Monday, 18 January 2021

Blanquette de Veau

Homemade blanquette de veau with boiled potatoes. Photo by Loire Valley Time Travel.
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.
 

Pack of veal for blanquette. Photo by Loire Valley Time Travel.
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.

Ingredients

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 lemon

Salt and pepper

Method

  1. Heat the butter and oil in a large saucepan and lightly brown the veal in two batches (optional).
  2. Return all the meat to the pan and sprinkle over the flour.
  3. Stir to make sure the flour is well blended into the fat.
  4. Add just enough water to not quite cover the meat (don't be too generous), bring to the boil while stirring several times.
  5. Add the carrots, leek, onion and bouquet garni, stir to combine with the meat.
  6. Bring to the boil, then lower the heat and simmer very gently for an hour and a half.
  7. In a small saucepan beat the egg yolks, cream and lemon juice together.
  8. Season the egg yolk and cream mixture.
  9. Add a ladle full of hot veal stock to the egg yolk and cream mixture, mix well.
  10. 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).
  11. Add the 'custard' to the meat saucepan and stir well.
  12. Use a slotted spoon to plate up the meat and vegetables, then spoon over a generous quantity of sauce.
  13. Serves 6, with plain boiled potatoes.

Browning veal pieces. Photo by Loire Valley Time Travel.
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. 

Browned veal. Photo by Loire Valley Time Travel.
Browned veal.
 

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.

Vegetables for blanquette de veau. Photo by Loire Valley Time Travel.
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.

Cooking Blanquette de veau. Photo by Loire Valley Time Travel.
Ready to cook.

Blanquette de veau. Photo by Loire Valley Time Travel.
Ready to serve.

Egg yolk and cream mixture for blanquette. Photo by Loire Valley Time Travel.
Egg yolk and cream mixture.


Yum

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5 comments:

Jean said...

We love veal but rarely see it in the UK.

Colin and Elizabeth said...

Your stew looks great but when eaten without all the flavouring I have found veal tasteless. Your shopping in the wrong shops Jean!

Colin and Elizabeth said...

Booths supermarkets sell veal Jean.

Susan said...

Veal is a very delicately flavoured meat. It certainly wasn't available in the supermarket when we lived in London. When I bought it I would have to go to somewhere like Borough Market.

Jean said...

Sadly there are no Booths supermarkets anywhere near us. We are having to use Tesco, Sainsbury's and Asda, none of which seem to have it. Our nearest Waitrose is too far away, although in normal times we do make a pilgrimage once or twice a year.

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