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Veau a la blanquette sans veau?!

I once had veau a la blanquette at a restaurant, and it was fantastic. I see a recipe for this in Thomas Keller's Bouchon, but I am wondering if I can substitute some other type of meat besides veal. I no longer eat veal, and am wondering if beef or lamb or something else might work, and what type of cut I should try.

thanks.

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  1. Using beef or lamb in this dish will change the rather delicate flavor of the blanquette to a more assertive one; lamb and beef don't do so well in white, cream-based sauces as well. I don't eat veal anymore either; I think it's been at least 20 years now since I've had any. I substitute poached and cubed chicken breast for the veal. You'll obviously cook the chicken breast for less time than you would cubed veal shoulder. A cut up whole chicken can be used instead of the chicken breast.

    I don't eat lamb anymore, either and there's no substitute for that.

    1. I've never actually ate veal, so I'm not sure how it would compare, but perhaps cubed pork shoulder would work (with chicken stock subbing for the light veal stock). It would hold up to the long cooking time and look just as good in the end. Perhaps chicken legs could work too, but with less final visual appeal.

      1. Substitute cubed pork butt to make a blanquette. Chicken breast cooks too quickly as a substitute.

        2 Replies
        1. re: PBSF

          Pork, although a "white" meat, will also not be as delicate in flavor as white veal, especially if you use pork shoulder/butt. If you use pork or chicken, I'd use a light chicken stock for poaching, then use that for the sauce base.

          The chicken breast or cut up chicken is poached and set aside, as you would with cubed veal shoulder, except the veal is stewed for an hour or so until tender, then the blanched vegetables added and the sauce thickened, to make a long story short. Obviously, you would not poach the chicken nearly as long as veal shoulder. You could make this dish pretty quickly with the chicken, as well.

          1. re: PBSF

            Use pork loin, not butt. You WILL need to add fat. Turkey breast is what I use in making "veal" sausages, or in "vitello" tonnato, so you might try that too.

          2. Not all of the veal sold today is the milk-fed veal wear the young calf is kept confined. They now have pasture raised veal that is a little more assertive in flavor, but still not as strong as beef. The pasture raised veal calf produces cuts of meat that are darker than traditional veal but not deep red like regular beef.

            I've only used it once. I'd cook with it more often but it is quite expensive.

            1 Reply
            1. re: John E.

              I'm able to get pastured veal here in Indiana; in fact, I've got 11 pounds of veal bones in the fridge that are going to become stock tomorrow.

            2. I would try pork cutlet, but not beef or lamb.

              1. Yikes. Honestly, I wouldn't even bother making a veal blanquette if you don't eat veal. The results of choosing an alternative to veal will make the stew taste completely different. There is no true substitute. That said, you can still make a good stew using the rest of the ingredients ... perhaps with a pork as a replacement for the veal or chicken breast, but it will then be called pork or chicken blanquette. If you use cubed chicken breast, remember to cook the stew for a short period of time otherwise you will end up with "dry chicken blanquette". Sorry. Just my opinion.

                5 Replies
                1. re: ahhsugar

                  "will make the stew taste completely different"

                  Or maybe just somewhat different. It's certainly true, and I assume the OP is quite aware of that. The veal blanquette ingredients/technique work for chicken or pork also. You can't expect to get the exact recipe results if you substitute another ingredient for the main, but I don't think there will be anything less tasty about chicken or pork prepared in the blanquette manner. Although the original recipe is a classic French dish, I don't see why it can't be modified to suit one's dietary choices.

                  The OP could call it whatever he/she desires and treat it as his/her own invention.

                  1. re: bushwickgirl

                    I agree; and inasmuch as I encourage those cooks for whom i mentor to step outside of the box as part of their learning adventure, I would encourage the OP to try as many variations as he/she might wish to explore. If our ancestors had failed to follow that philosophy, John Montagu would have ruined a good many decks of cards.

                    1. re: todao

                      Well, yes, you are probably right. You will have to forgive me. I am relatively new to the world of cooking. I'm not good enough to change recipes and thus am in the realm of a "purist". So, don't take what I say too seriously. :)

                      1. re: ahhsugar

                        Welcome to the adventures of cooking. My advice; never be afraid to experiment. It's always best to think it through before you act but never be hesitant to make a change in a recipe, except perhaps when your expecting company for dinner. You'll have failures - but nobody ever learned much from success.
                        When you have a failure you get to investigate to learn why it failed. That's the exciting part of culinary arts.

                        1. re: todao

                          Thanks for the advice. I really try .... and yes sometimes I fail. Today I tried making a bolognese sauce for the very first time. It took over 3 hours of simmering on my stovetop, but the end results were pretty good. Then, last night I didn't cook my rice properly. Go figure.