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Not only the Blanquette is one of the Frenchest dishes ever, and one of the best, it is hardly ever found in a restaurant, even a French one. It is the kind of dish your grand-mother would make to please you when you come visit (and make sure you come back).
So, the only way for you to discover it, besides marrying a French foodie that will cook it for you, is to learn from me, right now. By the way, if I had to seduce a handsome American man today, I would certainly make that dish.
To me it is sexier that a fillet mignon. It is more complex…more refined and delicate. We treat the meat the way a women should be treated…with care. It is a good road to the French way of life, the way it should be.
So, lets make this unavoidable little marvel.
To serve 4.
About 3 pounds of veal for stew, and a few bones, from a shoulder for instance. It is ok without the bones, but it is best with.
2 tbs of butter
1 tbs of olive oil
3 minced shallots
3 leeks, mostly the white part, washed and sliced.
6 organic carrots, peeled and sliced
1/4 pound of mushrooms (if you find girolles…it is best)
3 garlic cloves
1 bouquet garni : in a leek leaf, fold some fresh thyme, 1 laurel leaf and a few parsley branches. Keep the leaf closed with a rubber band.
1 glass of organic white wine (dry)
2 egg yolks
1 cup crème fraiche or heavy cream
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 pinch of nutmeg
2 tbs cornstarch
Salt and black pepper
To serve : rice, various veggies of your choice
Place a large sauce pan on medium heat. Add the butter to melt slowly (do not burn it) and the meat. Let the meat color a few minutes.
Add the wine, shallots, veggies (except the mushrooms), bouquet garni, bones (if you have) and cover with water. Bring to a boil and let simmer for at least 45 mn.
Meanwhile, clean and slice the mushrooms. If you have some giroles, keep them whole.
Heat up the olive oil in a pan and sauté the mushroom on low heat for about 15 mn.
Prepare your liaison : in a bowl, mix the egg yolks with the cornstarch, the lemon juice, the pinch of nutmeg and the cream.
When the veal is tender, remove the bouquet garni and add the mushrooms to the pan. On low heat, add the liaison and stir with a wooden spoon.
Serve with a dome of rice (boiled or steamed) and a few fresh seasonal vegetables.
It is customary to drink the wine you’ve used to cook your blanquette…so it’d better be good!
Cognac parfait with toasted almonds
Ice cream do not need to be complicated and over sweetened. A “parfait” is a version of ice cream that is easy, quick, versatile and very satisfying to make…and eat.
If you never had cognac in an ice cream, this is the moment to try it. No sprinkles, so artificial colors here. Chose the best cream available, your favorite brand of cognac and very good almonds. This is all you need, with a touch of sugar.
By the way, I’ve used powdered sugar because it doesn’t leave any grainy texture, but feel free to use coconut syrup, agave syrup and even maple syrup to your whipped cream instead. Enjoy…
1 egg white
1 cup 1/4 of very good cream without additives (from grass fed cows)
About two tbs powdered sugar (of maple syrup)
2 tbs of cognac
Toasted silvered almond to garnish
A few gavottes to serve with the parfait
Whisk the egg white until firm. Whisk the cream until firm, add the sugar, the cognac and the egg white. Transfer in little ramequins and freeze for a good hour.
Unmold in a pretty dish, sprinkle with toasted almonds and serve with a few gavottes.