Monday, October 18, 2010

Day 16

We have a guest instructor with us all week from the Canadian Le Cordon Bleu campus, Chef Philippe. 

Today we learned how to needle truss a cornish game hen (a young chicken of 5 or 6 weeks age) and then we cooked it two ways: potir (roast) and poeler (pan roast).  

What is trussing?  
It the process of using kitchen twine/string to tie your choice of poultry into a compact unit where the legs are together and the wings are tucked under the bird. Trussing allows for even cooking and also creates a stable base so that your bird doesn't wobble all over the pan. It also makes for easier carving and a beautiful serving presentation. You can use trussing needles which look sort of like large stainless steel knitting needles to tie the loose areas of the bird together or you can do it without the needle but you end up using a lot more twine/string.   

Rotir (roast) versus Poeler (pan roast)

Poeler is a variation of roasting but differs from the traditional roasting process in that after searing, the product is roasted covered, creating a moist cooking environment. This environment is humid versus the dry environment that is created from uncovered roasting. 

Here are a few key things to remember when Roasting:

1. Always ensure that you pat your bird dry before cooking it so that you can get a solid sear on the skin and it will also help the skin from sticking to the pan
2. Whether you are pan roasting or oven roasting you must always sear first (brown the skin) and then reduce heat for the duration of cooking. If you are wondering why you have to sear it first ask yourself : Why do people like roasted chicken? It's ALL about the crispy skin!!
3. Baste your bird every 15 min or so -  take advantage of all those flavorful pan juices
4. There are two ways to ensure that your bird is done cooking: internal temperature must be 165 (stick the thermometer into the thick part of the thigh) and the juices should run clear (no cloudiness or blood)
5. Once you pull it out of the oven the general rule is that you should let it rest for half of time of the total cooking process - so if I roasted my cornish game hen  for 45 min then I need to let it stand for about 22 min so that the juices can retract into the meat and settle. This leaves time to create a lovely sauce from the pan drippings. 

Cornish Game Hen Poeler

Cornish Game Hen Rotir

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