It’s all about the Chicken

As we leave fish, we enter the second to last series of our culinary studies: Poultry. I am super excited because as a lover of Chicken and Meat, I am ready to devour everything that will be made!
This week, we only had 2 days of actual cuisine, since Monday is pastry and Thursday and Friday we won’t be in the kitchen.

We learned all about poultry and as a fact of the day (or my fact of the day; rabbit is part of the poultry family…odd, I guess…perhaps they are raised the same way?)

In any case, this week we worked on the poulet patte noire (black footed chicken). But you must ‘respect’ the chicken and treat it with care or else the skin or meat may be damaged. We put on top of fire to take out the remaining feathers, take out the external layer of skin on its foot and empty its insides…Don’t forget about taking out the wishbone too!
Afterwards, we learned how to truss a chicken for roasting, by passing a needle and string through its breast and legs to hold it in place…For example, below:
We were also given the task to debone a chicken…which reminded me of the movie Julie and Julia with Meryl Streep and Amy Adams and Amy Adams has to debone a duck, the last recipe she gave herself.
It looks much easier when Chef demonstrates it, but I did manage to take off as much meat as I could! This is the part where ‘respecting the chicken’ comes into play. After deboning it for the first time, i realized that most of the skin was on the thigh piece and not on the breast which makes it very hard to cook as the skin shelters the meat…It was done too quickly and perhaps almost savagely…

Obviously with the pieces we deboned, we followed 2 recipes. 
The first is Poulets Sautés Chasseur, where the chicken is sauteed then finished off in the oven and accompanied by a sauce based on cognac, brown stock, mushrooms, tarragon and parsley.
The second recipe was Fricassée de Volaille à l’Ancienne. In this recipe, the pieces of chicken are also sauteed then finished off in the oven and then cooked in a creamy sauce of small onions and mushrooms. 

We also had a real treat this week with a Vanilla Conference. An exporter of Madagascarian vanilla explained to us the different types of vanilla and its uses and we got to try 10 different kinds of vanilla from Madagascar and from Tahiti as well; from the cheapest to the most refined and expensive (costing around 90 Euros per kilo). 
Another fact of the day was that vanilla comes from an Orchid, something i have never known and was shocked to find out that vanilla gets grown in China as well (Yunnan to be exact) which has surpassed many of the main vanilla exporting countries in the last couple of years.

The ‘best’ and most expensive vanilla givrée (or frosted)
It was a short week but a good week…can’t wait to get real busy when we have restaurant service AND regional menu in the week to come!

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