How To Pare Down Daniel Boulud's Veal Stew For A Stylish At-Home Dinner

When you're craving a little style in the kitchen, foodies seldom have further to look than French cuisine. Perhaps paradoxically, its timeless vogue comes from its understated simplicity. As Julia Child, the unofficial world champion of French cooking, says, "You don't have to cook fancy or complicated masterpieces — just good food from fresh ingredients." In other words, traditional French dishes don't try too hard. 

Today, we're talking about a stylish, traditional French dish and how one of the most fashionable chefs in the fine dining world makes it. Blanquette de veau is a creamy lamb stew, traditionally served alongside rice, potatoes, or pasta. The "blanquette" part of the name comes from the thick "blanket" of creamy white sauce that covers the dish. The well-known French chef Daniel Boulud unsurprisingly takes an elevated approach when he makes blanquette de veau. But, with a few omissions and substitutions, you can pare down Boulud's veal stew for a fashionable dinner at home that won't take all night to put together.

Use veggie stock and skip the sweetbreads and black truffle

When Boulud is whipping up a plate of blanquette de veau, the chef pulls out all the stops. Per Food & Wine, the Michelin chef packs the stew with veal stock, shaved black truffle, and sweetbreads (smooth lamb organ meat with a creamy flavor). You're probably good to skip these fancier ingredients when you make the dish at home; even without the sweetbreads and truffle shavings, blanquette de veau is still a hearty stew. It's a combination of veal chunks, carrots, celery, mushrooms, pearl onions, and butter, all slathered in a thick cream sauce. There's a reason why foodies in France have been sticking to it for centuries. 

For your homemade version, you can also sub veggie stock for veal stock. In fact, if lamb isn't your thing, you can leave it out altogether. The star of classic blanquette de veau is veal, but the dish is still highly customizable and will still be successful with either protein. But, however you choose to pare down Boulud's creamy lamb stew, rest assured: It's okay if you get a little too excited and let a few ingredients slip to the floor,  according to Julia Child, anyway. "Always remember: If you're alone in the kitchen and you drop the lamb, you can always just pick it up. Who's going to know?"