Thursday, September 25, 2008

Whisk Wednesdays—Blanquette de Veau à l’Ancienne (White Veal Stew with Onions and Mushrooms)...a day late

Blanquette de Veau à l’AncienneMore comfort food for Fall this week. Last week a braise, this week a stew. Unlike a braise, a stew uses small chunks of meat and is covered with liquid while cooking, but the goal is the same: to take a cheap, tough cut of meat and make it tender and tasty. This is the perfect dish to celebrate the beginninng of Autumn.
"The whole point of a braise is that it turns a somewhat tough piece of meat or an old bird
into a succulent and juicy dish that is full of flavor."
Elizabeth David in French Provincial Cooking
Blanquette comes from the French word blanc, which means white. À l’ancienne means "old-fashioned". When à l'Ancienne is used when referring to meats, "it often means braised meat, stews or fricassees."

To keep the stew "white", the meat is blanched instead of seared and braised. As well, (white) veal is the most common meat to use in this dish, but you could use pork or chicken (or even rabbit — hey, if veal doesn't offend you, rabbit won't either, right!).

First, I created a flavorful broth of onions, clove, carrots, celery, parsley, thyme, bay, and peppercorns. After simmering this for a bit, I added the chunks of de-fatted veal shoulder. This mixture is simmered for about 45 minutes, skimming every so often, similar to making a white stock.

Roux, Stew and Liaise
After removing the vegetables but keeping the meat and broth, I made a roux to help thicken the sauce. Then, I slowly drizzled the broth back in, whisking it to remove any lumps. I added the meat back to the pan, and a bit of water to cover the meat. Finally, I simmered it very slowly, without boiling, just rippling, for about 1 to 1 ½ hours. At the end, I added a liaison of crème fraiche (or cream), egg yolk and lemon thicken the sauce and add some richness.

While the stew steeps away, I made the garnish of mushrooms and pearl onions. Both are cooked the same way, but in separate pots. I barely covered the onions with water and seasoned them with salt and pepper and a large pinch of sugar, for glazing. Then I made a buttered parchment paper lid, which allows some evaporation but protects the onions from caramelizing. Plus the butter on the parchment adds a touch of flavor. There's a great discussion about parchment paper lids here.
If you don't know how to make a parchment paper lid,
relive your paper snowflake-making days since the folding is the same.
After simmering the onions under the parchment for 8-10 minutes, I took the paper off and let it continue cooking until the liquid had evaporated and the onions were nicely glazed. I did the same with mushrooms, but instead of sugar I added a tablespoon of butter.

When the stew was finished cooking, I added the onions and mushrooms and served it on rice.

Blanquette de Veau à l’Ancienne mise en placeYou can find the recipe for Blanquette de Veau à l’Ancienne (White Veal Stew with Onions and Mushrooms) in the book Le Cordon Bleu at Home. To see how the rest of the Whisk Wednesdays group fared with this week's recipe, click here and then click on each blogger!

Blanquette de Veau à l’AncienneTasting Notes
This stew is rustic, homey, hearty and delicious. The smell wafting through the house was wonderful. Plus, it reheated well for lunch the next day.

Next Week (October 1)
• Navarin d'Agneau Printanier (Braised Lamb Shoulder Stew) page 350-351

. . . . . . . . . .

Running total: $784.68 + $32.92 = $817.60

Butter used so far: 8 pounds

. . . . . . . . . .
::Whisk Wednesdays::
We're cooking our way through a cooking school curriculum using the Le Cordon Bleu at Home cookbook. The "classes" are based on the curriculum found online and used as a guideline. Not all the items in the curriculum are in the cookbook, but most are. Where the items are not in the book, we try to find a suitable substitution. Find out more here.


Liz T. said...

Lookes absolutely lovely. I adore that you're keeping track of the butter used in the project!

Anonymous said...

I love that you can take an inexpensive cut of meat and, with careful preparation, turn it into a tender, delicious meal. I'm inspired to try this! And I love how your rustic stew looks on those pottery dishes in the bottom photo. Nice job.

NKP said...

The stew looks great in the little jar.
And I love the plate in the last photo. Your have great accessories.
Good to know you can use pork - so far the only veal anyone has around here is scalopini.

NKP said...

ps, I love the new look. The colours are nice and soothing. I like being filed under sweet, too. Thanks.

Nikki @ NikSnacks said...

Shari, this is beautiful. Absolute food porn. I want to hug your jar close to me and keep it with me as I go through the fall, plucking out pieces of veau as I go about my busy day.

And I like the new colors, too :) Very inviting.

Shari said...

liz c - When I started keeping track of the butter, I thought it would higher by this point!!

anonymous - Thanks for dropping by!

natashya - Let me know how it turns out with pork!

nik snacks - You're so sweet! If you lived in Ottawa, you could come by and have some leftovers! :)

Anonymous said...

complimenti per la ricetta e per il blog!!!