|Chefs Corner week of Jan 5 2011|
Wednesday, January 5, 2011
Chef's corner from executuve chef Angus O'hara...
Soup, stews and roasts.....mmmmmm!
These are some of the things that leap into my mind when I think about cold weather food and cooking.
I would like to take a minute and speak about a common element in all of these things:
Mirepoix. (Pronounced Mihr-Pwah)
That is a culinary term for carrot, celery and onion which is cooked together and is the backbone of soups, braises and reductions.
An equal amount of each, cut into small pieces, are put in a skillet or frying pan with oil or butter (I like to use both...about double the amount of oil to butter) and allowed to cook on a medium heat until the vegetables are soft and semi-transparent.
This stage is called "Glazee" (Glaz-ay) and is the wonderful point between cooking al dente ("to the teeth"/ or very firm) and caramelized (when the vegetables turn a brownish color)
Attention needs to be paid to the pan when you make your mirepoix. Adding salt and pepper to taste, stirring so that all of the pieces cook equally and do not stick and monitoring the heat are all important.
If a little bit of the vegetable over cooks because it was not stirred, it will send a "scorched" flavor throughout the whole pan.
Don't get nervous....just keep the heat to medium, stir often and keep an eye on your creation.
Adding this mixture to simple chicken broth will make a savory beginning to a marvelous chicken soup.
Just add cooked chicken, season to your liking and dig in!
You may find, as I do, that using larger pieces of carrot, celery and onion result in a fantastic side dish on their own!
Look for upcoming recipes for chicken soup, crock pot cooking and braising in the next chef's corner.
Please feel free to e-mail me with any questions, comments or ideas that you might have.
Together, we will learn, laugh and cook!
Best to you and yours,