The meat used can be fish, lamb, poultry, rabbit or veal. It will be cut into largish pieces, and cooked in water with some seasoning or a light-coloured stock, to prevent the meat from browning.
At the end of cooking, the broth is turned into a white sauce with the addition of butter, cream, egg yolks and flour. If the meat or fish being used doesn’t make enough broth on its own for the white sauce, then a stock such as chicken or veal might be used.
The most well-known version of Blanquette is Blanquette de veau (veal Blanquette.)
As it is a stew after all, Blanquette de veau draws on cheaper cuts of veal such as shoulder or breast..
After simmering the meat in water, that simmering water is discarded. A new stock is made, with the meat in it, along with flavouring vegetables such as carrot, celery, leek, onion and parsley, and enough fresh water to cover. This mixture is simmered for about 45 minutes. It is then strainged, with the simmering vegetables being discarded, and the broth and the meat retained. A white sauce is made by adding a roux to the broth. Egg yolk and 1 or 2 tablespoons of crème fraîche can be added as well to make it richer.
A new and final assembly is then made of the white sauce, meat pieces, sautéed white mushroom slices, and small onions that were poached separately.
Often lemon juice is added to the sauce just before serving.
It is served with something like rice, pasta or potatoes.
A Blanquette is different from a fricassée in that in a fricassée, the meat is first cooked in a fat, browning it lightly.
Some cooks advise to cube the meat and soak it in a bowl of water overnight in the fridge. A lot of remaining blood in it will leech out into the water (which you discard.) This would have coloured your broth.
If you wish to reduce fat in the recipe, before you make the white sauce, put the broth into the fridge overnight to allow all the fat to rise to the top, then the next day scoop it off and continue. Then of course one makes up for the missing fat with the roux, egg and cream.
“Blanc” in French means “white.”