Classic French Bistro Cooking Class

Classic French Bistro Cooking Class

Blue Ribbon Cooking School

This summer is all about education.  Expanding my knowledge in the kitchen and on the yoga mat, I’m diving into life as a student.

I don’t have much experience cooking French cuisine and my lovely mother got me some gift certificates for Blue Ribbon Cooking School on Lake Union.  So, class chosen and booked, I was off to learn and love butter.

The menu was protein, cream, butter.  And a little salad.  Not the usual fair in my kitchen.

Frisee Salad with Lardon’s and Poached Egg:  I have always been chicken when it came to poaching an egg, but now feel ready to attempt it at home.  One success does a lot for the spirit.

Steak and Frites:  Love this dish (see post about Betty, on Queen Anne)!  We used flatiron steaks, which I would typically never buy since it’s lean (tough), but they had it needled (tenderized) and it was actually quite good.  The frites were a blast to make, by hand.  We hand sliced the potatoes, rinsed them of excess starch and fried twice in classical French style.

Filet of Sole Meuninere: Probably the most difficult dish to prepare since sole is so delicate.  We pan fried in clarified butter (known in Indian cuisine as ghee).  I don’t love this fish, even if it’s floured and fried.

Croque Monsieur: A classic, always good.  Think french toast meets ham and cheese sandwich.  I’ll certainly make this at home, but with some lighter variation (stay tuned!)

Coq Au Vin: Truth comes out, I’ve never eaten this dish, until Monday night.  Chicken cooked in red wine, herbs and flecked with bacon, this was a favorite and very do-able at home.   I’ve provided their recipe below.

Steamed Mussels with Garlic, White Wine and Butter:  Light, simple, best served immediately.  We had these as a mid-cooking snack.

Coquilles Saint Jacque with Duchess Potatoes:  Translates to scallops with creamy potatoes.  I’m sure the restaurant version would have been pretty.  Ours looked like decorative potato turds, but they tasted good.

Ginger Burnt Cream:  Loved the ginger in this, would’ve even added more.  They ended the meal with a sweet coffee and cream, which I ended up liking better than our actual dessert.

Coq Au Vin (Chicken in Red Wine)
provided by Blue Ribbon Cooking School

4-Main Course Servings:

1 cut up frying chicken (cut into 6-pieces)
4 slices lean bacon, diced
3 cups full bodied red wine
1 cup chicken stock
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 teaspoons fresh thyme, 1 bay leaf
15-20 small pearl onions, fresh or frozen/defrosted
1/2 Lb mushrooms, sliced
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons cooking oil

4 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley
2 tablespoons softened unsalted butter
2 tablespoons flour

Saute bacon in large dutch oven until almost crisp, remove and drain on paper towels.  Remove all but about 3 tablespoons of the bacon fat from dutch oven and return to medium high heat.  Salt/pepper chicken generously and place in pan, saute until golden brown on all sides, about 8 minutes.  Remove chicken and add wine, stock, tomato paste, thyme, bay leaf and cooked bacon.  Bring to a boil and add the browned chicken pieces.  Cover tightly and cook in preheated 350*F oven for 30-40 minutes.

While chicken is cooking, place butter and oil in large saute pan, when hot, add onions and saute for 3-4 minutes.  Remove from pan with slotted spoon, set aside.  Add mushrooms to same pan, season lightly with salt/pepper. Saute until mushrooms are soft and lightly browned.

Remove chicken from oven and add the sautéed mushrooms/onions.  Cover and return to oven for about 30 minutes or until chicken is cooked and onions are tender.  Remove chicken pieces to serving platter and cover with foil, place in warm oven while finishing sauce.  Skim excess fat from sauce, reduce to about 3 cups.  Mix butter and flour together in a small bowl, then whisk sauce and add flour mixture until it is slightly thickened.

Pour sauce over chicken and sprinkle with fresh parsley to serve.

Keywords: French Bistro, Seattle Cooking Schools, Blue Ribbon, Coq Au Vin