The other night, our French friend made blanquette de veau for us. He bought all the ingredients himself, so I didn’t count the meal against our budget. Moreover, we’ve had him over three or four times during the Challenge as a guest, so I don’t consider us to be cheating here. Still, the meal was by far the most expensive that we’ve eaten during the Challenge, and it was remarkably luxurious.
Blanquette de veau
Our friend told us that his mother made blanquette frequently for the family while he was growing up, so it seems that we had the privilege of trying some real French homecooking. He said that it was always served with rice and pretty much always made with veal (‘veau’). To save money, I would probably use pork, though the taste and texture would be rather different. It was very nice to indulge all that lovely veal this once.
The white colour (‘blanquette’) comes from crème fraîche, a dairy product somewhat similar to sour cream, but quite a bit thicker and nuttier tasting. Crème fraîche is used frequently in French cooking, but it’s not common here in the US. However, some grocery stores do carry it – here, Kroger does but Food Lion doesn’t.
Other ingredients include vegetable broth (bought in powder form), chicken broth (which we provided, and it was actually turkey broth), onions, white mushrooms, and carrots. I believe there may have been an egg involved as well.
It was so delicious. Even though I was stuffed, I went back for seconds. The veal was nice, but the real star for me was the soup itself, because it had such amazing flavour. I savoured every bite, and I’m very grateful to our friend for sharing this dish with us.
Although it wasn’t part of our friend’s plan, I wanted to make a veggie for a side. I don’t really consider a meal a real meal unless there are veggies involved (preferably a deep, dark green veggie). So I made a ginger stir-fry with mixed frozen veggies. Again, I described the recipe in an earlier post, but didn’t have any pictures at the time.