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Veal Stew

Slow Cooker French Veal Stew Blanquette de Veau

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!

imageIn 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!

And, if you are interested in the French food culture, why not sign up for our newsletter for more recipes and French foodies tips?

 

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Bon Appétit,

Mary

Slow Cooker French Stew or Blanquette de Veau

Serves 6
Prep time 30 minutes
Cook time 4 hours
Total time 4 hours, 30 minutes
Allergy Wheat
Meal type Lunch, Main Dish
Misc Serve Hot
Region French
Blanquette de Veau, or French Veal Stew is a typical French dish that uses veal shoulder stewed for a few hours to make a soft meat main dish. The French love this dish and it was formally the most preferred dish for the French population. This recipe uses a slow cooker and the addition of sweet peas to add color, flavor and simplicity.

Ingredients

  • 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
  • salt
  • ground pepper
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 can mushrooms-small can or jar (or 1/2 cup of freshly chopped mushrooms)

Note

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.

Directions

Step 1
Take out slow cooker. Brush a small amount of vegetable oil in bottom and start the heat on high.
Step 2
Peel and chop one onion and put chopped onion in the bottom of the slow cooker.
Step 3
In a large mixing bowl, put in the veal meat and sprinkle with small amount of salt, pepper and almost all the juice from the lemon (reserving some juice for the blanquette sauce). Mix the meat well.
Step 4
Heat up the rest of the vegetable oil in a large saute pan, and add the meat to brown in batches, adding some flour to the meat as it is browning. Add more vegetable oil if needed until all meat is browned. Add browned meat to the slow cooker.
Step 5
When all the meat is in the slow cooker add two cups of water to the meat cooking pan, and with a wooden spoon or spatula scrap up the brown bits from bottom of pan. Put this liquid (water and brown bits) into the slow cooker on top of the meat.
Step 6
clove stuck onion
Peel and stud the other onion with the cloves and add this onion to the top of the meat in slow cooker.
Step 7
slow cooke veal stew
Peel the carrots and place them on top of meat. Add the sprigs of thyme.
Step 8
Cover the slow cooker and cook on high for one hour. Then reduce to low for additional two hours. (Optionally, you can cook the stew continuously on low heat for three and a half hours if you are not home to change the temperature).
Step 9
Drain the mushrooms (or use fresh mushrooms) and add them with the peas to the slow cooker. Cook on low for an additional one hour.
Step 10
Turn off slow cooker, remove carrots and studded onion and prepare the blanquette sauce.
Step 11
Heat 1 tablespoon of butter and 1 tablespoon of flour in a saucepan on top of the stove, mixing continuously until the roux is well mixed. Carefully remove 2 cups of liquid from the slow cooker and add this slowly to the sauce. Mix well until sauce is homogenized.
Step 12
Add to the sauce the small amount of lemon juice and adjust for seasonings by adding salt and pepper if needed.
Step 13
veal stew
Serve the Blanquette direct from the slow cooker at the table or place into a separate serving dish. Use a slotted spoon when serving to remove most of the liquid from the stew. Add the sauce on top for each separate plate.
Step 14
Optionally, for a lighter dish, you can serve more liquid from the slow cooker and eliminate the sauce. (or add a little of both). The choice is yours~!

French veal stew

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