Hard to say what the original way of preparing Blanquette de Veau is. In all cases the veal is added to a cold liquid (preferably a combination of water, wine and stock) and then cooked slowly. The sauce must be made using egg yolk.
Make sure the veal has some nice layers of fat. This will add falvour to the dish and it will help make the meat moist.
We use mace to add additional flavour to the Blanquette. Mace is the outer skin of a nutmeg seed. It is removed by hand and then dried. It is sold in whole pieces or ground. Given its strong flavour, using mace comes with a risk. Use a small piece and taste well after 30 minutes or so. Remove the mace from the stew before it becomes overwhelming.
The trick with the mushroom is one to remember: by blendering cooked mushroom with a warm liquid you will get a mixture that will thicken your sauce beautifully. No beurre manié required.
Don’t underestimate Blanquette de Veau. You need time and patience.
We enjoyed our Blanquette de Veau with a Pinot Noir from Austria. A red Burgundy would also work. If you prefer a new world Pinot Noir, make sure it’s not too woody. The vanilla that comes with the wood is too strong for the delicate taste of the Blanquette.
What You Need
- 300 gram of Veal
- 1 Shallot
- Little bit of Mace
- Cup of White Wine
- Cup of Veal or Chicken Stock
- 100 gram white Champignons de Paris
- One or two Egg Yolk(s)
What You Do
Cut the veal into cubes. Not too small because during the cooking process they will become smaller. Take a pan, add wine, stock, veal, peeled (but not chopped) shallot, mace and water, making sure the veal is covered. Put on a medium heat and wait until you see a brownish froth. Carefully remove this with a slotted spoon. Transfer the pan back and leave for 30 minutes on low heat. Taste and check if you’re okay mace-wise. Remove when you think the mace is becoming too much. Check again after 30 minutes. Cook in total for 3-4 hours on low heat.
Clean the mushrooms and fry very gently in a skillet with butter for 15 minutes on low heat. Remove the shallot and mash with a fork. Decide if you want to reduce the liquid, depending on taste and volume. (If you decide to reduce, store the meat on a plate for the duration of the proces.) Transfer the mushrooms to the stew and leave for 15 minutes. Make sure you get all the juices form the skillet. Take 5 or so of the bigger mushrooms and a few spoons of the liquid. Use a blender to make this a very smooth mixture. Transfer the mixture and the mashed shallot to the stew, stir and cook for 15 minutes. Cool the Blanquette and put in the refrigerator for the next day.
The next day start by warming the stew gently. Combine one egg yolk (or two, depending on the volume) with the cream. Mix well. Now add a spoonful of the very warm liquid. This is what is called ‘marrying’. Add more liquid, one spoonful at the time. Keep stirring. Once your mixture is of a similar temperature, add the liquid to the stew and keep stirring until it starts to thicken. Make sure the stew is (very) warm but not cooking. If it becomes too warm you will ruin the marriage. Now taste, check if you want to add some white pepper. Serve on a warm plate with rice or with green beans with a splash of olive and grated nutmeg (!) and crusted bread.
An very tasty alternative is to use Girolles. Agreed, the blanquette will become a bit yellow, but the taste of the Girolle goes very well with the mace and the sauce. It’s a more intense, powerful blanquette.