Way back in 2018 when dinner parties would happen on a whim and some of our friends hadn’t moved back to France yet Andrew and I were treated to a traditional French favorite, Blanquette de Veau. This dish is pure comfort food, many recipes have been passed down and perfected by French grandmothers for generations. There is a joke among the French, “Comment est votre blanquette?” or “How is your blanquette?”. This came from the character Hubert Bonisseur de La Bath aka OSS 17, who is an agent that is not as suave as James Bond but his antics make up for it. OSS 117: Cairo Nest of Spies was on Amazon for a bit and totally worth a watch.
I made Blanquette for our Sunday Supper last week and if was the perfect meal for a cold and snowy evening. You can make it the traditional way with veal or substitute chicken.
Blanquette de Veau
- 2 lbs veal mixture of breast & shoulder, cut into chunks
- 1 large onion
- 3 cloves
- bouquet garni 2 bay leaf, 4 large sprig thyme, 6 sprigs parsley
- 2 leeks white part only, sliced
- 3 carrots thickly sliced
- 9 fl oz white wine
- 11oz mushrooms, halved or quartered depending on size
- 18 pickling onions or spring onions (or use frozen)
- 1oz butter
- 5.5 oz crème fraîche
- 3 large egg yolks
- 1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
- 1 lemon unwaxed, zested
- juice of 1/2 lemon
- kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
- fleur de sel salt for finishing
- Stud the onion with the cloves. Place the veal in a casserole dish and add the carrots, onion, leek and bouquet garni. Pour in the wine and add just enough water to cover the meat and vegetables. Bring to the boil. It will start to foam, skim the surface of any scum. Cover and simmer gently for about 2 hours.
- About 45 minutes before the end of cooking, prepare the garnish. Cut your mushrooms depending on their size and saute in butter over medium heat. Add in the onions after a few minutes.
- When mushrooms and onions are cooked, add the lemon juice and set aside.
- Preheat your oven to the lowest setting.
- After the 2 hours: Discard the bay leaf and herb stalks. Remove the meat and vegetables with a slotted spoon and transfer to a serving/casserole dish, add the mushrooms and onions. Cover and set aside in your warm preheated oven.
- Time to prepare the sauce! Boil the cooking liquid over a high heat until reduced by half.
- In a bowl, whisk the crème fraîche, lemon zest, yolks, grated nutmeg, and season with salt and pepper. Add in 3 tablespoons of the hot stock then quickly whisk in the yolk mixture back into the pot. Stir constantly until thickened but do not boil. Whisk until the sauce is smooth and velvety then pour over the meat and vegetables.
- Serve over rice or potatoes, sprinkled with fresh parsley.
The recipe above was a mash up of Julia Child’s recipe and this one from Mad about Macarons. This dish reheats well, so it’s great for leftovers! Now let me know…comment est votre blanquette?