The painted façade beneath the bridge hosted a parallel square of lined farmer and artisan vendors selling their fresh goods as the wind howled through the arched opening. Most customers, often huddled together, bundled up with the only visible distinction, brightly flushed cheeks between pulled down wool hats and scarves.
Loyal vendors still drew crowds among loyal neighbors and the greater community at Phoenixville Farmers Market this past Saturday, though in a frigid still of quiet, speaking little more than a brief greeting and decided order request, the swept hushed silence was broken only by the occasional shrill buzz from the spinning metal machine of the market knife sharpener specialist .
With the exception of firmly grasping around a cardboard cup filled with steaming hot floral tea of the day, leather gloves proved not a good choice for a snow warned forecast molding the black fabric tightly into five curves requiring energetic tugging before trembling in the bitterness attempting to separate and pass over the bills of payment then painfully clenching the paper bag and purchased fresh contents within.
Unlikely was casual perusing among the farmers and artisans of the day and any lack of pre-planning required imminent decision making, a baguette, a rustic crusty white bread, a bagged packet of white peach sangria pure blend tea, a paper bag filled with potatoes still covered with bits of earth, fresh stuffed raviolis, some raw milk blue cheese.
The decidedly inspired meal of the evening, Birchrun Hills Farm veal flank steaks later seared and stuffed from a generous bag of mixed Pennsylvania award winning mushrooms from Oley Valley Mushroom Farm, meaty shitakes, soft greyish oysters, nutty, buttery royal trumpets and firm round criminis, seared then mixed with some chopped fresh kale, topped with a veal stock and wine butter sauce.
Alongside a richly flavored Bordeaux and served surrounding warm crackling logs in the fireplace faded the memory of facing the howling wind whipping round the painted façade beneath the Gay Street Bridge on the days visit to the Phoenixville Farmers Market, perhaps it was merely only a severe brisk after all.
- 3 Birchrun Hills veal flank steaks, approximately half pound each
- 4 cups Oley Valley fresh mushroom mix, criminis, shitake, oyster, royal trumpets, large, tough stems removed then sliced
- 2 tablespoons fresh thyme, leaves removed from stems
- 2 cups chopped kale
- 10 tablespoons butter, approximately: 2 tablespoons for kale, 2 tablespoons for mushrooms, 3 tablespoons for searing stuffed veal flanks, 3 tablespoons for sauce
- 5 tablespoons olive oil, approximately: 1 tablespoon for kale, 2 tablespoons for mushrooms, 2 tablespoons for searing veal
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt for the mushrooms, or more to taste, plus, lightly sprinkling on both sides of pounded veal flanks
- cracked black pepper, enough for sprinkling over mushrooms and, on both sides of pounded veal flank
- 1 1/4 cup veal or beef stock
- 6 tablespoons red wine
- 3 tablespoons butter, approximately, or a bit more for added silkiness
- 2 cups of the reserved seared mushrooms
- kosher salt, a sprinkling to taste
- cracked black pepper, a sprinkling to taste
- baking sheet
- kitchen string
- meat pounder
- large cast iron pan
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Heat a medium size saute pan then add in olive oil and butter. When butter is melted tilt in the fresh chopped kale stirring and moving kale pieces constantly about three to four minutes. Once kale is cooked and softened transfer to a large bowl.
- Heat a medium to large size saute pan then add in the olive oil and butter. Once butter is melted increase temperature to high and toss in the four cups of mixed fresh mushrooms and sear, letting mushrooms just sit undisturbed on high heat about three minutes then stir one time throughout before continuing to sear on high heat again for another two to three minutes without stirring. Sprinkle in the salt, pepper, and thyme, stir through, check seasoning adjusting salt or pepper to desired taste. Combine half of the seared mushrooms with the sauteed kale reserving the other half of the seared mushrooms in a separate bowl.
- Using a meat pounder, pound veal to a little thicker than an eighth inch between two pieces plastic wrap (photo illustration above.) Once pounded, transfer flanks to a baking sheet. Lightly sprinkle both sides of each veal piece with salt and pepper. Heap a few mounded tablespoonfuls or more on the end of each veal steak leaving a little room on each side to prevent filling from falling out when rolling. Beginning on the side covered with the mushroom and kale stuffing, roll up each veal flank steak tightly then tie with kitchen string in the center, each end, and lengthwise. Heat a large cast iron pan on high heat for about two minutes. Pour in the olive oil followed by dropping in the butter, using a pot holder twirl the melting butter around to evenly coat the bottom of the pan. Place each stuffed veal flank steak into the pan and sear on high heat without turning veal over for four minutes. Roll the veal over to the other side and sear another four minutes, approximately, until side has reached a nice browned color. Once browned all around, place the pan with stuffed veal into the preheated oven. Begin preparing sauce. Cook veal for 7 minutes, remove from oven, tent with aluminum foil and let stuffed flank rest in the cooking pan for ten minutes.
- Pour veal or beef stock into a small size saute pan cooking on high heat until reduced by about three-quarters the original amount, about four to five minutes. Pour in the red wine, reduce heat to medium and continue cooking for another three to four minutes. A bit at a time begin whisking in the butter pieces until well incorporated. Drop in the reserved two cups mushrooms, stir, cooking for about one to two minutes until mushrooms are warmed through then turn off heat.
- Remove stuffed veal flank to a cutting board. Using a sharp serrated bread knife carefully cut stuffed veal into slices arranging a few slices on each plate. Spoon the mushrooms from the sauce on top of the veal slices and some at the base. Ladle a small amount of sauce over mushroom topped veal spirals and some in a small pool beneath the veal.