I’m so excited to tell you about my fifth week at Le Cordon Bleu Dusit in Bangkok, Thailand. In addition to cooking with traditional ingredients like pork and chicken, we also had the opportunity to learn how to handle duck and rabbit! Keep reading for the details.
Week 5 at Le Cordon Bleu Dusit:
Here’s a list of our demos for the week:
- Forcemeat Stuffings – Part 1
- Meat Terrines; Paupiettes
- Deboning; Decorative Jelly for a Terrine
- Cooking Test: Stuffed Pork Rolls with Glazed Vegetables
- In class we were shown how to make a Duck Terrine with marinated prunes, and yes, the liver is a prominent component in terrines! Here is a short 4 min. video on making a rabbit terrine: http://www.sbs.com.au/food/recipes/rabbit-terrine
- Forcemeat Stuffings – Part 2
- Basic Technique for making a Mousseline Stuffing
- Cooking Test: Stuffed Chicken Breasts Supreme with Mushrooms
- Traditional Recipes:
- Vegetables cooked “a la Grecque” (Greek) style
- Pots de Crème: 3 ways – Vanilla, Earl Grey Tea, Caramel
- Cooking Test: Rabbit with Mustard Sauce, Sautéed Potatoes
Here’s What I Learned During Week 5 at Le Cordon Bleu Dusit:
- This week we worked with and butchered a whole duck and a whole rabbit. If you’re squeamish at all, you need to get over it! You can’t very well ask the chef to send back your imported, main ingredient to the prep kitchen.
- Terrines can be extravagantly decorated, as our chef demonstrated. The style he showed us is usually reserved for a hotel buffet or banquet and thankfully, not something we need to replicate in this beginning course:
- We made two types of meat stuffing this week:
- Traditional meat stuffing that is put through a meat grinder.
- A creamier Mousseline style that is also pushed through a “sifter” that the school labeled as pellaprat.
I preferred this second style from class 14:
- Everything in French cuisine is either named after a region in France, a famous chef or an important person or has something to do with a king or royalty. For example, when I looked up the word pellaprat, I found this reference: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henri-Paul_Pellaprat.
- I wanted to try to make the vegetable recipe we were given this week but I was unable to find fennel at my local market. I did find imported artichokes, another main ingredient in the recipe, and the cost was a whopping 368 baht, or $11.00 US for 2! Of course, my recipe called for more “turned” vegetables and in fact the result was so bad, I scrapped the whole thing and just made my regular steamed artichokes with lemon & garlic!
- I am discovering that many of the ingredients we are using are not local and are flown to the school directly from France and the French meat markets. You wont find rabbit anywhere in Bangkok, either. I was told that the procurement office could easily order us a shipment, but we’d have to purchase 10 rabbits!
- I’m going to have to own the fact that I am an impatient cook; this is not a good trait when it comes to making French sauces!
- I have surprised myself and now think I’d like to make the stuffed rabbit for my final exam, as this was the best meal I’ve made so far.
A Funny Story About Duck
Over the weekend we happened to tune into a French cooking show on TV that was visiting a local meat market outside Paris. Mind you, the show was in French (not English) – this is how desperate we are to watch anything that’s not in Thai. The subject of the show was purchasing duck and showing how to butcher it properly to make Fois Gras. I told my husband, “I bet this will be coming up at school!” and sure enough, the very next day the Chef had a whole duck on his cutting board that he was preparing to butcher. The timing was amazing!
Grading for Week 5 at Le Cordon Bleu Dusit:
Here’s this week’s critique:
Class 13: Paupiettes de porc “bourgeoise” (stuffed pork rolls with glazed vegetables)
- This was our first “white exam,” meaning, we were not allowed to use any notes in the kitchen; we were given a “blank” recipe with only the list of ingredients. We were told this was similar to a “pop quiz” or a mid-term exam to prepare us for the final exam at the end of the term in September. I had just taken notes listing 25 steps to follow for the correct recipe preparation and I was definitely not mentally prepared for this twist!
- We had 20 minutes before class to prepare ourselves and look over our notes one final time, then it was time cook!
- The results were very good! The outside meat still needed more seasoning, the turned potatoes were good (although I still need more practice) and the meat cooked well.
Class 14: Supremes de Volaille Farcis, Sauce Aux Champignons (stuffed chicken breasts with mushroom sauce)
- I received my first “excellent” review! For this recipe you must make a “pocket” inside the thin chicken breast to hold the stuffing. I was originally dubious about cutting into the chicken, but it turns out with a sharp knife you can do anything!
- My chicken was stuffed so full there was only 1 Tablespoon of leftover stuffing. When I told the Chef I was not able to make extra sausages with the stuffing as was requested, he said, “No worries, this is good; I am impressed. Every inch of the chicken is filled with stuffing ”
Class 15: Lapin a la Moutarde, Pommes Sautees a Cru (rabbit with mustard sauce, sautéed potatoes)
- With the Chef’s encouragement and as much patience as I could muster, my mustard cream sauce received an excellent rating!
- The sautéed potatoes we well received by the Chef but on the verge of being “potato chips.” Apparently this Chef likes her potatoes more brown than other chefs.
- Notes for next time: don’t overcrowd your sauté pan. If whatever you are making overlaps in the pan, separate the ingredients into two pans or make two batches.
Stay tuned to find out what I learned during week six!
Mary Hathaway, Owner of Dinner Diva, has been a personal chef since 2002. She cooks regularly for clients who have special dietary needs, value healthy cooking by using organic products where possible and those who want healthy family meals but have no time to cook. Whether it’s a dinner for 4, a holiday party for 20, or a set of meals for the week, all of the recipes are customized to her client’s needs or lifestyle. Go to: Dinner-Diva.com for more info.