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To the west of Provence is a destination not as well known, but no less beautiful. The Languedoc is a more rural part of France, and offers stunning vistas and charming villages, as well as plenty of fresh air. As for the food, it is, simply put, wonderful, and rich in tradition.
One such dish you may make during a culinary vacation to Languedoc includes blanquette de veau, which is a French veal ragout that originally hails from Burgundy. The term ‘en blanquette’ actually means that the dish is a white meat that is cooked in either a white stock, or water that has been flavored with aromatics. Although this particular recipe calls for lightly browning the veal, in some blanquette recipes the meat is blanched and then simmered, making the dish even lighter in color.
So how is the sauce made precisely? While this is better seen and experienced firsthand in the kitchen – during one of our cooking vacations in France – the sauce is made either with a light roux or by using cream and egg yolks, as below.
This recipe hails from Chef Stéphane’s, who used to teach our culinary travelers in the rustic Parc des Cevennes.
Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 60 minutes:
Cook method: Sauté, Simmer
1. Prep some of the ingredients: Cut the veal into two-inch cubes, stick the onion with a clove, and then tie together the celery, thyme, bay, and parsley.
2. Start cooking! Melt three tablespoons of butter with oil in a dutch oven or casserole pan. Once warm, add the veal, and brown lightly on all sides.
3. To the pan, add the carrots, onions, salt, and herbs. Add water (so meat is covered).
4. Cook all of this over high heat and bring it to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for 45 minutes.
5. While that cooks, peel the white pearl onions. Also clean the mushrooms, and cut them into quarters.
6. In a different pan/skillet, melt three tablespoons of butter, and then add in the mushrooms, salt and pepper. Sauté until lightly browned.
7. Remove the mushrooms, and add in two more tablespoons of butter into the skillet. Next add the onions and sauté for 1 or 2 minutes. Return the mushrooms to the skillet, and keep it warm.
8. Next, in a bowl, mix the egg yolks along with the cream and half of the lemon juice.
10. Use a cup of the liquid from the meat to temper the egg and cream mixture. Then, using the dish where the meat was cooked, pour the cream and yolk mixture into the rest of the meat juice. Cook this over very low heat for about 10 minutes, and do not let the sauce boil. Add in the lemon juice as well as the salt and pepper (if you’d like).
11. Pour the sauce over the meat in the dish, and it’s ready to enjoy!
This dish pairs wonderfully with rice à la créole, as well as vegetables that have been cooked in the meat. Chef Stéphane also recommends serving the blanquette de veau with either Chardonnay, La Marsanne, or Pinot Gris wine.
Want to learn more about the art of French cuisine? Join us for a cooking vacation in France!
By Peg Kern
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