Saturday, September 28, 2013

Blanquette de Veau

Bob and I have two favorite dishes that have their roots in French peasant kitchens. Mine is Cotes de Pork L'Auvergnate, a wonderful dish of pork and cabbage that's braised in cream. Bob's is Blanquette de Veau, a white veal stew that's made with mushrooms and pearl onions that comes from Normandy. Veal, other than cutlets, is difficult to come by here. Every now and then, veal stew meat appears in one of our supermarkets and when it is available I buy all of it I can. We really love this dish and for years I served it for dinner on Christmas Eve. All cooks have dishes they make from memory. These two recipes have been burned into mine and I put them together as easily as some folks throw together a meatloaf. Practice makes perfect. It helps that they are very easy to do. Last week I was able to buy veal stew meat and made Bob his favorite stew. Here's the recipe.

Blanquette de Veau - Veal Stew with Mushrooms and Onions


3 pounds veal stew meat, cut in 2-inch cubes

2 quarts water

3 cups chicken broth

1 large carrot, peeled, in 3-inch chunks

1 large onion stuck with 1 whole clove

1 stalk celery, in 2-inch pieces

1 bouquet garni (1/2 bay leaf, 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme, 5 parsley sprigs) tied in a coffee filter


18 medium-size white mushrooms, trimmed

1/2 of 10-ounce bag frozen pearl onions

4 tablespoon butter

5 tablespoon all-purpose flour

Salt, pepper and lemon juice to taste

3 egg yolks

Chopped parsley for garnish


1) Place veal in a 4-quart casserole. Add water and bring to a boil. Simmer until heavy scum no longer rises, about 10 minutes. Drain and rinse veal. Wash pan and return meat to it. Add chicken broth, carrot, celery, onion and bouquet garni to veal. Salt lightly to taste. Simmer slowly, partially covered, until meat is tender, about 1 hours. Remove pan from heat. Let pot sit, uncovered, for about 30 minutes to allow veal to absorb flavor of cooking liquid. With a slotted spoon, remove veal from cooking liquid. Set aside. Remove vegetables and bouquet garni; discard. Strain cooking liquid into a large saucepan. Wash kettle and return veal to it along with cooking liquid. Add mushrooms and onions and cook for 30 minutes longer.

2) Remove meat and vegetables to a large bowl with a slotted spoon. Tent with foil to keep warm. Reserve 3 cups of cooking liquid; keep hot.

3) Melt butter in a 3 quart saucepan. Add flour and cook until flour and butter froth together for 2 minutes. Do not allow to brown. Slowly whisk in hot broth. Simmer for 10 minutes, skimming off any foam that appears on surface of sauce. Adjust seasoning and add lemon juice to taste (I generally use a tablespoon of lemon juice). Return veal, mushrooms and onions to sauce and toss gently to coat. Simmer for about 3 minutes. Blend egg yolks and cream in a small bowl. Add a ladle full of sauce to cream mixture to warm egg yolks. Remove veal from heat. Stir in cream mixture and return to a gentle heat. Stir gently until mixture thickens slightly, about 10 minutes. Do not let sauce come to a boil. Transfer to a warm serving bowl. Garnish with parsley and serve with rice or parsley buttered noodles. Yield: 6 servings.

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