Blanquette de “Boeuf”

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.

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Blanquette de “Boeuf”

Ingredients:

  • 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

Directions:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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).
  4. Drain veal and reserve 2 cups of cooking liquid. Mix veal into vegetables.
  5. 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.
  6. Pour cream sauce over cooked veal and vegetables.
  7. Serve immediately.
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