Friday, 28 October 2016

Blanquette de Veau

When Mr. Ferdzy and I were at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London (a good few years ago now) we ate Blanquette de Veau in their "cafeteria". It was really very fancy, and one of the most expensive meals we ate on that trip, but our eyes still glaze over and we drool a little whenever we think of it, so well worth it I would say.  And the museum itself was free! Talk about civilized!

There is no question that this is a very rich dish, and not cheap to make either. Veal can be very hard to find these days, but I saw some and snatched it up with immediate thoughts of this dish. Many recipes add the carrots to the stew, but I opted to keep the stew as "blanc" as possible, and served them on the side. You can do it either way. In any case you will also need some potatoes, pasta, crusty bread, or rice to soak up all that fabulous sauce, and a green vegetable will finish the meal. 

4 servings
1 hour 30 minutes - 30 minutes prep time

Start the Veal:
4 medium shallots
2 or 3 cloves of garlic
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
600 grams (1 1/4 pounds) stewing veal
2 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 cups unsalted chicken stock
1 teaspoon salt
4 cloves
8 to 12 black peppercorns
2 bay leaves
2 or 3 sprigs of thyme or savory

Peel and mince the shallots; ditto the garlic. Heat the butter gently in a large skillet, and add the shallots, garlic, and veal once it is bubbling. Mix them in well, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the veal has all changed colour (but not browned; you are not browning it). Sprinkle over the flour, mix it in well, and cook for another couple of minutes. Slowly stir in the chicken stock, and season with the salt. Put the cloves, peppercorns, bay leaves (broken  up if necessary) and sprigs of thyme or savory into a spice ball, or tie them up in a bit of cheesecloth, and add them to the pan. Simmer gently for 1 hour, stirring regularly.

This can be done a day ahead, if you like. It's a good idea, as cooling and reheating meat makes it more tender.

Add the Vegetables:
200 grams (1/2 pound) small white (pickling) onions
2 medium carrots (OPTIONAL)
200 grams (1/2 pound) small button mushrooms
1 tablespoon unsalted butter

Trim and peel the mushrooms. Trim, peel and slice the carrots. Clean and trim the mushrooms. Put the onions and carrots into a pot with water just to cover them, bring them to a boil and boil them until fairly tender; about 7 to 10 minutes. Drain well and add to the stew.

Heat the butter in a small skillet, and cook the mushrooms until lightly browned and softened, stirring regularly to cook them evenly. Add them to the stew as well. Let the stew simmer for a further 15 or 20 minutes once the vegetables have been added.

Finish the Sauce:
2 egg yolks
1/3 cup 10% cream OR sour cream
2 tablespoons lemon juice (MAYBE)
1/16 teaspoon of finely grated nutmeg

Put the egg yolks in a small bowl, and whisk in the cream. If you are using sour cream, do not add the lemon juice, but if you are using 10% cream do add it. Finish with a good grating of nutmeg.

Mix a ladleful of the broth from the stew into the bowl of yolks and cream, then scrape out the bowl into the pot of stew, and rapidly blend the yolks and cream into it. Keep stirring until the sauce thickens; about 5 or 10 minutes. Keep the stew on the edge of simmering while this happens but do not let it boil. Remove from the heat and serve as soon as it thickens.