Blanquette de Veau is a classic French ragout. The veal stewing meat is often first blanched and then simmered (braised) in a chicken broth. For those of you who don’t have the time or inclination to hover over a stove browning stew beef for a Classic Beef Stew (while sipping a glass of wine), this much less time consuming and simpler method is a technique that you should consider trying. In this recipe, the vegetables (turnip, carrots, leeks, mushrooms, pearl onions) are cooked separately and combined with a luscious creamy sauce made from the braising liquid. So delicious – so French!
I have simplified the recipe somewhat from the classic recipe, omitting the egg liaison. A liaison is a way of enriching sauces with a mixture of egg yolks and heavy cream, which is added at the end of the sauce making process. It is a wonderful method but can lead to a curdled sauce if care is not taken. In this recipe, I have used a simple roux method to thicken the flavourful braising liquid. The addition of heavy cream finishes the sauce. This is a simple to make and flavourful dish that you will enjoy.
Blanquette de Veau (Veal Stew)
Servings: 4 – 6
CHEF TALK: You will often see instructions in recipes to skim any foam from the surface of the broth or cooking liquid. The method of removing any foam helps to ensure a clear (not cloudy) broth in the finished dish. Discard any accumulating foam and continue cooking (braising) the meat until tender.
- 2 lbs. (907 g) veal shoulder, cut into 1-inch cube pieces
- 6 cups (1.5 L) chicken stock
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme or a few sprigs of fresh thyme
- 2 tablespoons butter (to cook the vegetables)
- 1 cup pearl onions (5 oz.), blanched and peeled
- 2 cloves garlic, sliced
- 2 stalks celery, sliced into ½ inch pieces
- 4 medium-sized carrots, cut into ½ inch pieces
- 1 cup diced rutabaga, cut into ½ inch pieces
- 8 oz. (226 g) Cremini mushrooms, sliced into 6 wedges or whole small button mushrooms
- 1 cup sliced leeks
- 3 tablespoons butter (for the roux)
- 3 tablespoons (45 ml) all-purpose flour or gluten-free flour blend
- ½ cup Sauvignon Blanc or other favourite dry white wine
- ½ cup heavy cream (35%)
- ½ – 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- Salt and pepper to taste
Garnish: fresh parsley or sliced scallion (green onion)
- In a Dutch Oven or other heavy bottomed pan, bring the chicken broth to a boil.
- Add the diced veal to the pot and cook for two or three minutes over medium-high heat. Skim any accumulating foam from the surface of the chicken stock and discard.
- Add the thyme, bay leaves, and then lower to a simmer, cover and cook until the veal is tender (about 1 hour).
- In another heavy saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons of butter over medium heat. Add the pearl onions, garlic, celery, carrots, rutabaga, mushrooms, and leeks. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender. Since the vegetables are cut small (1/2 inch pieces), this will only take about 8 – 10 minutes.
- Remove the veal from the Dutch oven with a slotted spoon and place on top of the cooked vegetables. Keep warm while you make the sauce.
- Place the liquid from the veal into a measuring cup. You should have about 2 – 3 cups. Set aside while you make the roux.
- In the same Dutch oven, melt the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter. Mix in the 3 tablespoons of all-purpose flour or gluten-free flour blend. Cook, stirring constantly until the butter mixture turns a golden colour (about 2 minutes). Add the white wine and stir to combine.
- Whisk in the 2 – 3 cups of reserved cooking liquid from the veal. Cook until thickened, stirring frequently with a silicone spatula or wooden spoon. Stir in the heavy cream. Season the sauce with the fresh lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste.
- Pour the creamy sauce over the cooked veal and vegetables, tossing lightly together to combine.
TO SERVE: Garnish the Blanquette de Veau with parsley or sliced green onions. Enjoy served hot over noodles, rice or cauliflower rice. Serve with a glass of Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay or Pinot Gris.
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