Slow Cookers are Curry Cookers in France
I remember that day when I found this slow cooker hiding in the electronic aisle at the French supermarket.
A curry cooker?
I bought it. I don’t usually make curry, but this curry cooker is actually a slow cooker in disguise. Yeah!
In France, the concept of cooking in a slow cooker or a crock pot (as my mom calls it) is quite foreign. Quelle dommage! Instead of slow cookers, the French use a pressure cooker, a tajine or just their normal cooking pots to make their stews.
But slow cookers are an ideal way to cook stews, soups (or why not other creative dishes?). For working parents, a slow cooker opens the opportunity to put ingredients in the cooker in the morning, heat food on slow cook low temperatures all day, and voila, dinner is made while you are at work.
Blanquette de Veau is one of France’s favorite dishes
At the top of France’s favorite dishes is Blanquette de Veau (although in the last few years the top place has been kicked off for France’s new favorite Magret de Canard). Blanquette is easy to make, delicious served with soft potatoes, rice or pasta and it has the added benefit of fitting into a reasonable food budget. Veal shoulder is a cheaper piece of meat, but cooking it for hours at low temperatures makes it tender.
Note: Blanquette is the French term for a stew of white meat (in this case veal) that is cooked in water or white stock. Blanquette comes from the French word blanc. For more reading, see this article: Blanquette de veau.
Cooking Blanquette de Veau in a slow cooker makes it simple and flavorful
This month’s Recipe ReDux challenge was developing a healthy and tasty slow cooker recipe. I thought that veal stew would be a perfect dish for a slow cooker because blanquette de veau needs to cook at low heat for a few hours. (In fact, cooking these tougher pieces of meat at too high temperatures for shorter periods can make them tough to eat).
A typical French veal blanquette is cooked just in water and is served with an optional roux sauce made from butter, flour and the veal stew bouillon. There may be onions or mushrooms in the blanquette, but in my version, I added peas to the dish to add color, taste and more vitamins.
I adapted the French blanquette recipe I normally use on the stove for my slow cooker by browning the pieces of meat first before adding them to the slow cooker. This helped to be sure the meat was cooked thoroughly and added some extra flavor because the meat caramelizes from the browning process. Normally a blanquette doesn’t allow for browning of meat or addition of fat (except for the sauce at the end).
Veal stew is a dish perfect for cooler weather with a side of rice, potatoes or pasta
Blanquette de Veau is French comfort food. Easy to make (even the sauce!) and with a side dish of steamed potatoes, rice or buttered pasta, you can enjoy your comfort food French style too.
Enjoy the rest of my fellow ReDuxers slow cooker recipes. If you like this recipe, I would greatly appreciate you sharing it or pinning it to your favorite Pinterest board!
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Slow Cooker French Stew or Blanquette de Veau
|Prep time||30 minutes|
|Cook time||4 hours|
|Total time||4 hours, 30 minutes|
|Meal type||Lunch, Main Dish|
- 2lb veal shoulder, cut into 2 inch cubes
- 3 heaped tablespoons all purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 carrots
- 2 onions
- 7 cloves
- 2 sprigs thyme
- ground pepper
- 1 lemon
- 1 can mushrooms-small can or jar (or 1/2 cup of freshly chopped mushrooms)
The sauce for the Blanquette de Veau is optional but recommended for additional taste. For a lighter version of this veal stew, serve the meat and vegetables with some of the liquid from the slow cooker. An ideal accompaniment for veal stew is boiled potates, rice or pasta.