the series. While Harkness has put her on spin on supernatural lore, vampires in the All Souls universe still have amazing senses. This allows for some very poetic descriptions of various scents and tastes. Honestly, Matthew discussing everything he smells and tastes in a glass of wine is basically foreplay… but I digress… The emphasis on the sensual side of food makes it impossible to resist making a dish or two!

french veal stew

Let’s Get Cooking!

I based this recipe off of a recipe for Veal Normande. It gets the apples and cream, which is essential based on the description of the dish from the book: “The next course was a stew, with chunks of meat in a frgrant sauce. My first bite told me it was veal, fixed with apples and bit of cream, served atop rice.”

I had to make a couple of adjustments because of ingredient availability, but it turned out absolutely deliciously. This would be great with veal cutlets, chicken breasts, or chunks of pork. Feel free to use your favorite!

I hope you give this one a try. It’s a really elevated comfort food and everyone in my house liked it. Let us know what you think!

French Veal Stew

Inspired by A Discovery of Witches by Deb Harkness
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time30 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: French
Keyword: Stew, Veal
Servings: 4


  • 1 Tablespoons butter
  • 1 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 cup onions; minced
  • 1 lb ground veal
  • 1 can can cream mushroom soup
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tart apple; peeled, sliced, cored I used a Pink Lady
  • 5 tbsp apple brandy
  • freshly cooked wild rice or home fried potatoes


  • Melt butter with oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. 
  • Add veal and onions, cook veal  through.
  •  Add brandy  to skillet and stir, scraping up any browned bits clinging to bottom of pan.
  •  Blend in soup, cream, and milk.
  • Reduce heat, add apple, and simmer; stirring once or twice, until heated through.
  •  Serve over rice or alongside potatoes

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