Friday, July 24, 2009

Week Two - Tuesday

Tuesday the plan was to cook lunch for a group called the Hero's Group, whatever that is.

I'm confused that since school is pay to play, why do people not show up every day of class or not arrive on time? Hottie #2 and #3 were in class on Monday but not Mouth. It was reversed on Tuesday. Red was not there on Monday but showed up late on Tuesday. I don't get it.

First order of the day was a video on roasting and then another on fabricating chicken. Kick ass! Cutting up meat was the number one reason I wanted in this class. I am baffled about butchering a chicken. The video was a little confusing with the fancier preparations or fabricating that did not involve cutting out all of the major parts.

After we watched the videos we headed into the kitchen and each grabbed a chicken. First we had to truss the bird as if we were going to roast it whole, have it inspected and then cut the chicken up into eight parts. Trussing was lickity-spit and I got the thumbs up from Chef. I mean how hard is it to wrap a piece of string around the legs and then around the bird. The hardest part is using a long enough piece of string to begin with.

Next I got out my petty knife to start hacking this thing up. I don't have a true boning knife and there was no way I was going to trust the sharpening job on one of the class knives. It is funny to watch these guys sharpen knives. They really love the electric sharpener which is the fastest way to grind down and ruin your knife. Then they rub their thumb over the edge and say "that's a mighty sharp knife, " or something to that effect. Dude, it's a chef's knife not a lawn mower blade. Got to remember where I live I guess.

I digress.

The first step in fabricating the chicken is to cut out the back bone, down one side then the other. I was in awe at how my knife went through the chicken like butter. That thars a sharp knife! Now I want a real boning knife, a Japanese one though, of course.

I laid the chicken flat, skin side down an then sliced along the white membrane around the breast bone like I saw in the video. With some effort I was able to tear the breast bone out but not as easily as they made it seem in the video so I was having some doubts.

I got the wings off easy enough. I could not remember how to separate the breast from the thigh/leg and had to ask Chef. Secret was to cut through with the skin side up where the muscles are obviously distinct. So now I had four pieces, two wings, two breasts. Cutting the leg and thighs apart was easy. Eight pieces. I even trimmed the excess fat off of all my pieces. Then I looked around and saw that I was the only one finished, by more than a little bit. Some people were still trussing. I wasn't sure if I was finished but I had eight pieces. I was stoked.

I got Chef's blessing which tickled me pink because this was the first time I had ever cut up a chicken and I really was unsure of what I was doing. Chef showed me how I should pop the thigh bone through the meat. This technique prevents a blood pocket forming during cooking. Cool!

After all the chickens were cut up we threw them into roasting pans, seasoned and put them in the oven. The green beans and broccoli were pulled out of the walk-in. Ridges worked on bringing back a cheese sauce from the day before. A group of like eight sliced up cake and cheese cake for the lunch. Bar Code and two other guys were portioning some steaks left over from an ACF meeting the night before and would be served at lunch. So once again I decided to hit the dish washer and periodically check to see if anyone needed assistance.

We arranged the tables to make a long serving line. We had a student working each food to serve the ladies coming through the line. I am still amazed that some people don't don't which pieces are white meat and which are dark meat. Whatever you wanted, you got a thigh. I was at the end of the table with Mouth serving the desert. When the ladies would ask what we had for desert, Mouth would roll her eyes and venomously spit out "cake." This girl has an attitude problem. She snapped at me once during clean up. I see conflict down the road.

The food was good. We accidentally over cooked the chicken. But, it was probably the way most people would have wanted it since people have an overt fear of undercooked chicken. The mashed potatoes weren't cooked all the way through before mashing. The steak was very good.

Next week we are fabricating more chicken and making chicken stock. Sweet.


Brook said...

You know one of the first things I learned to do with a chicken was cut it up. I think that comes from my teachers(my Grandmas and my Mom)being Southern ladies where fried chicken is the true test of how good a cook you are(that and your cornbread)My maternal grandmother always cut an "extra" piece-the pulley bone as she called it-and I still like to do the same. They Never roast a whole bird though and I have no practical experience with trussing a bird. So who exactly are the "Heros"-did you ever find out?

Huff Daddy said...

Being able to parse a bird is definitely an important thing to know. But even though I am a true T&A man, when it comes to chicken, I only like thighs. Not enough meat on wings to be worth the effort (unless I ordered a basket of wings), legs are too sinewy, don't like the tendons and I don't like white meat. So for home purposes, I'll just buy a package of thighs. So it is doubtful I'd be buying whole chickens ever for home use. But you never know outside of the homes. Fried thighs are fine by me too.

No idea who the Hero's Group was.

Brook said...

True true-we are mostly thigh/leg people here too. Though cutting the pulley bone piece actually reduces the size of the breast enough that you get three pieces of white meat that are done at the same time and not too dry. I love the pulley bone piece the best after a good thigh and right before the wing-which once again I learned to cut BIG. Must be a southern thing after all. Or maybe a feed lots of people off of one bird thing. Hmmm.