I love the nights that we get to cook in class. But, wow, tonight kicked my butt, and I am pooped! But it was fun and I am definitely happy with how my dishes turned out. It's poultry week, so as we did chicken the other night, we are now on to duck and turkey.
Last night we prepped our mise for tonight's dishes, and we learned that our ducks did not arrive, (seems to be a common theme lately). So we were not able to butcher the whole duck last night (yay!). But that just means we have to do it tomorrow (boo!). So tonight we had pre-cut duck breasts, and we will use our own butchered ducks on Monday for a Duck Confit. Which actually works out well because the duck will get to marinate over the weekend.
If you are not familiar with Duck Confit, it means that the duck is cooked in it's own fat. And it's usually the duck leg. I am curious to see how this goes. We have cooked a duck breast with using some additional duck fat, (we had this big container full of pure duck fat, it was nasty!), so we are somewhat familiar.
Ok enough about the duck fat. Tonight, our two poultry dishes were: Plate 1 - Turkey Scaloppine, with Pan Sauce, Potato Croquettes, and Mixed Green Salad with a Mustard Vinaigrette. And Plate 2 - Pan Seared Duck Breast with Rice Pilaf and Bigarade Sauce.
I really enjoyed a few aspects of both these dishes, first the Turkey Pan Sauce called for shitake mushrooms, yum! And those potato croquettes....basically fried mashed potatoes, um, yes please!!!! And on the duck dish, we incorporated white rice and mirepoix with wild rice (thanks to Chef Dan for making us the wild rice), and that Bigarade sauce was kind of awesome. It is started out as a Gastrique (a reduction of sugar and vinegar), and then we added veal stock (which should have been demi but I did not have enough time to reduce the stock down enough to be a demi), and then added some orange juice and zest, and voila - Bigarade Sauce. A sweet and sour yummy goodness.
Also, tonight we had a nice little surprise in store for us.....I had once overheard a chef instructor talking to a student about the "Perfect Attendance" pin and recognition. And I have since kind of wondered about what that was, because I have had perfect attendance thus far. Well tonight I learned what that was. About 10 minutes into our cooking, one of the chef instructors walked into our kitchen and asked us all for our attention. I took my pan of oil off the heat and set that aside. The chef went on to say that every 12 weeks they like to recognize those students who have had perfect attendance, and also those students who have held a GPA of 3.5 or higher. So tonight I was honored with not only the Perfect Attendance pin, but also the Academic pin. Yay for me!