Monday, 25 August 2014

Blanquette De Veal


I recently had the pleasure of partaking in a home cooked meal at the humble kitchen table of a lovely French family who reside in the South of France. It was a cultural experiment as they did not speak a word of English just as I do not speak a word of French. The evening was more like a game of charades assisted by the basic school girl French of one of our English speaking dining companions.

As I had come off a French River Cruise which you can read more about in my article "In search of a French experience" I was deeply in need of some authentic French food and our hosts certainly provided that.

Their dish of choice, the Blanquette De Veal was so fitting to our surroundings it bought a smile to my face. Located at the dining table in their front sun room surrounded by wonderfully retro decor which you could tell had taken pride of place in their home since the 60's we were served the classically retro meal of the creamy veal stew accompanied by some simple steamed potatoes. It was absolute proof that as much as the trendy set may shun it a classic dish made well will never go out of fashion. 

Upon my return home I regretted that I had not obtained their recipe as the dish was divine, so rich and creamy and the veal so tender it melted in your mouth. Using a number of references such as "The French Menu Cookbook" by the flamboyant Richard Olney as well as Anthony Bourdains "Les Halles" cookbook and Cafe Boulud in New Yorks recipe I embarked on a mission to recreate the dish at home. So get ready to take a journey to France as here it is Hungry Planets "Blanquette De Veal".

Ingredients

1 kilo veal or yearling shoulder chopped into 1 inch cubes (veal will be more tender but many prefer to eat yearling for ethical reasons)
300 grams small white mushrooms (small as you can get)
1 tablespoon butter
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
2 Cups chicken stock
2 cups water
Additional 1/4 cup chicken stock
2 carrots peeled and chopped into 8 large chunks
2 large white onions peeled and stuck with 2 cloves each
Bouquet Garni of 2 Bay leaves, fresh thyme, fresh parsley, 1/2 teaspoon of black peppercorns and 1 stalk of celery trimmed. (Arrange all ingredients in a square of cheesecloth and tie the top with string so they are sealed inside)
12 pearl onion or pickling onions if you can't obtain pearl (which can be tricky to find in Australia, I used pickling onions and they were tasty)
3 tablespoons butter for roux
3 tablespoons plain flour for roux
1/3 cup whipping cream
1 egg yolk
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
chopped fresh parsley
sprinkle of nutmeg

Method

Bring a pot of water to the boil, add veal and boil for 4 minutes to remove impurities. Strain off water, rinse veal in cold water and set veal aside.

Wash and de stem the mushrooms. If quite small leave whole or halve or quarter if they are a little larger. Combine mushrooms in a saucepan along with the juice of 1/2 a lemon, 1 tablespoon of butter, 1/4 cup of chicken stock and salt and pepper. Boil for 1 minute. Remove the mushrooms and set aside but retain the cooking liquid.

 In a large pot combine the mushroom cooking liquid, 2 cups of chicken stock, the water and the veal. Bring to the boil. Add carrots, larger onions stuck with the cloves and the bouquet garni cover and reduce to a slow simmer for around 2 hours or until the meat is tender.

Whilst the veal is simmering stew the pearl onions in 2 tablespoons of butter, salt and pepper to season and just enough water to cover the onions. Boil until the liquid has fully evaporated. Ensure you do not brown the onions. Set stewed onions aside.

Once meat is tender remove the meat from the liquid and retain both, keeping the liquid hot. Discard the Bouquet Garni, onion and carrot. 

Combine the four and butter in a saucepan to make the roux. Stir over a low heat till butter is melted and flour is combined do not brown the roux. Gradually add 1 cup of the hot cooking liquid at a time stirring continuously. Once all liquid has been added keep stirring till mixture starts thickening enough to coat the back of a spoon.

Add the mushrooms, veal, pearl onions and cream. On a medium heat bring it to the boil and then reduce heat to low to simmer for 10 minutes.

Combine the egg yolk and nutmeg with around 3 tablespoons of the hot liquid from the stew. Whisk till combined and add back to the stew. Stir the yolk mixture through the stew till well combined but do not allow the mixture to boil.

Just before serving add the tablespoon of lemon juice, parsley and salt and pepper to taste.

I served mine with small boiled potatoes seasoned with butter as I wanted to re-create my original experience with the dish but it is also delicious with white rice. Leftovers are great tossed through some freshly cooked pasta.

Now picture yourself at a rustic farm table in the garden overlooking the tangled grapevines of a French vineyard, sun shining and nothing to do but sip on your wine and Enjoy!

Serves 6








Originally posted on Monday, 25 August 2014 by

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