The term “Blanquette” comes from the white colour of the sauce that covers the pieces of veal. Any white meat (rabbit, chicken, turkey, pork and even lamb) may be prepared “en banquettte”, though the veal version is more stantard.
Because this is a classic “white stew” there is a prejudice to serving it with any items that would add colour (i.e. carrots or peas). Suitable accompaniments would be rice pilaf, noodles or boiled potatoes.
Ingredients for 4 people
700 g veal shoulder or breast, bones removed
an onion, peeled and cut in halves,
2 whole cloves
a carrot, pealed and halved lengthwise
a stick of celery
half a leek, halved lengthwise
a bouquet garni (thyme, bay and parsley)
a few peppercorns
2 cloves of garlic
a litre of water or light chicken stock
100 g butter
16 pearl onions or 8 shallots
a teaspoon of sugar
125 g mushrooms
juice of 1/4 lemon
2 tablespoons flour
100 ml heavy cream or crème fraîche
a large egg yolk
a little chopped parsley
salt and pepper
The veal is cut into large cubes (50 g) and placed in a pan with cold water to cover by 1 cm. which is brought to a gentle simmer. All the scum that rises to the top is carefully skimmed off. Then the aromatic ingredients are added: the onion studded with the cloves, the leek, carrots, celery, garlic, peppercorns and the bouquet garni. A little salt is added and all this simmers for around an hour.
The pieces of veal are ready when they are soft enough to be easily crushed under pressure rather than springing back.into shape. The meat is removed and reserved somewhere warm and the broth is strained to remove the vegetables and herbs and reserved
While the meat is cooking the garnish is prepared. Peel the shallots or pearl onions and place in a small pan, add a scant tablespoon of butter, the sugar and salt to taste. Water is added to cover the onions by half. Cook gently, turning frequently, until there is no water left in the pan and the shallots are soft and glazed but still white fairly white in colour
The mushrooms are left whole, halved or quartered depending on their size, and gently cooked in a tablespoon of butter with a squeeze of lemon juice until well cooked, but not brown.
Make a velouté sauce by first preparing a roux with butter and flour. Melt two tablespoons of butter and add the flour. The mixture is stirred over medium heat for a minute then the reserved poaching liquid is gradually whisked or stirred in . The velouté is simmered for 15 minutes. As it cooks, keep whisking and make sure there is no burning on the bottom of the pan. Now the cream or crème fraîche is stirred in.
This creamed velouté sauce is cooked for a farther 5 minutes. Now an egg yolk is added to make the sauce extra rich and velvety. To temper the yolk, remove the pan from the heat, add a small amount of the sauce to a bowl with the yolk, and mix them together. Stir the yolk mixture back into the sauce and cook gently until the sauce almost returns to a simmer. Now add the veal, mushroom and shallots to the sauce. Heat everything through, making sure it doesn’t boil as this would over-cook the egg yolk. Check the seasoning and flavour: If the sauce is flat, a few drops of lemon juice will liven it up. Sprinkle chopped parsley over and serve.
Serve with rice pilaf, boiled potatoes or noodles