12 April 2021

Une blanquette pour midi

Yesterday I made a blanquette for lunch. That's a white stew made with meat, aromatic vegetables, and mushrooms in a creamy sauce. It's often served with steamed rice, but is good with pasta or steamed potatoes as well. And it's good on a damp, chilly day like the one we had yesterday. The recipe is not complicated, but it does take some time, because the meat has to simmer in a mixture of water and white wine for at least a couple of hours.

The first step is to cut up the meat into cubes — cubes as large or small as you want them to be. Also cut up an onion or a few shallots and a couple of carrots.

Put the cubed meat in a pot — un fait-tout in French, meaning an all-purpose pot for cooking stocks, soups, or stews — with the cut-up vegetables. Add some black peppercorns and salt, along with a few allspice berries and bay leaves if you have them. Other herbs and aromatics like celery or leeks can go into the pot too.

Pour in about half a bottle of dry white wine and then add enough water to just barely cover the meat and vegetables. Set the pot on the stove over medium heat and bring it to a boil. Turn the heat down to low and skim off any white foam that floats to the top. Add more water as needed to make sure the meat and vegetables remain submerged in liquid. Let the meat cook for two or more hours, until it is very tender and almost ready to start falling apart.

Don't rush the meat, because you want it tender. However, if the carrots and onions look like they might be starting to get over-cooked and mushy, take them out of the pot before you finish simmering the meat. I always put the vegetables into the blanquette before serving it, but you can decide not to put them in the stew if you don't want to.
What you end up with is a good quantity (about a liter) of very flavorful broth. Pour it through a strainer to remove the peppercorns, allspice berries, and bay leaves. The next step is to make a roux and then a white sauce with the broth and some cream in which to finish cooking the meat along with some mushrooms... that's a blog post for tomorrow.

Here's a link to part two of this post. And here's a link to a recipe in French with my translation.


  1. Replies
    1. 'Twas... maybe not quite as good as with veal but for half the price. Just an experiment...

  2. Replies
    1. Blanquette, as everybody knows means white, wich means so-called "white" ingredients are used in the final product. Veal or chicken are white meats, rice is white as are button mushrooms before they're cooked. And, of course, the sauce blanche. In the cooking broth you can use non-white ingredients like carrots which give good flavor.
      Pork is not a white meat. I don't know about rabbit

    2. Rabbit is definitely white meat, like chicken. So is lean pork, for that matter. It's as least as white as veal. And as for colors, what about blanquette d'agneau? And whatever you put them in, the mushrooms are brown.

  3. The recipe you say you follow is the traditional way to prepare and serve the blanquette. When in California I used to use chicken instead of veal because the latter was not available. In the cooking liquid I put also cloves. I kept the carotts and onion as a side dish for another day. Just as you recipe says (last sentence in French) I served on rice with mushrooms, lemon juice and the sauce and nothing else.

    1. I love that: "the recipe you say you follow..." Do you think I'm lying? As for cloves, allspice has that flavor, but not so strong. What did you eat the carrots and onions (which are white!) with?

    2. I don't especially recall. I might have eaten them as is with some potatoes cooked in the broth. But I recall it was delicious.

    3. I'll never forget how upset you got one time when we had lunch in a restaurant in Paris and you ordered blanquette de veau. It came with a mixture of white rice and (black) wild rice. That ruined the whole experience for you. I was mystified.

    4. Yes, it was at Café Louis-Philippe on 27th June 2008.


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