La Blanquette is a dish inscribed in the tradition of French “cuisine bourgeoise”. My mother, Renée Peyrafitte-Gallot makes a very good one and serves it for lunch over rice. The term blanquette comes from the word “blanc” or white. It is a stew in a white sauce that can be made either from veal or lamb. The same sauce can be used for poultry but then it would be a Fricassée. French historian Jean-Louis Flandrin dedicated a lecture to that dish and a book was published posthumously —I came across this reference through the excellent French food blog: ” Boire et Manger, quelle histoire ! “.
Enjoy the Blanquette!
Blanquette d’ Agneau
for 4 (this is a variation inspired by James Beard and my mother’s recipe)
2 ½ pounds of lamb shoulder cut into 2-inch cubes
1 onion “nailed” with 2 cloves (see pix below)
salt & pepper
1 sprig of thyme or better a bouquet garni
1 pound mushrooms
about 8 tablespoons of butter
about 20 small white onions
4 tablespoons of flour
2 egg yolks
½ cup of heavy cream
Rub the meat with lemon. Place the meat cubes in a stewing pan with the onion stuck with the two cloves, add 1 teaspoon of salt, the bouquet garni and freshly ground pepper. Cover with cold water. When it comes to boil, reduce heat, put a lid on the pan and simmer gently until the meat is tender -about 1 hour to 1 1/2 hour. Skim the broth a few times.
Meanwhile, cut up the mushrooms, sauté gently in butter, add a dash of lemon juice, cook until just tender and reserve. Peel the onions and cook them until barely done; they have to remain firm.
When the meat is tender, remove it to a hot platter and keep it warm. Let the broth from the meat reduce down to two cups over a brisk flame for 5 minutes and then strain it. Add the liquid from the onions and the juices from the mushrooms. If you do not have enough liquid, add some chicken or vegetable stock.
In a sauce pan melt 4 tablespoons of butter and blend in the flour (you are making a roux). Gradually stir in the stock, and continue stirring until the sauce is consistent. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Beat the egg yolks and mix them with the heavy cream. Add to the sauce and stir until heated through, but do not let boil or the egg will curdle. Add a dash of lemon juice, put in onions and mushrooms and pour the sauce over the meat.
Serve with steamed rice or rice pilaf.