Recipe: Blanquette de veau à l’ancienne

Ingredients

1.5 kilos collar or shoulder of veal, cut into reasonable chunks

200g each of carrots, onions, leeks

100g celery

2 cloves

1 bouquet garni (leek leaf wrapped around herb stalks and a bay leaf)

2 litres veal stock (see recipe after chapter 5)

For the velouté you need:

60g butter

60g flour (preferably cornflour)

1 litre of cooking juice

20cl cream

2 egg yolks

And for your garniture à l’ancienne:

250 white button mushrooms

40g butter

Half a lemon

250g small pearl onions

A little sugar

Salt and white pepper

Method

Old-style – à l’ancienne. This means that every single French person you will ever meet knows exactly how this should be cooked and, above all, how it should taste: Delicious! Their grandmothers and mothers made it for them when they were children and so you’d better get it right, i.e. exactly how they remember it tasting back when they were kids. So, no pressure then if you’re cooking for a French person.

If you’re cooking for anyone else, it just needs to be all white. All right?

So, trim the meat and then blanch it for five minutes in boiling water, removing scum and draining carefully. While this is simmering, cut your vegetables into large pieces – half or quarter the carrots and large onions. They’re going to be cooked for a while. Stick the cloves into a piece of onion so you can find them later on.

Put these vegetables and the meat back into the (rinsed) saucepan, cover with stock (or just water if you can’t be bothered to make any) and simmer for 45-50 minutes, until tender.

While this is cooking, make your roux – put the butter and flour into a saucepan and stir with a wooden spoon until the butter melts and mixes with the flour, allow to cook out gently for a few minutes.

Next, cook the small onions and button mushrooms in a little water and olive oil (not enough to cover them) with a disc of greaseproof paper, so they don’t colour. About five minutes should do.

When the meat’s cooked, remove the cooking juices, strain them and use to make your velouté with the roux sauce – add the juices little by little to the roux so you don’t get lumps, stirring constantly. Your stick mixer is your friend if you do get lumps. Then, mix together the egg yolks and cream and add them, off the heat, to the velouté mix, stirring all the time. Pass through a sieve and pour over the meat in your serving dish. It should all look perfectly white – no colour allowed. OK?

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