Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Day 17

Today we observed Chef Philippe making Navarin D'Agneau Printanier (Lamb Stew with Spring Vegetables) and Blanquette de veau à l'ancienne (Veal Blanquette) which are both classic french recipes.  Throughout the process we discussed the science and logic behind cooking more than the actual recipes. 

For example, when you cook vegetables and starches in water, should you put them into your pot with cold water and let them come to a boil or let the water boil first and then add the vegetable or starch? 

The answer: it depends what you are cooking

If you cook a vegetable in cold water the vegetable will leak flavor into the water as the temperature rises and it comes to a boil so if you are making a soup or broth, then you would want to use this method.

If you are trying to blanch or boil your vegetable you would want to bring your water to a boil first before adding the vegetables so that the flavors stay within the vegetables and aren't wasted in the water.

The exception to this rule is if you are cooking a starchy vegetable ( IE potatoes, dried beans, corn, beets, turnips). In this case you would always use cold water and bring it to a boil with the starchy vegetable in it because it will allow the outer region of the given vegetable to firm up during the slow temperature rise (so that it doesn't break down at the boiling point) and ensure overall even cooking.  

Lamb Stew with Spring Vegetables

Veal Blanquette
 (I swear this tasted much better than it looks)

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