blanquette de veau

Blanquette de veau

blanquette de veau

A family memory

A tasty household dish, the precious heritage of generations of family cooking. A French favourite, celebrated by gourmets and cooked by the greatest chefs. The diminutive “blanquette” is a sort of affectionate nickname, derived from the French word for “white”. Indeed, it was originally “a stew of white meats with white sauce”: the first recipe, written by the chef Vincent de la Chapelle in 1735, describes the art of reviving leftover roast veal loin with white sauce.


Blanquette de veau is both simple and tricky to prepare. Comforting yet delicate, it requires a real knack for cooking, right at the last moment. The very greatest chefs and gourmets have been intrigued by it. It features in all the founding cookbooks of French gourmet heritage: the Parisian chef Jules Gouffé was already writing about it in 1870. His Livre de Cuisine describes the veal broth, its coating of white roux and egg yolk and its beautiful glazed sauce just as we know them today.


Gourmet heritage

The recipe for blanquette de veau has traversed the centuries basically unchanged. A savoury broth is poured cold over cubes of raw veal (a mixture of lean and fatty pieces). Skim regularly for half an hour, before adding carrots, onion studded with cloves, white leek and a bouquet garni. Simmer uncovered over low heat for at least an hour. The meat should remain firm and tender, the broth dense.

A stroke of genius

From Madame Saint-Ange’s Bonne cuisine of (1927) to the very contemporary chef Jean-François Trap’s recipe, the blanquette’s garnish is made of button mushrooms and small glazed onions.

The white roux used to create the blanquette sauce is one of the great foundations of classic cooking: in a saucepan with a thick base and of a capacity appropriate to the amount of sauce, quickly mix the butter and flour in roughly equal proportions. Cook over a low heat for one to two minutes until the mixture becomes frothy. Let it colour a little before taking it off the heat and adding the aromatic filtered veal broth. Mix with a whisk and return to a low heat, stirring with a wooden spoon until thickened.

Dangerous liaisons

In the original version, egg yolks and breadcrumbs are now added to the white sauce, which is then seasoned with almonds and spices. The addition of the egg yolk is the final touch that gives the blanquette its smoothness. This is the tricky moment, the slightly dramatic aspect of making a blanquette: once the egg yolks are incorporated, the slightest overdose of broth can turn the sauce. A hint of acidity is a welcome final touch: originally a dash of verjuice, now replaced by a dash of vinegar or lemon.

Not so old, actuallyThe recipe, often described as old, is still relevant and also more recent than one might think. To ensure that the meat used in the blanquette was perfectly white, the pieces were originally soaked in lemon water. Since the recipes of Jules Gouffé and Madame Saint-Ange in the 19th century, they have been rubbed with lemon juice before being covered with water. This method is still applied.

A little practical tip

 For even more deliciousness and smoothness, some cooks add a spoonful of crème fraîche at the last moment. 

You are 6 to have shared this memory!

  • La blanquette de veau


  • La blanquette de veau

    Bénédicte et Lionel

  • La blanquette de veau


  • La blanquette de veau


  • La blanquette de veau


  • La blanquette de veau aux morilles