Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Mixte Emotions

Monday night, we began Level II and started learning about marinades and how they can tenderize and flavor meats. There are two types of marinades, cooked and uncooked. Cooked marinades are used when you are marinating foods for longer periods of time (uncooked vegetables in the marinade would start to ferment if left for too long).

We tackled two recipes: Navarin Printanier d’Agneau (Lamb Stew with Spring Vegetables) and Poulet Braisé au Vin Rouge (Chicken Braised with Red Wine). The term navarin refers to lamb stew and is mixte cooking using both the concentration method by searing the meat in a sauté pan then cooking it in a liquid – the extraction method.

My cooking partner and I prepped our Printanier of vegetables (turnips, carrots, pearl onions, string beans, and peas) by cooking some of them with a buttery glaze.

The lamb cooked in a covered pot in the oven for about an hour. At the end of the cooking time, we removed the lamb, degreased the liquid, strained the mirepoix from the cooking liquid and we began reducing the sauce. We finished the sauce with a beurre manié (room temperature butter mixed with all purpose flour) to give the sauce more body and texture). We plated as Chef loomed nearby – he was waiting for four exact plates to be presented. We did a good job on the dish, but Chef critiqued us by saying the plates could have been hotter. Chef bellowed,
“Hot food, hot plates!”

Our chicken had been marinating for two days and the chicken took on a purple hue from the red wine marinade. We prepared the chicken in a very similar way, searing it then cooking it in stock covered on top of the stove for about 30 to 40 minutes.
Note: if you plan to use your marinade as a finishing sauce, you must bring it to a boil to ensure it is free from bacteria, the chicken marinade is a veritable pool of salmonella!

We prepared spätzle to accompany our chicken dish, we each made our own dough and Chef demonstrated how to cook it – we combined all of our spätzle dough and cooked it together in one huge pot of boiling water.

We sliced the cooked chicken, degreased the sauce, strained it and reduced it a little to concentrate the flavor. We place the chicken back into the sauce, heated our serving plates and presented our final four plates to Chef. He said it was beautifully presented, and the sauce was the best he had that night. A job well done.

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