During week 6 of the Superior course at Le Cordon Bleu Dusit we learned to make these main courses:
- Class 15: Herb-Crusted Salmon
- Class 16: Double-Cut Lamb Chops
- Class 17: Beef Wellington
We are now officially halfway through the term! Today we received our ingredient list for the final exam; we have the next three weeks to put together our official recipes for a 2-course menu that must include one Bresse Chicken, morel mushrooms, carrots, turnips, white asparagus and Hollandaise sauce. After seeing previous submissions, it looks like I will need to find a good printing company so that my submission looks ultra professional and has a hard cover. Stay tuned for my progress. We must test our recipes beforehand and submit photos.
As for our regular menu, this week we worked with half a Salmon, a rack of lamb and beef tenderloin.
Class 15 at Le Cordon Bleu Dusit: Herb-Crusted Salmon
A day at Le Cordon Bleu Dusit doesn’t get any easier than preparing salmon and a red wine reduction sauce. The big challenge for the day was preparing the mushroom flan, or custard. For some reason, these custards always take longer to cook and set than I think they should; today was no exception. When I tried to un-mold my custard it fell apart; I’m very grateful to be a little faster in the kitchen these days so I had plenty of time to recover my mistake. My molds took another 10 minutes in the oven before I was able to successfully plate my dish. After all that, it was still under seasoned…
Class 16 at Le Cordon Bleu Dusit: Double-Cut Lamb Chops
I believe I can successfully say that I have redeemed myself with regard to the preparation of the lamb chops after three “less than perfect” lamb dishes last term. Working with the whole rack of lamb was not quite as intimidating this time as in the past. Maybe the reason is we segmented the ribs into individual portions so it was much easier to remove the backbone in segments than to try to remove it whole. Or maybe, I just needed more practice.
As a side-dish we made another stuffed cabbage recipe. This one had bacon and cream inside that we made into a parcel, wrapped in plastic and boiled for 20 minutes.
For the appetizer, the chef made us frog legs with a “green sauce”- a fresh herb purée. To keep the green color, it’s best keep the sauce on ice while preparing it and, of course, it was strained two times for an ultra smooth texture.
Class 17 at Le Cordon Bleu Dusit: Beef Wellington
This week we had one of the most challenging recipes of the term: the preparation of an iconic French recipe – beef wellington. We completed an amazing number of steps in less than two hours. A classic, beef wellington is always made with beef tenderloin and duxelles (sautéed minced mushrooms), and wrapped in puff pastry. What goes in the center can be open for interpretation, as these videos show.
In this classic version, we made a thin chive crepe, spooned on a few tablespoons of duxelles and wrapped the sautéed beef fillet in the crepe before ultimately encasing it in puff pastry and then baking it to perfection. We cut out three small circles in the top of the pastry so that we could easily insert a meat thermometer to check the final temperature. I thought this was a clever step.
I found the above YouTube videos from celebrity chef, Gordon Ramsay, showcasing his ultimate recipe for beef wellington, which differs slightly from our French recipe. Next time I make mine, I will definitely add the salt crust on top and brush the fillet with mustard. I’ll probably skip the English mustard he used, but will add Dijon (French) mustard for sure!
This class also included one of my favorite desserts so far this term: Peach Melba. I thought the sauce made from dried hibiscus flowers was terrific!
Stay tuned for a recap of Week 7 at Le Cordon Bleu Dusit next week!
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.