Sunday, August 15, 2010

Last Day: Roasting

It's not thanksgiving yet but I am getting practice with the most minute version.
Poussins.. or very small chickens. I'd never cooked anything whole before and the only thing I had ever bought from the supermarket in one piece was Duck for a delicious portuguese duck rice.
At first, with the Poussin I didn't know what to do with it. Here's what the cute little thing looked like after I very generously rubbed it with truffle butter underneath it's skin....
and stuffed its cavity with aromatic ingredients such as garlic, bay leaf, thyme, salt and pepper.

It doesn't look glamorous but hey it tasted great!
then we tressed them which means tying up the meat so that the smaller parts cook just as evenly. Just make sure the meat isn't too too tight. Then brown it on all sides and stick it in the oven.
Roasting is DRY heat so the roasting pan must be low sided so that air can circulate. It's ideal to put the meat on a rack so liquid falls and allows the meat to dry. And also always cook meat uncovered, otherwise you cause steaming.
Meat should be roasted with its skin on and covered in fat such as butter. This conducts heat better so aids in cooking and ads to color and FLAVOR. Oil should be avoided for roasting because in high heat it turns bitter.
There are two ways of roasting. Low heat and slow, or high heat and fast. Less tender cuts need low and slow so they will become tender. For tender cuts we can use high and fast. Chicken can really go either way and it's a good idea to baste it often so it will not dry out.
Never wash meat before cooking as it dries out!

These beautiful mushrooms go with the roasted veal tenderloin. It's great to sautee vegetables and make a reduction in the pan used for browning the meat so don't throw it away when you're done with browning.
And if using hard liquor for cooking to add flavor.. always burn off the alcohol. it doesn't taste good in savoury foods, only desserts. A great way to do this is by flambeeing it off
Set fire to your pan and shake it till it dissapears. Then simmer the rest off. I was very afraid of doing this as you can tell, but after you do it once you realize how fun it is. The flame isn't going to burn you or your kitchen as long as you have an exhaust guard on top of your stove, so fire away!!

The same rule applies for roasting vegetables.. we want dry heat to circulate. Harder veggies like squash do take a long time so keep that in mind. These pan patty squashes took about 35 minutes.
Discard any super burnt brown bits when serving.
These veggies were all marinated for a while before cooking. It ads a complexity of flavors that you wouldn't be able to get otherwise.
Carving meat is another beast all in itself. For carving birds you want to cut off the legs first. Then the back bone which has no meat, and then cut right in half of the breast bone.
Carving the veal tenderloin is much easier..
You simply cut against the grain on a bias (angled diagonally) and taadaa. The mushrooms were placed uner the meat for the meat to stand out more.

And dinner is served...
And the Culinary bootcamp team waves goodbye...

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