Blanquette de Veau is a classic French dish that has been cherished for centuries, known for its tender veal and delicate, creamy sauce. It is a type of ragout, or slow-cooked stew, that is renowned for its velvety texture and rich flavors. The name “blanquette” is derived from the French word “blanc,” which means white, referring to the creamy, pale sauce that accompanies the veal.
The main ingredient in Blanquette de Veau is veal, typically taken from the shoulder or other lean cuts. The veal is simmered slowly in a mixture of aromatic vegetables such as onions, carrots, celery, and leeks, along with a bouquet garni consisting of fresh herbs like thyme, parsley, and bay leaf, all tied together. The dish is cooked in water or a light broth, which enhances the flavors of the ingredients and ensures that the veal remains tender and moist.
One of the distinguishing features of Blanquette de Veau is its velouté sauce. This sauce is created by combining a roux (a mixture of butter and flour) with the cooking liquid from the stew. The sauce is then enriched with egg yolks and heavy cream, which gives it a luxurious texture and pale hue. A splash of lemon juice is added for a hint of acidity and balance.
The dish is traditionally served with accompaniments such as rice, pasta, or boiled potatoes, which help to soak up the delicious sauce. Steamed or sautéed vegetables, like green beans or asparagus, can also be served alongside for added color and nutrition. Blanquette de Veau is often garnished with chopped parsley for freshness and a pop of color.
In summary, Blanquette de Veau is a timeless French dish that showcases the art of slow cooking and the beauty of simple, high-quality ingredients. Its comforting flavors and rich, creamy sauce make it a favorite choice for special occasions or a deliciously indulgent weekend meal.