Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Culinary Class: Sauteed Chicken Breast and Vegetables

In my culinary class, we are starting to work our way through the dry cooking methods. Last week was grilling, this week was sauteing. Saute comes from the French for 'jump', referring to the tossing of the food often done with this technique. Sauteing involves frying items over direct heat in just a little fat. With small items, the cook will often jerk the pan in rhythmic pattern to cause the pieces to jump out of, and back into the pan.

We started the class by doing the prep work for some other class, dicing a lot of carrots, parsnips, rutabagas, tomatoes, onions, and parsley. This was to practice our knife skills. As a computer geek, I immediately thought of it as distributed processing.

We then cut up the vegetables for our side dish. Onion, carrot, celery, two kinds of squash

After that, we broke down the chickens that we are using this week, and next. We saved the leg quarters for next week, and used the boneless, skinless breasts, and tenderloins this week. We sliced the breasts into pieces the same size as the tenderloins, and pounded them all flat between two pieces of plastic wrap.

We then breaded the chicken in the classic method. That involves dredging the chicken pieces in seasoned flour, then in egg, then again in seasoned flour.

We cooked the chicken in a little oil in a very hot pan. They cooked rapidly, about one minute per side. We then made a wine sauce to go with. After the chicken was removed, we drained the excess oil, then added garlic and onion to the pan. We cooked that for just a minute, then de-glaze the pan with a little white wine. We added some chicken stock, then let it come to a boil. We let it reduce a little, We then added some minced parsley, and returned the chicken to the pan. We let that cook a minute to re-warm the chicken.

I liked this. The chicken  was very tender. The wine sauce complimented the chicken very well.

We also sauteed the vegetables. The mirepoix (carrots, celery, and onions) was cooked first, then the squash. They were finished with a little parsley. They came out very nice, tender but not mushy.

Still working on real basic stuff, but at least the pace is picking up. We were kept moving until almost ten.

Wine sauce recipe courtesy of Chef Joe Orate.

Chef Joe's White Wine Sauce

1/4 onion, minced
1 Tbsp. minced garlic
3 oz by vol. white wine
1 pint chicken stock
4 oz by wt. butter, softened
1/2 cup minced parsley.

When finished sauteing meat, drain excess oil. Add onion and garlic to pan. Cook about one minute. Add wine to de-glaze the pan. Add stock. Bring back to a boil. Let reduce for a couple of minutes. Add butter, allow to melt. Add parsley. Cook briefly, then remove from heat and serve.

Happy eating!

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