Sunday, March 2, 2014

What we learned in culinary school this week: Week 8 (Part 2)

Wednesday and Thursday we switched over to chicken. This is why we served Coq au Vin for the dinner. For the upcoming lunches and our last pop-up dinner, the menus will be based on whatever we worked on that week.

Chickens bred for food today have been engineered to grow quickly and are ready to eat at about 8 weeks. They have lightweight bones and large breasts (the most valuable part of the chicken).  "Mass produced" chickens started in the 1940's, so classic French chicken dishes are not based on these "Frankenbirds".

There are two ways to cook chicken: Dry (roasting, grilling, baking, frying, searing) and wet (braising, stewing and a combination of browning then adding liquid).

Antibiotics and growth hormones given to chickens are chemicals and do not cook out. Bacteria (such as salmonella) will cook out.

When buying chicken, you can keep it in the freezer for up to six weeks. Beyond that, the taste will be adversely affected. Defrost slowly in the fridge, not at room temperature. You will lose a lot of moisture if it defrosts too quickly.

You don't need a separate cutting board or harsh chemicals for cleaning after working with raw chicken. Just wash well with hot water and soap.

Chef cutting up (fabricating) a whole chicken:

Chicken dishes:

Roast chicken.

Fried chicken.

Coq au Vin.

Chicken and Morels in a Chablis Cream Sauce
in progress.

Plating the chicken before adding the cream sauce.

Plating completed. This dish was amazing.

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