Lesson 30: Roasting for the holidays

Thursday, December 24, 2009

First, I would like to mention how much I hate NJ Transit.  Today's commute was awful!!  After getting dropped off in Newark and taking the path trains to school, I miraculously got to the kitchen at exactly 1:00.  (But felt unprepared without my cutting board set up and knives sharpened)..

What better way to spend the last class before Christmas than a lesson on classical roasting??  Today was such a comfort food day, which put everybody in the best of spirits.  First up on the menu: Roast Rack of Lamb Persillade.  We began by trimming and frenching a total of 7 1/2 racks.  After searing them off on the stove, we rubbed them with dijon mustard and coated them in the persillade mixture (bread crumbs, olive oil, roasted garlic, thyme, parsley).  We roasted them in the convection oven until they were cooked medium rare.

We also made a classical Roast Chicken with Pan Gravy.  MMM was this chicken juicy and tasty!  We rubbed leftover compound butter from yesterday under the skins of the breasts and stuffed the cavity with a quartered lemon, garlic cloves, and rosemary sprigs.  We seasoned the chickens with olive oil and salt and put them on a roasting rack with water underneath.  About half way through the cooking process, we added mirepoix to the pan.  We took the chicken out when the internal temp reached 175.

After the chicken was done and resting, we made a pan gravy with the drippings from the pan and the addition of chicken stock and flour for thickening.  After a little salt for seasoning and straining off the gravy, it was the perfect touch for the juicy chicken.

I personally loved making the side dishes, which consisted of Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Orange & Sage, Roasted Fingerling Potatoes, and Roasted Beets.

The sweet potatoes were tossed with clarified butter, salt & pepper, and roasted in the conventional oven on 375.  When they were almost done cooking, we added the chopped sage leaves and blanched orange zest.  The flavors were unbelievable.

The fingerlings were tossed with olive oil, salt, pepper, whole garlic cloves, and a few rosemary and thyme sprigs.  They were roasted beside the sweet potatoes in the conventional oven.  We sprinkled on minced rosemary and thyme when they came out of the oven..mmm

The beets were boiled before we took the skin off, chopped them, and tossed them with evoo, balsamic, salt, pepper, and rosemary.  The only beets I have ever had were the roasted golden beets in the Whole Foods salad bar.  Beets are pretty good!  I tried them before they were roasted and they were very sweet, but I didn't really like the texture.  After they are roasted, they are excellent.  Roasting really brings out flavor!

Here's our rack of lamb all cut up:
Our delicious chicken:

After this festive meal, we were all ready for the holidays!  It's going to be a while until we meet back up in the kitchen to continue our lesson on roasting!!  So, we all said our goodbye's and I power-walked to Penn station to catch the train so I could make it to dinner with my best friends from home.  Unfortunately I had no luck with trains yesterday.  Apparently another train was stuck in the tunnel so I got to Matawan an hour and a half later than I was supposed to :(    Thank goodness I don't have to take the train for another 2 weeks..What a nightmare.

I hope everybody has a lovely Christmas!! I will be posting some more holiday recipes and restaurant reviews over the next few days (tonight we will be going to one of my favorite restaurants: Bistro Ole).    

Happy Holidays!!


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