Blanquette de veau à l’ancienne

Posted on June 16, 2007 by Aun

blanquette.jpg

There are some dishes that are made to impress — miniature towers of painstakingly cooked and elaborately presented food that look as delicate and complex as they can sometimes taste. You’ll find such dishes in many fancy restaurants, the ones with managers who like to make you wait for your table, designer chairs that cost more than the ones you have at home, and lighting so dark you feel like asking for a flashlight to see your food. Sometimes, the food is worth it. On a few occasions, it can be outstanding. Too often though, in attempts to wow you and out-finesse the competition, young and eager chefs send out over-worked Frankensteins that scare you more than surprise and satiate you.

Then there are other dishes that are made to simply satisfy. Most often, they’re pretty simple dishes. No fancy, exotic, unpronounceable ingredients. No fancy gravity-defying plating. Just good, uncomplicated, comforting and beautiful flavours. Most of these dishes aren’t too pretty, but they usually taste amazing. And I’d easily take a heaping bowl of chicken curry, a soft and succulent oxtail stew or a rich and tender chicken à la king over a duo of truffled somethingorother and whatintheworldisthat served with a jus of overexpensive stuff and a reduction of ican’tpronouncethat. Of course, I didn’t always think this way. I openly admit that like many foodies I know, I went through the requisite pretentious food stage, during which I (mistakenly) believed that the best food was fancy fusion fare with as many ingredients from as many parts of the world as possible. Thankfully, that phase is long since gone and today, I’m a big believer in the simple beauty of comfort food.

One of the most well-known and best-loved comfort foods is blanquette de veau. This rich, creamy, French veal stew is certainly one of my all-time favourite dishes and something I seek out when eating out. During our recent trip to Paris, my wife S and I had the pleasure of eating at a lovely bistro in the 16th called Le Petit Retro not just once, but twice. On both occasions, I had their blanquette de veau. The first time, it was amazing. The sauce was delicious, tangy, thick and full of flavour. The veal chunks were gorgeously tender and the basmati that the blanquette was served with was buttery, fluffy, nutty and aromatic. The second time, however, while the sauce and the rice were still excellent, the veal pieces were just a little tough, but still tasty enough to impress us.

To make blanquette de veau, you poach chunks of veal belly, breast, or shoulder (or if you can’t get either of these cuts, you can use what butchers often call “stewing cuts”) in stock or water. You then sauté mushrooms and onions, which are added to the veal in a rich, creamy sauce made with both creme fraiche and cream. This is a truly satisfying dish, the kind of thing that, when served with buttered rice, hits the spot on a rainy day or a chilly night. We like to make a huge pot of it and freeze single serve portions. That way, whenever I have a craving for this yummy dish, it’s just a few microwaved minutes away. (S, of course, advocates reheating it on the stove and not in a microwave.)

 

 

About Aun Koh

Aun has always loved food and travel, passions passed down to him from his parents. This foundation, plus a background in media, pushed him to start Chubby Hubby in 2005. He loves that this site allows him to write about the things he adores--food, style, travel, his wife and his bouncing baby boy!

What Others Are Saying

  1. Stephen June 17, 2007 at 6:07 am

    I’ll take rustic comfort food over a lot of haute cuisine anyday. There’s a reason these dishes have lasted the test of time.

  2. Louise COZIAN June 17, 2007 at 10:24 pm

    It’s wonderful to know that you give french recipes…….I wanted to make this dish for my S’porean friends when I was back on holidays last year and I couldn’t find veal in the supermarkets!! I ended up cooking boeuf bourguignon and canard à l’orange instead….found the meat in Carrefour.
    Bon appetit
    Louise (France)

  3. Fred June 18, 2007 at 10:22 pm

    while this recipe looks reasonably simple to prepare, I wish I can pronounce the name of the dish! :p

  4. Louise COZIAN June 19, 2007 at 3:54 pm

    lol Fred
    try saying bl-on-cat de vo ah l-on-si-an (have to say it quite fast!!)
    I’d still like to know where I can find veal in S’pore, would like to cook that for my friends the next time I’m back.
    Louise (France)

  5. Alan June 21, 2007 at 3:17 pm

    Hi Louise
    You can get veal in Singapore at Swiss Butchery in Bukit Timah.

  6. Louise COZIAN June 24, 2007 at 5:18 pm

    Hi Alan
    Thanks for the tip, will ask my friends where the butchery is.
    Have just read Eating Paris…..very good tips there.

  7. justdesserts January 17, 2008 at 5:01 pm

    I truly enjoyed this post. Hilarious! :)

  8. Cheryl Antier January 6, 2009 at 3:20 am

    I just wanted you to know that I’ve bookmarked your site and this is the second time I’ve made Blanquette de veau à l’ancienne – although I’ve adapted it a bit so I can make it in my crockpot. The first time it got rave reviews – from my Father-in-law, who is French and the yardstick I use to measure my success with French cooking experiments.

    Tonight we’re having a little dinner party for friends, and this is what everyone wanted.

    So thanks for a delicious recipe that makes me look good!

    Warmly,

    Cheryl Antier

  9. Brian C December 30, 2009 at 1:47 am

    I made this the other night for the first time in a number of years after having found your site for a quick review. I made the sauce somewhat thinner so I could spoon ontop of toasted french bread with goat cheese ( had no rice or potatoes in house). That may seem over the top rich but believe me I will try again sooner than later. Thanks really enjoying the site

  10. Kathy D May 22, 2010 at 4:21 pm

    You are the first person I’ve seen who seasons like me: salt, pepper, ………and sugar !

  11. Catherine July 23, 2012 at 1:38 pm

    I’ve had this recipe on my to-cook list for about two years now ever since I came back from a Christmas holiday in Belgium. I was served this meal at a dinner by my hostess and I fell in love with this dish. I finally made it this evening and it was delicious! It even worked well with a rue made with gluten free flour. Thank you ever so much for having this on your site!

    • Aun July 23, 2012 at 4:29 pm

      Catherine, I’m so happy this worked for you. I’ve been eyeing Thomas Keller’s uber-chi-chi version of blanquette recently. I might try that out and post on that soon.

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