Tuesday, September 22, 2009

butchery trifecta.

as much as i hate being unemployed right now, it does give me time to cook. a lot.

some of you may know that last saturday i took a complementary butchery class offered to the public by my culinary school.  they allow future students to get their knives wet without having to pay the ninety something dollars it costs to take the class.

it was awesome. even better, i got to take my killings home. two chickens, two beef sirloin steaks, and one pork loin. did i mention this was complimentary?

so, today i decided to attack a couple of the proteins before it all goes bad.  (funny enough, i've been feeling a little anemic lately from all the veggies i've been eating here, so meat = good.)

chicken stock:
left over chicken bones, bits, pieces, etc. (i had two chicken carcasses)
2 carrot, rough chopped, unpeeled
3 celery stalks, rough chopped
1 onion, rough  chopped
1 head of garlic, smashed, unpeeled
3 bay leaves
6 sprigs of fresh thyme
8-10 peppercorns
cold water
salt and pepper

i started the day by attacking the left over bones from the chickens i butchered and made a stock. now, mine were raw, but roasting in them in the oven is even better. i was feeling a little impatient already so i threw it in the pot. both methods are fine.  basically, chop everything up in big chunks (it doesn't have to be pretty because it's all getting drained anyway), and throw everything (sprigs and all!) into a big pot filled with cold water that just covers the chicken by a couple of inches. set it to high, let it come to a boil and then turn it down to simmer for at least 3-4 hours.  fat and other impurities will float up to the surface initially so make sure to skim it off (you can use a big spoon).  add salt and pepper to taste when it's almost done. you'll probaby end up adding quite a bit of salt. strain it and discard the solids (or put it in your compost pile!). after you let it cool, you can freeze it if you want to save some for later!

coq au vin:

ok. now, for the actual chicken. (remember i've got a lot of time on my hands.)  i decided to make coq au vin.  not the quick version, but the really complicated classic french style (oui! oui!). it's still not finished in fact. for this, i am going to link you to the recipe on epicurious because it's just way too long and it's not my recipe. but for your enjoyment, i will at least explain the marinating process.


you will need:
1 chicken; 2 wings, 2 thighs, 2 breasts, 2 drumsticks (skin and all)
1 bottle of pinot noir or brandy (i used pinot)
1 large carrot, sliced 
2 celery stalks,sliced
1 onion, sliced
3 cloves of garlic ( it says one but i love garlic so i used more)

so throw all the goodies (except chicken) in a pot and bring it up to a boil. when it comes up to a boil, turn it down to medium and let it simmer. it says 5 minutes, but i think the longer you let it simmer the better it tastes so i went with around 10 minutes (so rebelious!).  once it cools, throw the chicken in and let it sit for a day or two in the fridge.  here's what it currently looks like:

you'll have to wait till tomorrow to see how this turns out.

stuffed pork loin:
1 pork loin*
gorgonzola cheese
pine nuts, toasted
1/4 cup crimini mushrooms, sliced
1/4 cup onion,diced
salt and pepper

* the pork loin needs to be cut in a way that you can roll it. the best way to do this is to place your hand on the top of the pork loin and then use a sharp knife and cut it lengthwise 1/3 of the way up from the bottom without piercing through the other side. now you should have pocket looking thing but with the top have larger than the bottom. now cut the top half in half from the inside of the fold without piercing through. it should lay thin and flat now. ( if you cut through on accident, it's fine.)

i realize i should have done a video for that last one. if i get my hands on another pork loin, i'll definitely video it!

now for the fun part. preheat oven to 450 F. saute the mushrooms and onions in some oil.  put aside. place the basil on the opened piece of loin, then the mushroom mix on that, then cheese, then nut. roll the sucker up and tie it with some twine. i actually used thread because i couldn't find any.  i did the fancy tie tecnique but you can simply cut 4 or 5, 6 inch pieces of string (depending on the size of the loin) and tie them around the stuffed loin so it doesn't fall apart when cooking.  sprinkle salt and pepper on both sides and then throw it in the oven.

important note! you can either a) throw it into the hot oven for a few minutes (no longer) to get the outside nice and toasty and then turn it down to 350 for another 8-10 minutes so that it cooks evenly OR b) sear the outside of it in a hot pan to get some color on all the sides and then throw it in the oven for 8-10 min at 350F.  it all depends on how big your pork loin is. mine fit into a frying pan so i chose option b. if it is a big one then you probably don't have a big enough pan and should choose option a.  also. if it is big you will probably need more than 10 minutes (like 15-20).

anyway, a thermometer is your best bet to get it perfect. if you have one, make sure the internal temp gets to 140F. that means pull it off the heat around 5 degrees before. have a glass of wine and let it rest for 5-10 minutes and then cut into it! (don't forget to remove the strings!)

wow, that was a long entry. see how much you can get done in a day by playing hookie from work?