Easy recipe for veal casserole or as I called it: blanket de veau. Wonderfully tender veal chunks seared in the pan, baked in the oven with dried wild mushrooms and enriched with cream.
Je connais mes blanquettes
I assure you I know a few French words, especially those pertaining to food and cooking, and I can spell them. The ‘blanket’ in the recipe title is simply a shortcut, and the way the dish is referred to in my house. Plus, as I was pleased to find, quite a few people believe that the French veal casserole is called ‘blanket de veau’.
There is a time-honoured tradition of misusing French words in good faith but with an unintentionally hilarious result. Like John Dory, the delightful North Atlantic fish that is called ‘St Pierre’ in French. The fancy first name-surname in the English language is mauled ‘jaune doré’, golden yellow, the colour of the fish when freshly caught.
Incidentally, ‘double entendre’ is never used in French in the sense of an innuendo and RSVP means ‘please respond’ so adding ‘Please RSVP’ or even ‘Please reply by RSVP’ is hysterically ignorant.
Blanquette or blanket?
I am however (with a sardonically raised left eyebrow) using the word ‘blanket’ ironically here.
With good reason too, since both words are etymologically related. ‘Blanquette’ comes from ‘blanc’ – white and means literally ‘a whitey’; the ‘ette’ suffix used to form a diminutive of a word.
The root is the same for the English ‘blanket’ – originally meaning a woollen cloth, presumably naturally white. Who knew all our blankets should be white in colour?
‘A little white thingy’ then: and how does it relate to veal stew? Quite simply, as the meat and the sauce in the dish should be ‘white’, with added cream to the sauce and without browning the meat.
I’ll own up: I brown the meat in my recipe below. That probably means it is technically definitely NOT blanquette de veau.
Well now guess what – how fortunate that I don’t call it that then, isn’t it? Not blanquette – mine is a BLANKET, and those come in all colours and hues.
How to make my blanket of veal?
Diced meat is sometimes a bit of a roll of a dice, hehe. Obviously, if you manage to procure lean and tender cut from topside or rib, the cooking time might be shorter. Conversely, a less choice cut will need another half an hour in the oven so check with a fork for tenderness before adding the cream.
As I admit above, the recipe is not orthodox. But the method pays off, even if I had to call it ‘blanket’ instead of ‘blanquette’.
Using dried porcini mushrooms gives the dish the wonderful umami flavour so don’t readily swap that ingredient for some bland fresh champignons.
Dried wild mushrooms need soaking in hot water for at least half an hour. Drained and roughly chopped they wait for the meat to be seared (unorthodox!), with the soaking liquor strained and reserved.
Seasoned with salt and white pepper (salting in advance is something I learned from Samin Nosrat and keep being impressed how it tenderised the meat) then dredged through flour, the veal gets quickly browned in the frying pan, then transferred into a casserole dish.
And that’s really the end of active cooking since, with added mushrooms, the liquor and thyme sprigs, it goes into the oven for about an hour.
Next step is checking for tenderness, as mentioned, and if it’s almost to your satisfaction, adding the cream with a little flour mixed in, to thicken the sauce.
Back it goes into the oven for barely a quarter of an hour – and it’s ready. A squeeze of lemon to taste plus some chopped parsley for colour, and it’s ready to be served over plain pasta, rice or with mashed potatoes on the side.
More veal recipes
Scaloppine al vino bianco, veal escalope in white wine sauce is fit for the smartest dinner party. It’s the dish that illustrates the expression ‘easy fine cooking’!
Veal Pojarski is a super tasty cutlet made of steak partly chopped and partly minced. My veal pojarski is an authentic dish unlike the cheap breaded chicken patties pretending to be the Russian classic.
Negimaki-style veal escalopes, marinated in teriyaki and sliced across like sushi rolls. A party snack with a wow-factor or a dish for the special dinner à deux.
More meat casserole recipes
Easy chicken Creole with chicken breast chunks and homemade Creole seasoning is an excellent chicken casserole; best served with rice or plain tortilla chips.
Venison casserole with mushrooms and red wine, cooked slowly in the oven, delivers tender and succulent meat with the flavour of juniper, thyme and the wind.
Pork and mushroom stroganoff: perfect for when you want to cook an easy but special dish and can’t afford to spend a small fortune on the ingredients.