Center Stage Catering Country French Culinary Workshop
This past weekend I had the pleasure of attending this deliciously informative workshop where, in the French tradition, simple fresh ingredients were transformed into mouth-watering delicacies.
Pictured above (left) Herb and Cheese Gnocchi tossed with Beurre Blanc and (right) Ratatouille with Roasted Asparagus
Pictured above (left) chicken marinating that will be the main ingredient in Coq Au Vin and (right) Fresh Green Salad with sliced Potatoes and Bacon Lardons tossed in a Champagne Vinaigrette.
The workshop took place at Center Stage Catering in Rocky Mount, Virginia.
Center Stage Catering Commissary Entrance : Only Elves, Oompahs, Rock Stars, Grandmas, Hipsters, Sexy Cooks, Vikings, Cool Organic Farmers, Sales Reps, (& occasionally Food Brokers), Artists, Philosophers, Magicians, Poets, and World Leaders allowed…everybody else must find another door to enter!
Center Stage Catering
Rocky Mount, Virginia
Pictured above (left to right): John Schopp, President/Executive Chef, David Carachure, Sous Chef, Jonathan Hart, Chef de Cuisine
John Schopp, CEC, CEPC, CCA, CE is a full-time culinary instructor at Virginia Western Community College. He is president of Center Stage Catering, Inc., a full-service event/catering company. Schopp has also been the Chef for Victor Wooten’s Center for Music and Nature, outside of Nashville, for the past 15 years. He writes food columns for several local and regional publications and is an avid primitive cooking enthusiast. In addition to recently appearing on the Food Network’s “Halloween Baking Championship”, Schopp is heavily active in the American Culinary Federation at both regional and national levels.
David Carachure is a graduate of the Al Pollard Culinary Program at Virginia Western Community College, Roanoke, Virginia.
Jonathan Hart is a graduate of the Art Institute of Tampa.
Pictured above: Zoe Campbell, Pastry Chef
Zoe Campbell is a graduate of the Al Pollard Culinary Program at Virginia Western Community College, Roanoke, Virginia.
Pictured Above: Ingredients for Becky’s Sparkling Coq Au Vin
I love this original Country French Culinary Workshop Coq Au Vin recipe, but…no surprise here…I wanted to make mine with sparkling wine. My additions/suggestions are listed next to the original ingredients.
Coq Au Vin
Yield: 8 servings, 2 pieces each
2 whole chickens (2 lb. 8 ounces – 3 lb. each)
Flour, as needed for dredging
salt and pepper, to taste
Brandy (I appreciate the flavor brandy brings to this dish, but I omitted this ingredient because I don’t like to ignite the burgundy in my small home kitchen…afraid I will ignite the entire kitchen!)
1 4 inch carrot stick
1 4 inch leek, split
bay leaf (I omitted this ingredient because I neglected to get a bay leaf at the market!)
6 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed (I omitted the garlic because the sweetness of the sparkling wine and the garlic did not seem to compliment each other…just my personal preference)
16 ounces chicken stock
Bacon lardons (I substituted 6 ounces of country ham cut into Julienne strips) – lardons are small strips of bacon that are fried later in the recipe
18 pearl onions, peeled
1 leek, white part only, split in half and cut into small pieces
10 medium mushrooms, quartered
(my addition) 1 Russet potato, peeled and chopped into small pieces, sautéed in butter until almost tender
Beurre manié, as needed (Beurre manié (French “kneaded butter”) is a dough, consisting of equal parts of soft butter and flour, used to thicken soups and sauces) I found that the flour on the dredged chicken thickened the Coq au Vin enough that I did not need to add the Beurre manié.
- Cut each chicken into eight pieces (2 legs, 2 thighs, 2 wings with tips cut off and 2 breasts – breasts can be cut in half) and dredge in flour seasoned with salt and pepper.
- Heat the clarified butter in a 12-inch braiser, brown the chicken in two or three batches.
- Add the brandy and ignite (omit this step if not using brandy). When the flame dies, add the bouquet garni, garlic, wine and stock. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.
- Cover the pan and simmer until the chicken is tender, approximately 40 minutes.
- In a separate pan, sauté the bacon (if using country ham, add a little canola oil to the bottom of the pan before sautéing the ham). Add the onions, leek and potato and sauté until they begin to brown. Cook the bacon (or ham), onions and potato covered, over low heat, until the onions are tender. Add the mushrooms and cook them until they are tender.
- Remove the chicken from the pan and adjust the sauce’s consistency with the Beurre manié and a little extra chicken stock if needed. Strain the sauce through a china cap and adjust the seasonings. Spoon the bacon, onions, potato and mushrooms onto a serving plate, place the chicken over them and ladle the sauce over the finished dish.
I will share more of the French Country Recipes from the workshop in future posts…Apple Tarte Tatin, Herb and Cheese Gnocchi with Beurre Blanc, and Ratatouille…oh la la!
Our Country French Culinary Workshop Class!
Until Next Thyme!
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