Introduced to many Americans in the sixties by Julia Child, and featured early on at many French restaurants in America, this white stew with mushrooms and onions was the first clue to many American diners that stewed veal can be glorious
4 pounds veal stew meat (bone-in or boneless), cut into 1-inch chunks
3 carrots, cut into 1/2-inch slices
3 stalks celery, cut into large chunks
1 medium yellow onion, cut into 1/4-inch slices
1 garlic clove, coarsely chopped
3 leeks (white part only), cleaned well and cut into 1-inch pieces
3/4 teaspoon dried tarragon
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
2 bay leaves
2 teaspoons coarse salt
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1 1/2 cups dry white vermouth
3 tablespoons Calvados
5 cups water
1 pound pearl onions
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
1 teaspoon sugar
1 pound button mushrooms, wiped clean and quartered
1/4 cup flour
2 large egg yolks
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
lemon juice to taste (optional)
1. Line the bottom of a large, deep pot with half the veal cubes. Place half the carrots and celery over the veal and follow with half the onion slices, half the garlic, and half the leeks. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon of the tarragon, 1/4 teaspoon of the thyme, 1 bay leaf, 2 cloves, 1 teaspoon of the salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of the white pepper. Repeat this process using the remainder of the above ingredients.
2. Pour vermouth, Calvados, and water into the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat so that the liquid simmers gently, and cook, uncovered, for 30 minutes, skimming the top frequently. After the 30 minutes are up, cover the pot and cook another 45 minutes to 1 hour, until the meat is very tender but not falling apart.
3. Remove the pot from the heat and strain the meat and vegetables, reserving the veal stock. Set the veal aside, discard the vegetables, and return the veal stock to a clean saucepan. Boil the stock for about 30 minutes, until it has been reduced to about 4 cups. The blanquette can be made up to this point a day ahead. Store the veal in the stock.
4. While stock is boiling, drop the pearl onions into a small saucepan of boiling water for 1 minute. Remove from water and when cool enough to handle, peel off the skins.
5. In a small skillet melt 2 tablespoons of the butter over moderately high heat. Add pearl onions, sugar, and enough water to just cover the onions. Cook until water has evaporated and onions are tender, about 20 minutes. (They should be coated with a light buttery glaze.) Set aside.
6. Melt 2 tablespoons butter over high heat in a large skillet. When butter is hot, sauté mushrooms, turning once or twice, in batches until nice and golden, about 5 minutes total. (Do not overcrowd pan or mushrooms will steam and not brown properly.) Set aside.
7. Melt remaining butter in a large saucepan over moderate heat. Whisk in the flour slowly, and when all is incorporated, stir well with a wooden spoon for 3 minutes. (The color of the roux should not change.) Slowly add 3 cups of the hot veal stock, whisking constantly. Bring the liquid to a boil and boil it for 4 minutes, then reduce the heat and simmer, whisking occasionally, for about 8 minutes. (It should be nice and thick.)
8. Boil remaining cup of stock until it has been reduced to about 1/2 cup, about 10 minutes. Combine egg yolks and cream in a small bowl. Slowly pour about 2 tablespoons of the boiling stock into the egg mixture, whisking the eggs constantly. (Do not stop whisking or the eggs will scramble.) Add another 2 tablespoons of stock to the eggs and whisk well. Now pour the egg mixture back into the remaining stock, continuing to whisk well. (If any of the egg mixture has cooked, strain it to remove the lumps; then add this egg-bound sauce to the other veal sauce and stir well to combine.)
9. Bring the sauce to a simmer and cook gently, whisking constantly, for 5 to 8 minutes. (The sauce should be a nice, thick consistency, which coats the back of a wooden spoon.) Add the veal, onions, and mushrooms, and heat through. Adjust seasoning and garnish with parsley. Add lemon juice if desired.
Introduced to many Americans in the sixties by Julia Child, and featured early on at many French restaurants in America, this white stew with mushrooms and onions was the first clue to many American diners that stewed veal can be glorious. The following recipe owes much to Julia's technique. Serve with buttered rice, mashed potatoes, or fresh buttered noodles. Serves 6