Today we started with a practical, making the roast rack of lamb the chef demonstrated yesterday.
We each had a rack of lamb to prepare and roast. So we had to trim off the fat, sinew, and french trim the bones, which means remove the meat and fat from the outer couple of inches of the rib bones. This is mainly for presentation and also that the meat is very thin here and would be very overcooked by the time the rest was cooked. Quite a fiddly job to prepare.
We also chopped the rest of the bones and browned them in a pan with some mirepoix, which would be used for the sauce. The rack of lamb was quickly browned in the pan, some foil wrapped over the bones to stop them burning, then the rack was placed on the bones and roasted in the oven for 15 minutes or so. Then it was rested while we made the sauce.
It was then I managed to burn the bones. I was finishing browning them and had turned them off, but had managed to turn the switch just past 0 and so was actually at 10. We have induction hobs which can generate a lot of power, so my bones were on at full blast and within seconds were burning. I got them off pretty quickly but the damage was done.
I had no choice but to use them, so I added the veal stock and reduced it to a coating consistency.
The lamb, however, was perfectly cooked. Beautifully pink in the centre and delicious tasting. The sauce, though, tasted of bitter stock, without any of the lamb flavour that I had burnt out of the bones. The chef confirmed my opinion of the sauce but was very pleased with the lamb. Regarding the sauce, he said it was all part of the learning.
Oh well, the lamb was delicious for dinner.
Next we had our first demonstration on beef.
The lesson was on butchering a whole sirloin on the bone. It was interesting to see that this was the same cut of meat as the rack of lamb which isn’t much bigger than my hand, but in beef it’s about 3 feet long:
The chef started by removing the fillet from one side of the bones, then trimmed the sirloin from the other side. He trimmed the fat and sinew off to give a clean slab of meat. From this he cut 1 steak about 1 inch thick and another piece about 1 kg in weight for the roast beef.
He tied the beef with string to hold its shape while cooking and browned it on all sides in a pan with some mirepoix. Then the pan was placed in the oven for 10 minutes initially to roast.
Meanwhile some carrots and turnips were cut into small batons, along with green beans and peas, and cooked in salted water and then refreshed. Potatoes were turned, blanched and then roasted in the oven to create Chateau potatoes. An artichoke was trimmed to its heart and cooked in a blanc – a liquid containing water, flour and lemon juice – to stop it browning.
After about 10 minutes, the beef was turned over in its pan and returned to the oven for another 10 minutes. Then the probe thermometer was used to check the internal temperature of the beef and it was at medium rare so was left to rest.
Beef stock was added to the mirepoix and reduced by half and the pan bottom scraped to dissolve the flavour. Once reduced, the beef was sliced, the vegetables reheated with a little butter and used to fill the artichoke heart and plated with the beef and chateau potatoes:
The chef started a boeuf bourguignon. Some stewing steak was put in a bowl to marinade with red wine, mirepoix, garlic and peppercorns. This would be marinated overnight and cooked in another lesson.
Lastly, the chef made an entrecote bordelaise with the steak cut earlier. This was served with some bone marrow. The bone was scraped clean and then poached in veal stock.
The steak was seasoned and fried in a hot pan until browned on both sides, then put aside to rest. Some finely diced shallot was sautéed in the same pan, then the pan was deglazed with red wine and reduced to a syrup. Veal stock was added and again reduced to a thick sauce. The steak and marrow were plated and the steak coated with the sauce and a little parsley sprinkled on top”