Thursday, October 1, 2009

Anne Burrell - Interesting As Ever With Crispy Mushroom Chips And Rich Cream Cheese Pastry

Secrets of a Restaurant Chef with Anne Burrell
I caught the tale end of RR. She was making a nice looking salad to which she proceeded to add a side of chopped crispy bacon. I HATE those GIANT ORANGE paddle-like tongs she’s tossing the salad with. It makes me think that she would have no trouble handling a intruder.

The salad is all tossed and, although health-wise it’s not so great, it DOES look good. Oh wait, she’s putting it on top of massive steaks. Yeah, whenever I eat a steak, especially a big one, I often say I really need more meat on the plate. Let’s add bacon! Good, but let’s face it, bad.

Anne is starting. Anne uses a expression I really don’t like - chicken POT pie. I guess she can say what she wants, since it’s her recipe, but she’s not making it in a POT. Wait…she’s putting bleu cheese in it. Oh, that’s for a salad, that’s okay.

Anne SMASHES garlic on her board. She adds it to the onions, carrots and celery already sweating in a pan and she throws in some more Kosher salt -”her buddy.”

Inexplicably, the music is artlessly turned up (way too loud) as she takes skinless chicken legs and thighs out of a package. Anne salts them A LOT and adds them to the sweating vegetables with her own chicken stock. She must have said chicken POT pie a hundred times by now.

I like that she’s doing “a big fat hand wash with soap and paper towel action”. She checks the pot (proper use of the word) to make sure that the chicken is underneath the liquid as it simmers for 30 minutes. She says to add a little water if you need to.

For her chicken pie (how about if I alternate using “pot” and not?), Anne is making a cream cheese crust “for its great mouth feel”. I never would have thought of that. Will it be good? How could it not? A stick of butter, cut into pea-sized pieces, goes into the food pro. Anne adds a “pinch” of salt and 8 ounces of cream cheese, cut into pieces. More hand washing.

She adds 1½ cups of flour and pulse, pulse, pulses it until it gets to the “Parmesan cheese-looking” stage. She adds one yolk and a little water. Interesting that she doesn’t call for ICE water. The recipe says cold. She pulses the dough again until it begins to come together. She puts it on a board with flour and “schmears” it across the board and brings it all together into a disc. She covers it with plastic and puts it in the fridge “to hang out”.

After the chicken is cooked (30 minutes), Anne pours the entire POT over a colander. She uses the stock pot again, unwashed, to make the roux. She adds 4 tablespoons butter (½ stick) and 4 tablespoons of flour. She cooks it together until it looks like “wet sand”.

Anne says to always have the same amount of butter and flour. That’s not always true. In some Barefoot Contessa recipes, she ups the butter. I suppose this makes the mixture a little looser and easier to blend the milk into. Sometimes I do the reverse and add a bit more flour, if I want to make sure I end up with a thick sauce.

Anne moves on to the other things going into the chicken pie. She dices up butternut squash into 1 1/2 inch cubes and roasts them at 375°F for 20 minutes. She cuts the ends off haricot verts and cuts them into small pieces and adds chopped up sage.
Anne adds the strained chicken stock into the roux. She says it’s “incredibly” important to always bring a flour mixture to the boil, so it removes that sandy flour thing in our mouths. Then she says “BTB” and “RTS”. Huh? Your guess is as good as mine. Oh, Bring to Boil and Reduce to Simmer.

Anne moves on to the salad. She grabs a huge oyster mushroom and pulls it apart.

Coming back from a break, we see Anne for a moment in her restaurant kitchen in her chef’s whites. She shows us how to chill things quickly in an ice bath. She says she does that in the restaurant AND at home. She never puts hot food straight in the fridge. Oy, I don’t do that. I guess I should.

Anne shreds the chicken and adds it to the haricot verts.

Anne lays out the pulled-apart mushrooms on a baking sheet in a single layer. She drizzles them with oil, salt and chili pepper. She says they taste like bacon. Anne takes out the squash and notes that she doesn’t want it browned. She adds it to the chicken mixture and stirs well. (I’d prefer potatoes to tell you the truth.)

She stirs “the gravy” and tastes it for seasoning. I like the word sauce better, but (haven’t we had this issue before?) if it has flour, it IS entitled to be called gravy. A sauce might or might not have flour, gravy always does. I reserve the word gravy for that heavenly, definitely flour-thickened sauce that gets served at Thanksgiving.

Anne thinks the gravy has cooked down too much, so she adds an additional cup of stock. She says that’s part of cooking at the restaurant AND at home - sometimes you need to readjust stuff.

She takes out the dough (I forgot all about it) and rolls it out with flour, so there’s “no stickage”. It looks beautiful and smooth. She rolls it out ¼ inch thick. She brings her “crocks” over (not pots, but crocks) and cuts out a circle somewhat bigger than the dish, using a fluted pastry roller. Anne adds the filling to the individual bowl, THEN the gravy… Interesting. I wonder why she doesn’t mix the filling with the gravy.

She egg washes the outside of the crock and places the pastry over. She egg washes the top and cuts a few vents in the unbaked pastry crust. They bake at 375°F for 30 to 35 minutes, until the crust is brown.

Anne sautés some prosciutto strips for the salad. She loves to garnish salad with crunchy things. She takes out the mushrooms. They DO look like bacon. Anne says they taste like bacon too. She scrapes them off the tray. Next Anne adds “a big drink of red wine vinegar” to the sautéing prosciutto. I wonder why that doesn’t make them soggy.

She slices up some pears and breaks up some butter lettuce (hydroponically grown, so no washing necessary) and adds bits of Cabrales and then “a big fat finishing oil” and salt. She does this all by hand, including the tossing. She plates it and then adds the mushroom chips and prosciutto. “That’s a sexy salad.”

Next Anne exclaims, “Pot pie time, Pot pie time!!!” Who can resist her? It’s going to be “screaming hot”. She puts a fork in and eats a big HOT bite. She’s brave. She’s great. She’s Anne.


Tom said...

Hi Sue,

Lots of stuff going on in this show, that's why I like watching Anne. A lot of cookbooks recommend icing things down before refrigerating them -- I guess the idea is that you want them to spend as little time as possible in the optimal temperature range for bacterial growth. Direct contact with the ice water cools them down faster than the cold air in the fridge, and certainly faster than just leaving them on the counter. I can see it for the restaurant (hello, Mr. Health Inspector!) but I've never done it at home.

This also looks like a different way of making a cream cheese crust. Rose Levy Beranbaum blends the cream cheese in with the flour first, then pulses in the butter. That way the flour is coated first and the crust will be more tender.

Sue said...

Putting stuff on ice to cool it quickly IS really an excellent habit to get into. But, really, does anyone do that at home? Another option (although not as effective of course) is to take the food out of its hot serving dish and refrigerate it in a glass dish, which doesn't conduct the heat and will cool down faster.

Isn't there something else where Rose adds something is a really weird order? It's supposed to make the cake or whatever it is a hundred times better.

Sheila said...

I haven't had a Chicken PIE since I was 7. (right after swimming lessons - in the middle of the winter)

Maybe it's time.

The Short (dis)Order Cook said...

Well, either it's not in a pot, or it's not pie. When I was in college in Lancaster County, PA, the cafeteria often served "chicken pot pie" and it was soup. It was soup with lots of wide noodles. A friend of mine assured me that this is the PA Dutch definition of Chicken Pot Pie. Noodles instead of crust? Is that pie?

Sue said...

You HAVEN'T??? Get on it right now! Thank you for ditching the "pot"...

Heh? That's wild! I never heard of that before. Don't they put pastry (with lard) on stuff every chance they get (yummy!), so it's interesting that they don't in that dish.

Col said...

the prosciutto didn't get soggy 'cause it's dry cured and the muscle is strong... and is so dehydrated than it can soak up all kinds of liquids (especially in saute heat, which evaporates things quickly)

Sue said...

Hiya Col,
That makes sense. I will try adding some red wine or balsamic vinegar the next time I crisp up some prosciutto.