Veal in Cream Sauce (Blanquette de Veau)
This dish of delicate veal, butter, cream and carrots consistently ranks in the top ten when the French are surveyed about their favorite dishes.
Yield: serves 6-8
- 3 lb. boneless veal shoulder, cut into 1″ chunks
- 1 bouquet garni (1 tsp. coriander seeds, 5 black peppercorns, 3 sprigs thyme, 2 whole cloves, 2 cloves garlic, 1 bay leaf, and 1/4 bunch parsley stems, wrapped in cheesecloth, tied with kitchen twine)
- 10 oz. pearl onions, peeled
- 16 baby carrots, peeled
- 2 small bulbs fennel, each cut into 8 wedges
- 10 oz. button mushrooms, quartered
- 5 ribs celery, cut into 1″ pieces
- 3 tbsp. unsalted butter
- 2 1⁄2 tbsp. flour
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
- Kosher salt, freshly ground white pepper, to taste
- Cayenne, to taste
- Cooked white rice, for serving
- 1⁄3 cup crème fraîche
- Parsley leaves, to garnish
- Bring veal, bouquet garni, and 10 cups water to a boil in a 6-qt. saucepan over high heat; reduce heat to medium-low, and cook, occasionally skimming any impurities that rise to the surface, for 30 minutes. Add onions, carrots, and fennel, and cook for 30 minutes. Add mushrooms and celery, and cook until veal is very tender and vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer veal and vegetables to a bowl; cover and keep warm. Pour cooking liquid through a fine strainer into a bowl; place 4 cups in a 2-qt. saucepan. Bring to a boil, and reduce to 2 cups, about 30 minutes.
- Wipe 6-qt. saucepan clean and return to medium heat; add butter. Add flour, and cook, stirring, until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add reduced stock and cream, and bring to a boil; cook until thickened and slightly reduced, about 15 minutes. Return veal and vegetables to sauce, and cook until warmed through, about 5 minutes. Stir in juice, salt, pepper, and cayenne; divide among bowls with rice. Drizzle with crème fraîche; garnish with parsley leaves.