Actually, the dish should be “veau” a la crème in proper French. What is meant in the play is probably a blanquette de veau, a ragout cooked in a white stock or water with aromatic flavorings. Neither the veal nor the butter is browned in the cooking process when cooking en blanquette.
However, I found and adapted an alternate version of Veau a la crème using veal tournedos (small fillets usually cut from the tip of the tenderloin), and I decided to try that out instead. The tournedos are seared briefly and finished in the oven.
This was deeee-lish! The veal and pancetta went together splendidly. Also, this was really quite easy to put together. I would probably cook this every week, if veal and pancetta weren’t so pricey. I can imagine that this recipe could probably also work well using another sort of tender meat, such as a turkey breast fillet.
- 500 g. (1 lb.) veal tenderloin, cut crosswise into 4 equal pieces (tournedos)
- salt and pepper
- 100 g. (3.5 oz) grated Gruyère cheese
- 4 slices pancetta arrollata (rolled pancetta), bacon, or Canadian bacon
- 1 Tbsp. unsalted butter
- 120 g. (1/2 cup) crème fraîche
- Preheat oven to 220 °C (430°F).
- Wash, and pat veal dry. Season with salt and pepper. Put aside to come to room temperature.
- Cook pancetta in an ovenproof heavy skillet or cast iron pan over moderately high heat, turning once, until lightly browned, about 2 minutes total, and transfer to a plate. (Do not clean skillet.)
- Heat butter in skillet over moderately high heat, then sauté tournedos until browned, about 4 minutes total. (Veal will be only partially cooked.)
- Remove skillet from heat and put a slice of bacon, then a heaping Tbsp. of the cheese, and a heaping Tbsp. crème fraîche, on each tournedo. Add the remainder of the cheese and crème fraîche to the pan.
- Roast in middle of oven, uncovered, until cheese begins to melt, 8 to 10 minutes. (Veal should be slightly pink inside.)
- Transfer tournedos to plates and keep warm.
- Whisk pan juices until blended, season with salt and pepper, then divide among plates.