Home > Cooking school > Knives and Fire XI (Week 3)

Knives and Fire XI (Week 3)

Half way done. NOT long enough.

Sauce Espagnole, Small Sauces and Soups

Sauce Espagnole is brown sauce – brown stock, fat, mirepoix, flour, tomato purée and a sachet. We put the flour in the oven to brown it and reduce the cooking time, and we used the beef fat rendered from yesterday’s bones. So. Melt the fat, and add the mirepoix. When it is browned, add the brown flour and cook until the color gets deeper, and then add the stock slowly. When that’s done, add tomato purée and the sachet (crushed peppercorns, bay leaves, thyme sprigs and parsley stems, tied up in cheese cloth.) Then let it simmer for an hour and strain.

This was combined part for part with brown stock and reduced by half. This is demi-glace.

Then I prepped for borscht – beet, cabbage and beef borscht. We started with the beets – 20 beets cleaned and baked (we put water on the sheet pans and covered them with another.) Meanwhile, as I helped someone else make her espagnole, someone else followed my directions on the remaining ingredients for the borscht – onions, carrots, sour salt, vinegar, garlic, cabbage. I made 3/4″ dice of potatoes. I ended up dicing four russets to make the equivalent of two potatoes – there’s a lot of trim in precise cuts. We’re keeping the trim in a container of water in a fridge. We went to lunch. It took until then for the beets to be done.

Wearing two pairs of gloves, we took the hot beets and peeled them with a paring knife, and then cut them into 1/3″ squares. The two pairs of gloves made it possible to handle the beets. We cooked the onions and carrots in beef fat until they started to brown. Then we added the garlic and the cabbage, and then stock, the beets and the potatoes, plus the vinegar. And we let that cook, after transferring it to a larger pot, eventually covering the pot with a large sheet pan.

Chef set up a bain marie – a hot water bath – on the stove to keep the demi-glace and the espagnole sauces warm, so he could use them for small sauces. He made one with thyme and sliced shallots and wine, one with shallots and wine only, plus a bit of maitre’d hotel “butter” to mount it, and one, Chasseur, with mushrooms and a tomato concassé and white wine. He’d grilled some meat so we could taste it properly. And someone made sauce Robert, which is with mustard and it was delicious.

And they cooked the chutney as well. It smelled and tasted like sweet pickles.

The borscht needed *stuff* to make it finished – sour salt, regular salt, pepper, sugar and vinegar. Also, I shredded some beef chef had simmered. The result? Nicely balanced but we needed a lot more liquid. We’ll correct that (and the flavorings) tomorrow. I just tossed in handfuls of seasoning.

The cooking liquid, btw, was a remillage – a “rewetting”. We took the bones from yesterday, and cooked them again, with a fresh mirepoix and sachet. NOt as good as the first stock, much better than plain water.

We concluded the class with a discussion of wedding cakes and then of foodborne illnesses. Some of which was seriously scary.

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