Day 60: Sausage, Poulet Basquaise, & Chocolate Mousse
Today was another busy day in the kitchen! I still can’t believe we are already nearly a month into Phase II. These next two months are going to fly by and before I know it, I will be starting my externship (ahh!).
Our first course today was seafood sausage served with homemade pasta and cream sauce. Since we got ahead of the game and made our sausage yesterday, the biggest thing on the agenda was making the pasta. Instead of making it by hand, as we did in Phase I, we learned to make the dough with a food processor. It definitely sped things up!
To go with our pasta, we made a cream sauce by sautéing leeks, adding chopped scallops (for extra seafood flavor), a little bit of dry Vermouth, and then adding in a lot of cream. We also added in a small amount of lemon juice for a bit of acid. Strained and served with finely chopped chives. Our sausages were seared in some clarified butter. Funnily enough, I actually distinctly remember eating this dish during one of my visits to the school when I was still thinking of applying! Crazy to think that I am now the culinary student making it…
Our main dish was poulet basquaise, which is a very comforting stew made with onions, bell peppers, chopped tomato, and garlic. We added in Espagnol (fortified highly reduced veal stock) and chicken stock to make it extra flavorful.
On the side, we made simple sautéed spinach and pommes macaire. Every day we learn another new potato dish, I can’t help but wonder how many could possibly be left?? That is probably a dumb question, because there are probably a zillion more. It is pretty amazing how many things you can do with a potato though…
Pommes Macaire is made by baking potatoes, taking out the inside of the potato and mashing it with a fork and a bit of butter. Then this all gets fitted into a small cake pan and baked again until it is golden brown. Basically, a potato cake! We cut it into wedges to serve.
For dessert, we made chocolate mousse served in a tulip cookie (which are tricky to do nicely!). Unlike the chocolate mousse we made in Phase I, this one was made by putting together Italian meringue (cooking sugar to soft-ball stage and pouring it slowly into whisked egg whites) and folding in melted chocolate, as well as a bit of whipped cream.
This technique makes it a lot fluffier and lighter! To garnish, we added a bit of shaved chocolate and powdered sugar. Pretty straight-forward. The trickiest part is cooking the sugar to the right consistency.
Tomorrow afternoon, we will be taking our fourth theory exam (which is basically 50 questions based on lecture notes, techniques, dishes, butchery cuts). The following day, Friday, we will be taking our practical exam. I am glad to get a bit of a break between the two, as opposed to having them back-to-back as we did in Phase I.
Off to study!