A Comfy Little Blanquette
This isn’t the sort of blanquette you take to bed with you, but it’s comfy enough that when you’re craving a snuggly sort of supper, this is a perfect recipe. Nor is this a classic blanquette de veau, because it’s my very own low carb version. I wouldn’t hesitate to serve it to a French friend, however, as it’s beautifully fragrant with leeks and dried porcini, creamy and delicate all at once, the very thing for a drizzly day when autumn threatens and grilling out no longer seems as appealing as it did just a week ago.
I’ve been waiting to find good veal here in the US, rejecting the tragic crate-raised stuff, waiting for real farm-raised veal to come my way. When finally it did, it was shockingly red, instead of the barely pink meat I’m used to in France. My butcher explained to me that it had spent some time in the pasture, whereas the veal I buy in France is élevé sous la mère, raised under its mother, or what we’d call milk-fed. I definitely prefer the taste and especially the texture of the French milk-fed veal, but this tasted very good indeed. Use the best meat you can get, and I predict that this will become a staple when you’re looking for an easy yet fancy low-carb dish to put on your table with pride.
2 lbs veal shoulder, cut for stew
4 medium leeks
2 T butter
2 T canola oil
1 bay leaf
1 tsp thyme
1 1/2 cups white wine, a Vouvray is perfect, a Viognier would also be great
1 heaping cup dried porcini mushrooms
1 cup heavy cream
salt and pepper to taste
Wash the white and light green parts of the leeks and slice them thinly. In a heavy casserole like a Le Creuset melt the butter with the oil and sauté the leeks gently for a few minutes until they are bright green.
Add the veal to the pan and sauté lightly, you don’t want the meat to really brown, but it should no longer be red on the outside. Add the bay leaf, thyme, salt, and pepper, and wine. Stir to combine, cover, and simmer over medium-low heat for 40 minutes.
Meanwhile, soak the dried porcinis in a bowl of hot water to soften them. When the 40 minutes have passed, add the porcinis, along with a few tablespoons of their liquid, to the pot. Be careful to spoon up the mushroom liquid rather than pouring it out of the bowl, because sand and grit may have settled to the bottom. Add the cream, stir to combine, cover the pot, and simmer for another 30 minutes, or until the veal is very tender. The sauce will thicken considerably, but if you want it a bit thinner just add a little more of the porcini soaking liquid.
Serve with the same white wine you used in the cooking, and if there are non-low carb eaters at your table you can serve this with mashed potatoes or buttered noodles.