As my family grows, we now celebrate two Christmases – the second when my brother and his wife and kids come home from Boston. Last year I made dinner for the occasion and decided to continue the tradition with one of my newest favorite French dishes, Blanquette de Veau.
I got mixed reactions from family members when I said I’d be whipping up veal for dinner. Luckily (for them), the veal at Whole Foods was tagged with a hefty price, so I replaced the main ingredient with beef shoulder. I used Café Boulud’s recipe on Epicurious as a starting point, altering a few things due to ingredients I couldn’t find, etc. This dish is perfect for any family gathering so give it a try at your next dinner.
Blanquette de “Boeuf”
- 10 oz pearl onions
- 3 1/2 – 4 lbs beef shoulder cut into 1-2 inch pieces
- 10 cups chicken stock
- 2 tsp thyme
- 2 bay leaves
- 5 tbsp butter
- 1 lb small potatoes
- 4 large carrots, peeled, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
- 3 medium turnips, peeled, cut into 6 pieces
- 8 oz button mushrooms
- 6 oz haricots verts
- 3 tbsp all purpose flour
- 3/4 cup whipping cream
- 1/2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- Bring large pot of salted water to a boil. Add and cook pearl onions for 1 minute. Remove onions with slotted spoon from pot. Trim ends and peel.
- Add veal to pot and cook 4 minutes. Drain veal and rinse with cold water. Return veal to empty pot. Add 8 cups chicken stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Add thyme and bay leaves and simmer until veal is tender, stirring occasionally for approx. 30 minutes.
- Melt 2 tbsp butter in another large pot over medium heat. Add peeled pearl onions, potatoes, carrots, turnips, mushrooms, haricot verts and 1 cup of chicken stock. Cover and cook until vegetables are tender and liquid has evaporated (about 30 minutes).
- Drain veal and reserve 2 cups of cooking liquid. Mix veal into vegetables.
- In a medium saucepan, melt remaining 3 tbsp butter over medium heat. Mix in 3 tablespoons of flour and cook until butter mixture turns golden brown, stirring constantly for about 2 minutes. Whisk in reserved cooking liquid and cook until thickened. Cook until thickened (about five minutes). Add a teaspoon (or two) of cornstarch to help thicken if need be. Stir in whipping cream and season with lemon juice, salt and pepper.
- Pour cream sauce over cooked veal and vegetables.
- Serve immediately.