|Blanquette de veau with boiled potato.|
Blanquette de Veau, a white veal stew, is a classic of French cuisine. Veal, which is the meat of calves, is commonly available here, and although not the cheapest meat, is very popular. The calves are either the 'unwanted' male calves from dairy herds, which are hand reared in cohorts in airy straw filled barns, or Limousin beef calves produced specifically for veal and raised with their mothers on pasture. The notorious veal crates used for producing pale tender veal by locking calves in kennels and keeping them immobile and in the dark were banned in 2006. My opinion is that if you wish to eat dairy products, you must accept eating veal.
|A typical pack of veal meat for blanquette. The labelling tells you the calf was raised to a high welfare standard and was a dairy breed.|
30 g butter
1 tbsp oil
1.3 kg veal pieces
1 tbsp flour
2 carrots, cleaned and cut into thick rounds or chunks
1 onion, peeled and cut into quarters
1 leek, cleaned and cut into thick rounds
1 bouquet garni
2 egg yolks
100 ml cream
Juice of 1/2 a lemonSalt and pepper
- Heat the butter and oil in a large saucepan and lightly brown the veal in two batches (optional).
- Return all the meat to the pan and sprinkle over the flour.
- Stir to make sure the flour is well blended into the fat.
- Add just enough water to not quite cover the meat (don't be too generous), bring to the boil while stirring several times.
- Add the carrots, leek, onion and bouquet garni, stir to combine with the meat.
- Bring to the boil, then lower the heat and simmer very gently for an hour and a half.
- In a small saucepan beat the egg yolks, cream and lemon juice together.
- Season the egg yolk and cream mixture.
- Add a ladle full of hot veal stock to the egg yolk and cream mixture, mix well.
- Cook the egg yolk and cream mixture gently, stirring constantly until it thickens (beware -- this is like custard, and will curdle if you go too hard and too fast).
- Add the 'custard' to the meat saucepan and stir well.
- Use a slotted spoon to plate up the meat and vegetables, then spoon over a generous quantity of sauce.
- Serves 6, with plain boiled potatoes.
|Browning the veal pieces.|
A blanquette is literally a white stew, only made with white meats such as chicken, pork, and most often veal. Traditionally the meat would not have been browned, but put raw in the pot along with the vegetables and water, to slowly cook.
I made my own bouquet garni, from celery leaves, a bay leaf and two sprigs of thyme wrapped in two pieces of leek leaf and tied. Don't be too heavy handed with the thyme, or it will overwhelm the delicate flavour of the veal.
|The prepared vegetables. The yellow carrots are an old French variety called Jaune du Doubs.|
Mushrooms make a nice addition, although they are not traditional. About 100 g of white or chestnut button mushrooms, halved or quartered depending on their size, added after the blanquette has been cooking for about an hour.
|Ready to cook.|
|Ready to serve.|
|Egg yolk and cream mixture. |
We are also on Instagram, so check us out to see a regularly updated selection of our very best photos.