Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Now we're cooking! Roasting, to be precise

Seven are the techniques of Le Cuisine Francais, and today we began learning them intimately -- their names in both English and French, how and why they differ from one another and their special uses in the kitchen, and, most important, how to do them.

"It is important to know all seven cooking techniques," Chef Tony Marano said by way of introducing four days' worth of lessons and demonstrations. "It's what we do. It's what makes us chefs."

It's what will make us chefs, too, was my thought as we all eagerly made notes on the seven techniques:
Rôtir          Roasting
Griller        Grilling
Sauter        Sautéing
Frire          Deep frying
Pocher       Pocher
Braiser       Braising
Pôeler        No direct translation
Chef Tony demonstrated roasting, first with marque en cuisson -- prepare for cooking -- of a whole chicken. He trimmed the wings, removed the wishbone, seasoned and trussed the bird. The trussing technique he showed us is relatively simple and goes a great way toward ensuring evenness in cooking. He then seared it on the stovetop, then put it in a roasting pan -- meaning on a rack and open -- and put it in a preheated oven, for 45 minutes.

Roasting is used primarily for large meats that are somewhat tender, such as chicken, filet mignon and beef tenderloin.

Pôeler was next. Chef described it as a technique similar to roasting, but instead of being in a dry atmosphere, it is in a moist one, with a lid on the roasting pan and an aim to retain as much moisture as possible in the cooking. It is best used for duck and goose, he said.

Here's the best part of the day's lesson: When the chicken was roasted, Chef Tony carved, and we all ate. Moist and delicious!

What's on Wednesday's menu, Chef Tony?

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