When I think of classic French food my number one dish would have to be a Blanquette.
It is one of those meals that is so simple to cook and is guaranteed to always fill you with complete taste satisfaction! As an added bonus, it looks impressive so if you want to wow your guests this recipe is for you.
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To get as much flavour as possible out of the dish I would encourage you to buy your chicken from your local butcher. I can guarantee that you'll appreciate the flavour of the main ingredient so much more this way. At both L'escargot restaurants we source our chickens from two farms, Hamildean Farm based in the Borders and Gartmorn Farm in Alloa. They are 'nearly' local farms and more importantly they are passionate about the quality of their birds. You can easily find them at your local farmers market or butchers. When it comes to ingredients we always concentrate on buying high quality and local. The quality of our ingredients is paramount to us for our customers.
If I could give you any advice for this dish it would be to keep cooking the meat on a nice gentle simmer the whole way through. Get your meat from a reputable butcher; ask them to prepare it and cut it into pieces (you can also use the chicken legs if needed). This recipe will also work very well using Rosé veal or even lamb shoulder.
I hope you enjoy cooking this dish as much as I do.
One whole chicken on the bone cut into pieces
2 carrots peeled and cut into 4 pieces lengthways
3 onions peeled and cut in half
1 head of garlic peeled
1 bouquet garni
1 stick of celery
Sel & poivreto season
250g white mushrooms cut in half
20g plain flour
200ml whipping cream
600g Pink Fur apples (Carol's heritage potatoes)
Sprinkle of chervil (French parsley - optional)
1. Start the Blanquette by putting the meat into a large pot and fill with cold water as much as 2/3cm above the meat and add a good pinch of salt.
2. Once the water is boiling start skimming the top of the water. Reduce the heat but keep it at a gentle boil.
3. Add in carrots, onions, bouquet garni, leek, celery and garlic and simmer gently for about 1.5 hours whilst skimming the top of the water at all times, making sure the bouillon is clear.
4. To make the roux, mix the butter and flour with a wooden spoon. Once combined, put to the side.
5. Peel, wash and place your potatoes in cold water on the hob with a good pinch of salt. Once boiling, turn the heat off and place a lid on the pan, they will finish cooking on their own and won't split.
6. After 1.5 hours, check that your meat is tender but not falling apart. Take the meat out of the stock and place in a serving dish or a cast-iron pot and set aside.
7. Pour the stock through a sieve into a fresh saucepan and bring back to a gentle boil. Reduce by half and add in the washed and peeled mushrooms.
8. As the sauce is reducing add some of the roux and make sure you whisk it at all times. Keep adding the roux until it's thick enough and it covers the back of a spoon.
9. Add the whipping cream and cook for a further five minutes. Season to taste and put to the side.
10. Pour your sauce over the meat and simmer for a few minutes. Add in your potatoes and finish with a sprinkle of chervil to decorate your dish.
11. Best served with a light red wine like a pinot noir from Bourgogne