Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Mondays with Caroline

Oh how I love them!
She is the only reason I keep going in to the Bakery on my days off unpaid.
Today I made chicken burgers...they are DELICIOUS even if i do say so myself!...the trick was good chicken breast and lots of moisture. You can keep moisture in the burgers by putting some bread in the milk, that has been soaked in milk...good little trick!.
I fried off a bunch of finely chopped onions, leeks and garlic, seasoned and caramelised it just a little. Then mix this through with the minced chicken breasts, a bit of citrus peel, lots of coriander and parsley, cheddar cheese (not too much) a few chopped chillies, and the bread and yoghurt if you need the moisture. Mix it all together and cook a test patty and adjust the seasoning if necessary. We decided they needed a little more kick so we added some paprika and a few pasted up anchovies.
Incidentally I got the most fantastic anchovies straight from Sicily, at the Terra Madre convention. I will have to give these little gems away when I leave, as i am sure I can't send them home opened, but I intend to find more in Sicily and post them home...they are to DIE for...even if you don't like anchovies, these ones are incredible...the saltiness and fishiness in perfect perfection!

So we made a rich tomato sauce to go with the burgers. (Give the burgers some colour in the pan but finish them off in the oven).
The sauce was again loads of onion cooked down, added garlic, and lots of tomatoes...but at this time of year in the northern hemisphere they aren't awesome and sweet like summer, so I needed to add some tomato paste and a can of tinned rich tomatoes for the flavour. I then popped in some red wine vinegar and sugar and salt and pepper, a few chillies chopped and some water. Then just let it reduce down for as long as possible, so that the water content reduces by about a 1/3.
Then at the end blend the sauce and add a bit of cream as it’s blending.

I can't wait for dinner tonight, a chicken burger with rich tomato sauce and fresh traditional baguette, from the best bakery in the 18th arrondissement!

So there you have it - the kick i get out of Monday's with Caroline. The chatting about the seasonings, the little discoveries - like I now know that vinegar in such as sauce like the above, won't curdle the cream!...each week is just something little, but special...and I love her for sharing her knowledge so patiently with me.

Caroline is opening her own restaurant in Normandy next year, so if you go to France, ask me for her details so I can send you in her direction!


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