Home Cooking 1

blanquette de agneau (in lieu of blanquette de veau) - trials, tribulations and pondering

vliang | Aug 2, 200501:38 PM

So I was watching Anthony Bourdain's show last week and developed an intense craving for the blanquette de veau he was having. Posted for it on the SF board to no avail... apparently this is not a dish that is made by our bistros.
So decided to take matters in my own hands and make it at home. Grabbed my 40th Anniversary Edtion Julia Child's "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" before heading off to the market. First off, my local butcher was closed. Then went to Whole Foods to find that they did not have ANY veal that day. The butcher there talked me into buying chuck roast which he cut into cubes. But it didn't seem right that I would be making this dish with boneless chuck roast when it called for veal shoulder.
Went to Safeway and they only had veal cutlets. I knew that slow cooking those veal cutlets would not have been right. Saw that they had lamb shoulder and consulted JC's book. Turns out blanquette de agneau (lamb) was a viable variation. Never mind that JC warned it must be young spring lamb. Do we even have young spring lamb in the US? I doubt in Safwway.
Went home and began to work on dish following the blanquette de veau recipe for this blanquette de agneau. This was my second time using any recipe out of my JC book. And I have to say... her directions mystify me. For instance, at one point you're suppose to get the cooking liquid out only after you have poured sauce over it. Why wouldn't you get it out first? Or she asks you to shake the whole pot to blend in the veloute sauce. Why can't you just fold it in?
Nonetheless, we followed her directions. The dish turned out to be delicious. Served over rice pilaf made with extra lamb stock. The sauce was delicate and the slight gamey quality of the lamb was a nice juxtaposition.
Now I really want to try this recipe with veal. Is veal shoulder something obtainable in the US? Has anyone made this? Has anyone made the lamb? How do they compare? And why the shaking of the pot?

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