Blanquette de Veau

Blanquette is the French term for a ragout of white meat cooked in white stock with lots of aromatics.  The sauce is made by thickening the stock and finishing with cream.  Blanquette has a very important place in historical cuisine and became a classic of the bourgeois..

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Ingredients:

3 lb. boneless veal shoulder, cut into 1″ chunks
1 bouquet garni (1 tsp. coriander seeds, 5 black peppercorns, 3 thyme sprigs, 2 whole cloves, 2 cloves garlic, 1 bay leaf, and 1⁄4 bunch parsley stems, wrapped in cheesecloth, tied with kitchen twine)
10 oz. pearl onions, peeled
16 baby carrots, peeled
2 small bulbs fennel, each cut into 8 wedges
10 oz. button mushrooms, quartered
5 ribs celery, cut into 1″ pieces
3 tbsp. unsalted butter
2 1⁄2 tbsp. flour
2 cups heavy cream
1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
Kosher salt, freshly ground white pepper, to taste
Cayenne, to taste
Cooked white rice, for serving
1⁄3 cup crème fraîche
Parsley leaves, to garnish

Directions:

Bring veal, bouquet garni, and 10 cups water to a boil in a 6-qt. saucepan over high heat; reduce heat to medium-low and cook for 30 minutes, occasionally skimming any impurities that rise to the surface.

Add onions, carrots, and fennel and cook for 30 minutes. Add mushrooms and celery, then cook until veal is very tender and vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer veal and vegetables to a bowl; cover and keep warm.

Pour cooking liquid through a fine strainer into a bowl; place 4 cups in a 2-qt. saucepan. Bring to a boil, and reduce to 2 cups, about 30 minutes.

Wipe 6-qt. saucepan clean and return to medium heat; add butter. Add flour and cook, stirring, until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add reduced stock and cream, and bring to a boil; cook until thickened and slightly reduced, about 15 minutes.

Return veal and vegetables to sauce, and cook until warmed through, about 5 minutes. Stir in lemon juice, salt, pepper, and cayenne; divide among bowls with rice. Drizzle with crème fraîche; garnish with parsley leaves.