Blanquette de veau, a classic french dish, is a veal stew in a rich, velvety white cream sauce. I had this dish on a recent trip to France and I just had to try to make it when I returned home. Although veal shoulder is not readily available at the grocery stores in my area, I was lucky enough one Sunday to find it at a local grocery store. There are many steps in this Julia Child recipe, but it is fairly easy to make and very close in taste to the blanquette that I had in France.
Recipe adapted from Julia Child, "Mastering the Art of French Cooking"
Makes 6 servings
For the veal:
- 3 pounds of veal stew meat (shoulder cut), cut into 2-inch pieces
- 5-6 cups cold white stock or chicken broth
- 1 large onion cut in half and studded with 1 to 2 cloves
- 1 large carrot, peeled and quartered
- 1 bouquet garni (combination of 2 stalks celery, bay leaf, peppercorns, fresh parsley and thyme)
For the onions:
- 18 to 24 white pearl onions
- 1/2 cup white wine or stock dipped from the simmering veal casserole
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon butter
- Small herb bouquet (combinations of parsley, thyme, bay leaf)
For the sauce veloute' and mushrooms:
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 5 tablespoons flour
- 3-1/4 cups veal cooking stock
- 18 to 24 small white button mushrooms
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- salt and white pepper
- 1 to 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons cream or stock
For the cream and egg yolk enrichment:
- 3 egg yolks
- 1/2 cup whipping cream
- 2 tablespoons minced parsley
- Juice of 1/2 lemon
Step 1: For the onions: Peel the pearl onions, place in a small pot, and cover wine or stock. Add one tablespoon of butter and the herb bouquet, and bring to a boil over high heat. Simmer for 40 to 50 minutes then remove from the heat and set aside.
Step 2: For the veal: Place the cubed veal in the large pot. Cover with water and bring the mixture to a boil, then simmer for 2 minutes. Drain veal and wash it rapidly under cold water to remove all traces of scum. Wash out the casserole and return meat to the casserole.
Step 3: Add 5-6 cups broth, the bouquet garni, onion, and carrot to the meat and reduce to a simmer. Let cook over low heat for two hours, periodically skimming away and discarding meat scum, until the veal is fork-tender (meaning it can be easily cut with the side of a fork). Do not undercook and do not overcook to mush.
Step 4: When the veal is tender, pour the contents of the casserole into a colander set over a bowl. Rinse out the casserole and return the meat to the casserole, removing any loose bones, bouquet garni and the vegetables. Arrange the cooked onions over the meat.
Step 5: To make the sauce veloute' and mushrooms: In the medium pot, melt the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter over medium heat, and once it has foamed and subsided, whisk in the flour, making sure it is completely incorporated. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring frequently. Gradually add the reserved hot broth, whisking constantly to incorporate smoothly and bring to a boil, cooking and stirring until the mixture begins to thicken. Simmer for 10 minutes.
Step 6: Sprinkle the mushrooms with a few drops of lemon juice. Add the mushrooms to the sauce mixture and simmer for another 10 minutes. Check the seasoning of the sauce and season with salt and white pepper and some lemon juice, if desired.
Step 7: Add the veal, pearl onions, and 2 tablespoons of cream. Set aside.
Step 8: To finish: Just before serving, place the 3 egg yolks in the small bowl and add about 1/2 to 1 cup (50 mL) of cream. Mix with a wire whisk.
Step 9: Add 1/2 to 1 cup of the hot sauce from the stew to the cream and egg mixture. Whisk well and then add this mixture to the pot. Stir. Do not allow the sauce to come to a boil. Add the lemon juice, season again as needed, and serve with white rice.