mike kostyo

I know food.

day six - braising and stewing

Note: For six weeks, July 5 - August 11, I will be enrolled in the culinary arts cooking and pastry/baking certificate programs at Boston University. Cooking is Monday and Tuesday, baking is Wednesday and Thursday. We have to keep a daily journal of the experience, so I'll be blogging about the class every day.

That picture isn't the greatest, because the light was pretty dark and romantic, but it's actually a rich, glistening dish of coq au vin. It's a bit much, isn't it? That's the traditional way to serve coq au vin, apparently.

First we browned drumsticks and thighs that we broke down from our chickens the day prior that had been marinating in red wine overnight. They were Barney the Dinosaur purple. Then we sauteed some veggies and deglazed with the red wine marinade. We added the chicken back to the pan, along with some salt pork, garlic and herbs, and simmered for 45 minutes.

Cook cook cook, remove chicken, strain sauce, reduce, add beurre manie (flour and butter), thicken but not too much, set aside. In another pan cook some pearl onions and mushrooms and saute until golden brown, deglaze with chicken stock, set aside. In ANOTHER pan crisp the salt pork, which have been cut into lardons, until crisp, set aside.

Now is where we get very French. So, the traditional accompaniment is to take white bread, cut off the crusts, cut the square diagonally down the center and then trim two of the points on each one so you have a half-heart shape. Oh brother. "Also, if you could sculpt a simple landscape scene into the face of the bread, using your paring knife, that would ideal." Now you saute these in some butter (of course) in another pan (of course of course), dip the ends in stock and coat the ends with chopped parsley. 

Assemble with the chicken, sauce that has the deglazed onion/mushroom drippings added, the onions and mushrooms, toast points around the edges and lardons and parsley sprinkled on top. Nothing to it. Although, surprisingly, it wasn't that difficult or time-consuming. Somehow we made this, along with trout amandine and ratatouille, and still sat down to eat at about 9pm. 

Trout amandine could not be easier. I think we whipped it up in the first 15 minutes of class or so. Dredge trout in flour, saute in clarified butter, remove from pan, add butter and almonds, cook, add lemon juice, cook, pour over fish and serve. Ratatouille - simple as well! Cut a ridiculous amount of vegetables, add garlic, tomatoes, bay leaf, thyme and seasoning. Cook 30 minutes.

So, again with the butter and meat and sauce. So rich. Luckily we had two different wines to wash it down. Then I ran home to glaze and ice homemade hostess cupcakes until midnight. Very normal. Look for the recipe this weekend if I feel like putting it up.

Anyway, tonight we are back to baking: gougeres with bacon and Paris-Brest.