Blanquette is referring to the fact that the dish is full of white ingredients. White = Blanc. You can use any white meat, such as poultry – think turkey legs – but it’s principally prepared with veal. Veau is pronounced like go -( vo).
You’ll need 1.5 kilos of meat with some fat and no bone. I had to go back to get some more veal, and they were out of the type for blanquette so I had to buy a cutlet. I also forgot to cut the meat into pieces before cooking it, but all that can be remedied before serving. It cooks for enough time so that the meat will be soft and easy to cut through. I use a pair of kitchen shears, and cut the meat while it’s in the pot. Oh yes I do!
Since everything is supposed to be white, you will not brown the meat before adding it. However, you will cook it gently in 2 tablespoons of butter and 1 tablespoon of olive oil, taking care to keep the heat turned down. Season it with salt and white pepper on one side, and salt on the other side. This is what it looks like when I’ve turned it over. Barely done at all.
When the outside of the meat is cooked, place it in the casserole you intend to use, and sauté an onion, a leek and 6 cloves of garlic in the remaining juice. Take care not to let them get too brown.
Add 2 bay leaves.
(I love having three huge bay laurels that I can snip leaves from whenever I need them).
Cover the meat and onion-leek-garlic mix in your saucepan with 4 cups of water, 2 cups of white wine (we use the alcohol free version) and a large chicken bouillon cube.
I know, I know. This doesn’t look very appealing. If you have it, you can also add 2 cardamum pods and 2 cloves, wrapped in cheesecloth or in a little tea strainer so you can easily remove them. Boil the stew, then simmer it on low heat uncovered until most of the liquid is gone. I think I cooked it just under two hours.
This is what it looks like when the liquid is gone.
While that’s cooking, you’ll want to cook some root vegetables separately.
Carrots are not white, but I can’t image a stew without them. I used celery root, but you can also use celery stalks (in that case I’d put it right in the stew), turnips, rutabaga, potatoes . . . Bring a large pot of water with a tablespoon of large grain sea salt to a boil, and cook until tender. Mine took about 25 minutes.
Blanquette de veau traditionally includes mushrooms, but my guests had already started to arrive and I forgot to add mine. The benefit is that my kids actually ate the dish. If you’re adding mushrooms, sauté them in butter on the side and add them at the last minute.
When the stew is ready, you need to make the “roux” (pronounced roo). Blanquette de veau should not have flour in it, though many people put it. Take two egg yolks (which will thicken the sauce in place of flour) and 2/3 cup of cream and blend them together.
Add a ladle full of broth and mix that in as well to warm it.
Then dump the whole thing in to the stew and stir.
You can either mix the root vegetables directly in the stew for the easy method, or you can serve them warm on the side. The blanquette de veau is served over rice. And I must say that I showed remarkable restraint in not adding my favorite dijon mustard to the sauce (which is not a traditional ingredient in blanquette). It didn’t need it though. It was savory and warm.
Just perfect for a brisk November day.
- 1.5 Kilos veal (3-4 pounds)
- 2T butter
- 1T olive oil
- salt and white pepper to season meat
- 1 leek
- 1 onion
- 6 cloves garlic
- 4c water
- 2 c white wine
- 1 large chicken bouillon cube
- 2 bay leafs
- 2 cardamum pods
- 2 cloves
- 2 egg yolks
- ⅔ cup cream
- Additional Ingredients: Mushrooms (recommended), celery or celery root, carrots, turnips, potatoes
- Warm the meat in the butter and olive oil without browning it. Sprinkle it with salt and pepper.
- Sauté the onions, garlic and leeks without burning them.
- Put everything in a large pot and cover with water, wine.
- Add bay leaves, pods and cloves.
- Boil until water starts to evaporate, then simmer until water is nearly gone - about 1.5 hours.
- In the meantime, prepare rice and cook any additional root vegetables in boiling salted water until soft.
- If you're adding mushrooms, sauté them in butter and add them right at the end.
- Mix the two yolks with the cream, then add a little broth and stir all together.
- Add that to the veal, then add the root vegetables.
- Serve warm over rice.
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