This week would have been my mother’s birthday. She was a great cook, and one of the dishes she made especially for my father was blanquette de veau, a kind of veal stew with cream, carrots and mushrooms. The only problem once we moved from the European mainland to Ireland was… there is no veal in Ireland.
Wait, what? But there are cows all over that island! Yes. But “veal” is different from “calf” in that veal is raised “sous la mère” – under the mother – with milk as its only/main source of food. In Ireland, calves are put in the fields and start grazing very early and instead of getting light-coloured, almost white meat, you get young red beef.
My father came to visit me last week and brought home a pound of veal, so he now wants to know how you make Blanquette.
So, here goes.
There are, as ususal, as many versions of the Blanquette as any other stew, but the difference is in the way you thicken the sauce. Also, I don’t fry the meat at all. This keeps the stew light in colour and makes the meat extra tender.
What you need:
400g of veal for stewing
3-4 cloves of garlic
A sprig or two of rosemary or thyme, a few leaves of sage, a bayleaf or two
You can also spike a small onion with 4-5 cloves
1 glass of white wine (or the juice of a lemon)
- Peel the carrots and cut into 2-3cm pieces.
- Peel the onions and quarter.
- Peel the garlic (leave whole except if they’re very large).
- Put everything in the pot (I use a cast-iron Le Creuset pot), add the raw meat (in roughly same-sized pieces).
- Add the wine and some water (to almost cover the meat).
- Season generously with salt and pepper (you can also add a beef stock cube if you wish, but in that case reduce salt).
- Cook for about an hour or until the meat and carrots are very tender.
- Mix about 1/2 a cup of liquid cream with an egg yolk and the juice of a lemon.
- Add the mixture to the stew and mix well. Let cook on low heat for 1-2 minutes.
- Check the seasoning.
- If you find the stew is still too runny, you can dissolve 1 soup spoon of corn flour (Maizena) in a little cooking juice before adding it to the stew and let cook for another minute on low heat.
- Serve with rice or mashed potatoes.
This also tastes fabulous reheated.
If you have any questions, Paps, give us a ring!