Monday, April 24, 2006

Duck, Duck, Chicken

Or rather that should be Duck, Chicken, Chicken, Sirloin Tip Roast.

Aaaah, finally, we get to the meat of this class. Today, we learned to truss and roast a chicken, truss and poele a chicken (poele means "butter roast, and what the heck doesn't taste better with butter, I ask you?!), and truss and roast a duck.

Whole lotta bondage going on in the kitchen today.

Chef also demonstrated the difference between "larding" and "barding." (And, no, Shakespeare was nowhere in sight.) "Larding" involves placing thin slivers of fat inside the meat. As an example, he used a sirloin tip roast, which is a leaner cut of meat. He took chunks of cold beef fat and cut them into sticks of sorts (say "batonne" in your best Inspector Clouseau accent) . Then, he got out some evil looking bits of metal called "larding needles."

Pretty evil looking, isn't it? The technique is to place a piece of the fat in the pincer ends, jab the pointed end through the meat, and pull through, leaving the fat behind. Larding is used for meats that tend to dry out during roasting and adds moisture and flavor to the meat. He did about 4 chunks in the 4-pound roast.

Next, he took some thinly sliced pieces of beef fat and laid them out on plastic wrap, overlapping them. He put more plastic wrap on top and started smacking them to make them adhere to each other and form a sort of fat "blanket" or pashimina if you prefer...kinda like that fat blanket that encircles my midsection. He placed the fat pashimina around the roast (this is the "barding" part in case you haven't figured that out yet) and sort of molds it in place. He then trusses up the roast and declares it ready to be roasted.

The chickens and ol' Daffy were prepared pretty simply--a few herbs in the body cavity, some salt and pepper, a little oil on the outside of the roasting chicken and duck and away we go. Well, okay a few more details. For the roasted chicken, he put it on a bed of mirepoix (which is a mixture of diced onion, carrots, and celery...won't bore you with ratios or anything like that unless you really want to know) in a saute pan with a little butter or oil in the bottom. This will give more flavor to the chicken and also add some body to the pan gravy that should accompany it.

The duck was tied up and thrown on a rack and put in the oven...sounds sort of like The Inquisition, doesn't it? He made a truly lovely raspberry sauce to go with this duck that was just yum. (I've run out of good adjectives today.) It was savory and not too sweet, but really had the flavor and essence of the fresh raspberries. I had never been a big duck fan before, but this really did light up my taste buds.

Ooh, and the poele thing was pretty divine, too. You put it in a pot, pour melted clarified butter over it and throw it in the oven, basting it with butter every so often. There are some reasons to truly love the French!

This evening, on the way home from Dining Room, I thought I would just grab a chicken and replicate part of today's lesson, which is also part of our practical final. I swoop into Publix, and they were out of whole chickens. Out. Of. Chickens. It must have been National Beer Can Chicken Weekend or something, because the butcher guy said they were totally wiped out by early Sunday afternoon. Whodathunkit?

Instead, I am doing a little experiment in kitchen terror on my own. SuperSupers has a braided bread entree that changes every month, and this month's is some sort of Chicken Florentine one, with ham, chicken, spinach, and white sauce, which has not really been appealing to me. But, I really dig making the braided bread. So, as I wandered through the deli section in the Publix, I spy their fresh pizza dough in the refrigerated case. Self, I says, I think you can use that to make a braided bread and put some sort of yummy pepperoni and Eyetalian sausage inside, with a few mushrooms and a ton of cheese. I totally agree with myself and snag up two balls.

It's in the oven now and I need to check on it...I'm a bit apprehensive, because the bread dough we use at the store really is bread dough and not pizza dough, so this may or may not turn out. Hmmmm...did you ever see the episode of "I Love Lucy" where the girls get jobs and the guys cook? And the loaf of bread that just keeps coming and coming and coming out of the oven? Well, that's just TV for ya! The loaves look okay--a bit puffier than I expected, but what do you expect? Baking 101 is next quarter!


Erin said...


Reading your blog always makes me hungry.

I made calzones last night, sound fairly similar to your braided bread, but easier! Just out of curiousity, how does one braid bread? Like hair, or differently?

Poodlebugz said...

It's kind of the hair and the calzone. You roll out your dough into an oblong. Put the filling in a line down the middle, then take a dough cutter/scraper and make slits down both sides, making roughly the same number of slits. You want to leave the dough whole around the "head" and "feet" of the of my co-workers at SS has this baby analogy that helps you remember how to put it together. You take the flap of dough at the bottom and "tuck the baby's feet in." Then, you tuck in the "head." Starting back at the bottom, alternately criss cross/braid the dough up the baby. Then, I brush it with oil and sprinkle with a little salt. It was like a giant calzone, and it was pretty good, if I do say so myself. : )

Erin said...

Sounds good. Thanks for the directions - I think I'll try it sometime soon!

Belinda said...

I would like a picture tutorial of the braided bread thing. Seriously. I'm not kidding. I've made a tri-color braided bread a few times, but I can't reconcile that with the filling.

You know, nothing makes my husband happier to come to the table and find than a whole roasted chicken, and it's like the easiest thing in the world to cook. Why don't I do it more often? And all he wants with it are chunks of roasted sweet potato, yukon gold potato, and onion and tons of garlic, salt, and pepper. Seriously--why do I angst myself?

Jessie said...

That whole making-a-mesh-of-fat thing is really intriguing! I've seen on TV where they wrap food in a mesh of suet--sounds gross when you say it that way, but man, I bet it's good.

I hate celery, so I usually make mirepoix (how do you spell it?) with zucchini. I know it's not right, but I like it...