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2nd February 2023 - David Wolves-Den
Dinner Party Dining - Course Two - Another French
Duck à la Crème with all the trimmings.
It's time for this course's classic French meal, not too dissimilar to our first course's, just with less butter!

This week's Message from our Sponsor:
After a fantastic first session we are going to be looking at a French dish using the basting technique.

Please see the following ingredients you will need to bring.
(I am trying to keep this cost down for you as much as possible so if there is anything you can't get a hold of I'm sure college can provide)

I will provide the rest of the ingredients.
Will have the recipes ready for you Thursday.
Any questions let me know.
Thank you.

French Encore!
Chicken à la Crème
Classic French!
Fondant Potato
A Dinner Party Dining favourite.
Butter-Poached Asparagus
Beautiful, if fiddly.
Butternut Purée
Simple and colourful.
Wilted Spinach
A Karl extra.

Chicken à la Crème
main fowl
I made this pretty much as written with a duck breast instead. It just takes a bit more cooking skin-side down to nicely crisp it up.
Put the breast skin-side up in the oven to finish.

Serves 1-2

Turn the oven on to 180°C and allow to come to temperature, collect all ingredients to prep.

To make the sauce, dice your onion and 2 cloves of garlic, sweat in a pan with a little oil, add thyme and a little seasoning. Use half of the mushrooms to flavour the sauce and brown in the pan, add the wine and reduce. Finally add the cream off the heat and season (to add a little more luxury, a small knob of butter can be added to emulsify the sauce). Leave on warm.

To make the chicken, heat a pan until smoking hot, add the oil and place the chicken skin-side down. Brown the skin and turn (around 4 minutes), turn down the heat and add 2 crushed garlic cloves, thyme and 25g butter. Baste the chicken and then transfer to the oven until cooked.

You may wish to pass the mushroom sauce Reader I passed my sauce (through a sieve!) but that is optional, fry the rest of the mushrooms to add to the sauce when cooked.

Prepare your side dishes, and when everything is cooked, present and serve.
Perfectly good.

Another Fondant Potato
staple veg
Unlike certain other fondant methods this doesn't require cooking the stock off in the oven and risking burning the whole thing to a cinder. The potato shapes are browned off first, hence the timings are much less critical.
Just fish the potatoes out of the stock with a slotted spoon when they're done. They'll even keep warm in the pan for a considerable time if you need to hold them.

Serves 2

Pre-heat the oven to 180°C.
Peel and cut the potato in half, block off so you have 2 similar rectangular shaped potatoes. In a pan, add butter and oil and brown potatoes on each side, feel free to throw in some garlic and herbs, add chicken stock so it just covers half way up the pan. Bring to the boil and place in the oven until soft - about 20-30 minutes.
Probably the easiest potato fondant method - and much cheaper then filling the pan with butter.
And more-or-less as tasty.

Butter-Poached Asparagus
side veg
Serves 4

Heat a mix of butter and water and a little salt in a wide shallow pan.
Peel the asparagus.
Trim the root end to a nice sharp point like a stake for extra style value. You don't really need to peel the whole spears, just whip off the green lumps and leafy growths.
This will help keep the colour when cooked
Blanche in the butter and water poach for 3 minutes.
Serve immediately.
Rather nice, even if you can't be bothered with all the fiddly trimming.

Butternut Purée
side veg vegan
There is no such thing as a small butternut squash!

Serves 4

To make the puree, peel, de-seed and dice your squash you can use a potato peeler to good effect and add to boiling water for 20 minutes or until breaking tender, blend until smooth, season, and pass through a sieve.
I think you'll also want to beat in a knob of butter, or a splash of cream. Or maybe that's just me?

Wilted Spinach
side veg
Barely worthy of a recipe, but there are a lot of things you can add to adjust the flavour to your needs.

Wash the spinach and shake it dry.
Heat a little butter in a saucepan.
Add the spinach and cook it gently until it wilts down.
Season and serve.
You can tidy the spinach by chopping it, either before or after cooking, or at least removing the leaves' stalks beforehand.