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Blanquette De Veau A L’Ancienne – Maman has spent a lifetime trying (often in vain) to replicate the delicious French country cuisine recipes prepared by her mother and grand-mother.
It now falls to me to duplicate the delicate flavors created by two great home chefs.
Finding any cut of veal for this recipe in third world countries was a classic exercise in futility. It is much easier now but French cuts of meat are still difficult to find.
The only place we found veal on a regular basis was in the Balkans where we lived for years.
We ate excellent veal dishes in local restaurants and prepared them at home as well.
But I digress – that was then.
There is no real translation for Great-grandmère’s recipe other than to call it by its proper name of Blanquette de Veau or to think of it as veal in a cream sauce.
The main thing here is that none of the recipe components are browned in butter as you might expect to flavor a traditional stew or “ragout”.
Rather, the meat and vegetables are all blanched and cooked in rich veal stock. To savor the delicate flavors, this stew is best served over steamed rice or, better yet, my Great Grandma’s rice. 🙂
During our travels around the world, veal was rarely on the menu. You could attempt to prepare the recipe with beef but the delicate flavor imparted by using the proper cut of veal, the mild flavored veggies and the egg rich cream sauce all combine for a real gastronomical tour de force.
I normally buy Catelli Brothers© veal stew meat at the supermarket but it is very lean and not cut from the right section of the carcass.
Catelli© does sell veal breast. You can order it online but it is not available in local supermarkets.
At least not in any of my local supermarkets – I looked more than once.
This is where a market like Wegman’s© or Whole Foods© comes in handy.
Talk to the butcher and make a special request for this particular cut of meat!
I am waiting for my order to come so I can make another Blanquette de Veau! 🙂
The ideal cut of meat for this recipe is breast of veal or shoulder if the breast meat is not available.
That’s not my Grandmère or great-grandma pictured above but open the pages of this small cookbook and you will find nineteen scrumptious recipes prepared à l’ancienne – which simply means the old fashioned way aka the way Grandma made it!
It includes a recipe for Blanquette de Veau à l’ancienne.
The tendron is the perfect cut for Blanquette de Veau. I’ve marked it with a green check mark – notice that it is found in the category marked as having more than 10% fat.
The dark red represents less than 6% fat and the rump area shows anywhere between 6 and 10% fat content.
The more pale the meat is the higher the quality.
Prepared using very lean veal stew meat and chicken broth rather than veal stock. None of your dinner guests will know the difference unless you tell them. 🙂
With the exception of the final step, Blanquette de Veau à l’ancienne is easily prepared in a slow cooker. We’ve adapted the recipe for this purpose.
My recipe (pictured below) was prepared in a stove top Dutch oven using the same ingredients as listed in the recipe with the exception of the carrots and the initial cooking process.
First, I blanch the meat in water with a yellow onion, the leeks and a few sprigs of fresh thyme. After 5 minutes or so on a slow simmer, I remove the meat and vegetables to set aside until I assembled the remaining ingredients.
The Dutch oven is given a quick rinse. Then I place the meat and the remaining recipe ingredients, along with a 10 oz. pack of peeled pearl onions, back in the pot to cover with the broth.
The pot is set to simmer for about 3 hours total.
Later, I remove some of the cooking broth from the pot ahead to time to allow it to cool. It is then used to prepare the crean sauce.
You will note that eggs are not used in this recipe. The original and authentic recipe does call for eggs in the sauce.
I had a can of sliced carrots in the pantry so I drained the carrots and added them at the end of the cooking period – just long enough to heat through.
Keywords: veal, crock pot, slow cooker, blanquette de veau à l'ancienne
On a fun note… Chef Damien seen in the video below preparing Blanquette de Veau practices his culinary skills in a town about twenty miles from my home in France!
1 Cook, 2 Countries & A Taste For World Cuisines: Cooking A La Mode De Chez Nous - Cuisine d'Hier Et d'Aujourd'hui! For the love of home style cooking and great food. Memories are made of this!