Blanquette de Veau – Classic French stew of Veal

All Year

This is, of course, a classic, so hard to say what the original way of preparing is. In all cases the veal is added to cold water (preferably with wine and some stock) and then cooked slowly. And the sauce must be made using an egg yolk.
Make sure the veal has some nice layers of fat. It will add taste to the dish and it will help make the meat moist.
We use mace to add a special flavour to the Blanquette. Mace is the skin that is on the outer shell of a nutmeg seed. It is removed by hand and then dried. It is sold in whole pieces or ground. Using mace comes with a risk. Use a whole, but small piece and taste well after 30 minutes or so. You must remove it from the stew before it becomes overwhelming.
The trick with the mushroom is one to remember: by blendering the cooked mushroom with the liquid you will get a mixture that will thicken your sauce beautifully. No beurre manié required.
Don’t underestimate the recipe. You need time and patience.

Here is what you need:

  • 300 grams of Veal
  • 1 shallot
  • Little bit of Mace
  • Cup of white Wine
  • Cup of Veal or Chicken Stock
  • Water
  • 100 gram white Champignons de Paris
  • Butter
  • One or two Egg Yolk(s)
  • Cream

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 the brownish froth. Remove this carefully with a slotted spoon. Transfer back and leave for 30 minutes on low heat. Taste and check if you’re okay mace-wise. Check again after 30 minutes. Cook in total for 3 hours on low heat.
Clean the mushrooms and fry very gently in a skillet with butter for 15 minutes on a low heat. Remove the shallot and mash with a fork. Decide if you want to reduce the liquid, depending on taste and volume. 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 the 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 stew 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 mix is of a similar temperature, add the liquid to the stew and keep stirring until it starts to thicken. Make sure the stew is warm, hot even, but not cooking. If it becomes too warm you will ruin the marriage. Now taste, check if you want to add some white pepper and if all okay, it’s time to serve with some rice.

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.