Blanquette de Veau

This dish is really fabulous and easy to make. You will love it—I promise you. It is a really great dinner for fall and winter. Every time I make it I remember my mom teaching me how to make it and it makes me happy! In French culture, food is so much more than just something to keep you alive, it creates memories and friendships. In France, we always sit down at the table to eat dinner, whether it’s as a family or at a dinner party. It’s not uncommon for us to enjoy a meal with family or friends for 2 to 4 hours. It usually consists of several courses and each person typically only takes a small portion of every course so they can fit more in.

I have found that a 2 to 4-hour dinner is usually unrealistic here in the USA. People just aren’t used to that, but our family tries to sit down for dinner at the table almost every night we are all together. It’s a fantastic time to enjoy your family and get your children to talk about their day even if it’s only for 30 to 40 minutes. We started this tradition 5 years ago and at first, the kids acted like it was torture, but now they are used to it and even seem like they enjoy it from time to time.

If you can, I encourage you to sit down at the table and pretend you are French even if you can only do it once a week!

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 pounds veal breast, boned, cut in large dice
  • 20 pearl onions
  • 2 quarts beef stock
  • 1 sachet d’epices (1 tablespoon parsley, 1 tablespoon peppercorns, 1 tablespoon thyme and 1 bay leaf in a cheesecloth bag)
  • 6 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 6 ounces (about 2 cups) white button mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 cup heavy cream

DIRECTIONS

  1. Cover the veal with cold water to “blanch” it for about 3 minutes.
  2. Skim off impurities as they appear.
  3. Drain and rinse the veal.
  4. Boil about 2 cups of water in a saucepan and then add the pearl onions briefly to scald them.
  5. Drain and slip skins from the pearl onions and set them aside.
  6. In a large saucepot, combine the veal with the stock and simmer covered over medium-low heat until the veal is tender, about 1 1/2 hours. After the veal has been simmering about 30 minutes, add the sachet d’epices. Then uncover the pot to allow the stock to reduce to intensify the flavor.
  7. Melt 4 tablespoons of the butter in a small pot and gradually add the flour to make a white roux. (Do not allow the roux to brown.) Remove and discard the sachet from the stew. Add the roux to the stew pot and simmer until thickened.
  8. In another pan, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and gently cook the pearl onions and mushrooms until they are tender. To this pan, add the lemon juice and salt and pepper, to taste, and set aside.
  9. The heat under the blanquette (stew) must be such that the stew is just below a boil. In a small pot whisk together the egg yolks and cream (known as a liaison) and temper by heating gently and gradually. (You are only heating it. Do not boil. Do not cook.) Add the liaison to the blanquette. Add the reserved pearl onions and mushrooms. Adjust salt and pepper, to taste, if needed.