Potatoes Berrichone.

Can you believe I only have ONE more day of Classical French class?  It appears that I might actually survive!  It has actually turned out to be much better than I expected.  It is incredibly challenging, but I have learned invaluable information over these 8 days, and I really really like my teacher.

Today I was responsible or making Pommes de Terre Berrichone – potatoes braised with onions and bacon!  I started by simmering 1.5 quarts of chicken stock with a sachet of bay leaf, peppercorns, and thyme sprigs.

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While my stock simmered, we watched a demo for our sauté practicals, being held today and tomorrow.  Luckily I am going tomorrow so I have a little more time to prepare.  We have exactly 8 minutes to prep all of our mis en place, and then we are making a sautéed veal dish with cream sauce.  I’m nervous!

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So the coolest thing about the dish I made today was the creative way that my potatoes were shaped.  I used an apple corer, and stuck in up into one end of a red bliss potato…

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And then ran my paring knife all the way around the potato, so that it hit the metal of the corer on the inside.

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Then I stuck the plunger back in the bottom of the apple corer.  (No comment…)

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And pushed the plunger in so that the part I had cut around remained on the tube of the corer.  What did that leave me with?

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A mushroom shaped potato!  I thought these were too cute.  :)

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I made 30+ of these, and them moved on to my next shape…

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Mini potato balls, scooped out with a parisienne scoop – otherwise known as a melon baller.

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I actually had my friend Jeff help me scoop these while I was sautéing my onions and bacon, and somehow he managed to snap the neck off of not one but TWO different melon ballers!  I told him to lay off the steroids.  :)

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So like I said, while Jeff was busy breaking my utensils, I was over at the stovetop rendering 12 ounces of bacon.

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When my bacon was crispy, I took it out of the pan and sautéed
my onions in the bacon fat until they were golden brown.

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Last step was to mix it all back together and add in my chicken stock.  I brought it all up to a simmer…

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And poured it over my potatoes in two separate hotel pans.  Popped these babies in the oven for an hour, until they were tender and browned on top!

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Afterwards I took all of the scraps and chopped them up – then braised them in the leftover bacon/onion liquid for our classroom lunch.

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With a little extra time on my hands, I decided to go ahead and get a little bit of prep done for tomorrow, when I’m making Salad Nicoise.  I hard boiled and peeled some eggs, and I am hoping and praying that they are still waiting there for me tomorrow morning!

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Other culinary creations from around the classroom – cauliflower balls topped with cheesy mornay sauce…

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Seared tuna steaks with a basil oil sauce.  (I’m making tuna tomorrow!)

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A beautiful salad constructed in a peeled tomato with balsamic and oil garnish, and a creamy gorgonzola dressing…

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Puff Pastry with chicken breast that is stuffed with MORE chicken on the inside – gulp. 

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And a beautiful entree plate presentation – rice pilaf wrapped in zucchini with an aubergine stew and a piece of seared tuna.  Yum!2010-05-05 035 (640x472)

Now I’m off to Panera to meet my study group to get ready for tomorrow morning’s final exam.  Just ONE more thing to conquer before I can finally have my first weekend at home in three weeks.  There’s a light at the end of the tunnel…