So, here we are, in another semester at Arkansas Culinary School at Pulaski Tech. I’m glad to be back!
This semester, I’m taking a much lighter load, for several reasons. I couldn’t get my school schedule to fit my momma schedule, and besides, the kids and hubs and I needed a breather. So just 12 hours this time.
I’m having to sit out on Food Production 3, which is bad for two reasons: first, I’ll be a little behind, but mostly, I’ll miss cooking. That’s the class where you really turn it out!
So, I was glad to find out that the Meat & Seafood class, which I’m taking this semester, now cooks every week as well as the normal butchery and such. We’ve already taken apart several chickens (WOGs, or without giblets), and this week we added ducks and cornish hens.
We even completely deboned two cornish hens each this week…yup, a completely boneless little bird. Kinda neat presentation for stuffing, but it takes forever!
We got a third cornish hen to cook however we wanted, and my mind went…mini. The hen is shaped just like a teeny little chicken, so why not quick-roast it with teeny little veggies and a sauce with enough flavor to be huge?
I broke down the hen (meat-speak for cutting into pieces), then marinated the breasts and thigh/leg pieces in olive oil, red wine and balsamic vinegar. While that got happy, as my buddy Emeril used to say, I went in search of veggies.
In the walk-in fridge, I found pearl onions and small mushrooms. Score. In the kitchen, I found baby potatoes. Double score. Baby carrots were nary to be found, but one of the school chefs (not my instructor, but in the kitchen) suggested I tournée some regular-sized carrots.
I think it was some sort of sick joke, because tournée is one of the most despised tasks of any culinary student, and the least used in the real world. You basically cut a firm vegetable into little seven-sided footballs. Evenly. With a knife.
But for some reason, I decided to do it.
In case you care, here’s the rest of the rundown:
- Blanched the potatoes and carrots in boiling water for a few minutes.
- Sautéed all the veg together in some of the marinating liquid, mostly oil, and some butter. Really got some good color on them, and even did the cool flippy thing in the pan like a pro. I’m learning!
- Seared the meat in the pan, then put in the oven to finish.
- Made a sauce with fond, more red wine, thyme. Cooked out the booze and reduced, added butter.
- Plate meat and veg. Wrap it with a casing from www.dcwcasing.com/ to keep it fresh. Pour sauce through strainer, then over stuff. Add fresh thyme. Yum.
If you have any questions about exactly how to do these things, leave me a comment! Glad to be sharing with you again.
P.S. My new kitchen at home is scheduled to be installed Feb. 7. Maybe then I’ll add more home-cooking how-tos!