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Blanquette with pâté croutes

The classic blanquette is a stew of poultry, veal or pork in a rich white sauce. In this contemporary version, tender vegetables in a creamy sauce are partnered by savoury chicken liver croutes, which add a contrast of crunch to the moist casserole.

Blanquette with pt croutes

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 leeks, white part only, thickly sliced
  • 12 baby onions, peeled
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tablespoons plain flour
  • 2 cups (500 ml) chicken stock
  • 150 ml dry white wine
  • 500 g new potatoes
  • 500 g small button mushrooms
  • 1 can whole peeled chestnuts, about 240 g, drained, or 240 g cooked chestnuts (optional)
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 tablespoons pouring cream
  • pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
  • fresh tarragon to garnish
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 short baguette, cut into 12 slices
  • 1 French shallot, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 slices lean bacon, rind removed, finely chopped
  • 200 g chicken livers, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh tarragon
  • ⅓ cup (20 g) chopped fresh parsley
  • grated zest of ½ lemon
  • 1 teaspoon tomato paste
  • 2 tomatoes, peeled, seeded and diced

Preparation

  1. For the blanquette, heat the oil in a flameproof casserole dish.
  2. Add the leeks, onions and bay leaves, stir well and cover.
  3. Cook over a gentle heat for 5 minutes or until the leeks are softened slightly and the bay leaves are aromatic.
  4. Sprinkle the flour over the leek mixture, then gradually stir in the stock and wine.
  5. Halve any large potatoes and add with the mushrooms and chestnuts, if using.
  6. Bring to the boil.
  7. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 15–20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  8. Meanwhile, make the chicken liver croutes.
  9. Using 1 tablespoon of the oil, brush the slices of baguette lightly on both sides.
  10. Heat a non–stick frying pan and brown the bread lightly on both sides. You may have to do this in batches.
  11. Transfer the slices to a baking tray or flameproof dish.
  12. Preheat the grill on a low setting.
  13. Heat the remaining oil in the pan.
  14. Add the shallot and garlic and cook for 2–3 minutes or until softened.
  15. Add the bacon and chicken livers and cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
  16. Stir in the tarragon, parsley, lemon zest, tomato paste and diced tomatoes.
  17. Spoon the mixture and any cooking juices onto the bread, pressing it down gently.
  18. Turn the grill off and place the croutes in the grill compartment to keep hot.
  19. In a small bowl, beat the egg yolk with the cream until thoroughly combined.
  20. Stir in 2–3 spoonfuls of the hot cooking liquid from the blanquette, then add the mixture to the pan.
  21. Heat gently, stirring, for 30 seconds.
  22. Do not allow the sauce to boil or it will curdle.
  23. Add the nutmeg and remove from the heat.
  24. Discard the bay leaves.
  25. Ladle the blanquette onto plates or into shallow bowls, garnish with tarragon and serve hot, with the croutes.

Serves 4
Preparation: 20 minutes
Cooking: about 30 minutes

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