Saturday, January 20, 2007

Blanquette de Veau ... for Bux

No dish is prepared with more tender simplicity than a Blanquette de Veau. It is French food to soothe and comfort palates of all ages. Slow simmered veal belly and sometimes the addition of lean shoulder meat is slowly simmered and served in its own sauce which has been thickened and enriched by simple classic means. The result brings us gently back to the present.

The real blanquette de veau is made from veal belly / breast meat only, but these days we also add lean meat, and sometimes mushrooms or onions. The skin, cartilage and bones from the belly cut gives this dish a special silky richness all its own. If your butcher cannot get you some veal belly, don't despair. Being slow simmered, whatever cut you use will turn out soft enough to melt in your mouth and the white sauce will remain very flavorful.

The Blanquette de Veau is recipe number 77 in my kitchen notebook, one I began to prepare for Loic during our first year of marriage. It the first of the many recipes that Brigitte, my mother in law, shared with me at her kitchen table.

Brigitte Durandeau Vanel's Blanquette de Veau

Poitrine de veau (veal belly), about a pound
Cubed lean veal shoulder, about a pound
1 glass of white wine
1 onion, peeled
2 cloves
1 French bay leaf
2 tablespoons of flour
4 to 8 tablespoons of butter
1 large lemon
sea salt and white pepper
optional finishing add-ins: mushrooms which have been simmered seperately, egg yolks (for the sauce), onions, pitted green olives, or sliced poultry quenelles (for an effect much like chicken & dumplings)

- Pierce the onion with the cloves, and place it along with the meat, the bay leaf, and salt and pepper into a heavy stewing pot.
- Add the wine, fill with water to cover, bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer for one hour.
- Remove the onion, cloves, and bay leaf.
- Put the flour in a small bowl with one ladle of the veal broth, and mix it so that no lumps remain. Incorporate it into the soup.
- Add the olives, simmered mushrooms, or slices of poultry quenelle at this time, and simmer for an additional 15 minutes.
- Strain off the sauce, and whip the butter into it piece by piece. Brighten the sauce with lemon juice, return it to the pot with the meat, and serve it over steamed potatoes or rice.

My thoughts go to the loved ones of friend Robert Buxbaum. May he rest in peace.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lucy, one of my favorite meal memories in France is of a dish of blanquette de veau I had at a little restaurant in Paris. It was perfection: simple, homey, creamy, delicious. Thank you for recalling that evening for me.

3:49 PM, January 20, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very nice, Lucy. I'm sure he would have loved it.

Jason Perlow

4:30 PM, January 20, 2007  
Blogger franchini said...

Sorry for the loss of your friend, Lucy....posting a recipe in his memory is a thoughtful and touching gesture.

The veal sounds delicious. I'm not sure what you mean by using lemon juice to 'brighten' the sauce though - are you referring to the colour and texture of the sauce or the actual taste?

5:51 PM, January 20, 2007  
Blogger Unknown said...

I like classics like this that are relatively easy to fix.

I would think the lemon might lift the sauce a bit, too.

I am sorry to hear about your friend.

4:14 AM, January 21, 2007  
Blogger Katie said...

I've made this in the past - and, I think, over-complicated it. This sounds much nicer.
I'll try it again, thanks

9:38 PM, January 21, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Its really lousy about Bux. I remember when they were coming for dinner, and you had a brainstorming tread on eG. So sad.
Happy to see you blogging away!
Warm regards on a chilly night!
Judith Klinger

12:35 AM, January 26, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

bux would have loved it.

take care,


7:01 AM, January 27, 2007  

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