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Sunday, May 13, 2012

“Side Dish Seminar, Pt. XXI: Scalloped Potatoes Bolangiere—one of the All-Time Great Auguste Escoffier Classic Potato Dishes as prepared by Master Chef Fritz” by Chef Fritz Schlependrecht



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STINKBUG 2012





Chef Fritz Schlependrecht

END Commentary 05-14-2012

Copyright © 2012 by MHB Productions

Word Count: 1,917.



CULINARY POLITICS



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Elemental News of the Day Commentary-Opinion-Sports-Foodservice for Monday, May 14, 2012 by Chef Fritz Schlependrecht

SIDE DISH SEMINAR, PT. XXI

 Side Dish Seminar, Pt. XXI: Scalloped Potatoes Bolangiere—one of the All-Time Great Auguste Escoffier Classic Potato Dishes as prepared by Master Chef Fritz” by Chef Fritz Schlependrecht



Bakersfield, CA, 05-14-2012 M: Hello, friends at the Elemental News of the Day!  My first go-round here at the END was the Christmas Dinner Menu for 2011, quite an amazing accomplishment given to me by the great chef, Stinkbug, head man here.  I was thrilled to be given something so important, so momentous that I cannot complain being given the Side Dishes Seminar this time around because—trust me—side dishes are what makes or breaks the meal!  Many times the average cook who lacks guidance sees vegetables, potatoes, rice, beans, and whatever other item served as a side dish as being worthless at best or a pain-in-the-ass at worst which is sad because they don’t put the proper work into the dishes to make them the best they can be.  I think many younger cooks get a wake-up call when they enter fine-dining and suddenly the vegetables that were canned or frozen are suddenly fresh, vibrant, and imbued with life.  This is a difficult thing for many of them because now, the side dishes are seen as an integral part of the meal and not just as filler which puts them into a whole new light—it’s somewhat shocking to say the least!

Once they begin working with fresh vegetables and potatoes, their views begin to change rather dramatically as they see this once worthless carrot, let’s say, as suddenly being a major player in the evening’s preparations.  What once was ho-hum suddenly becomes intriguing and drives the young culinary staffer to begin reading every single book him or she can find on the art of vegetable cookery thereby increasing their knowledge countless times.  Yes, the transition from regular cook to experienced chef is a startling transformation indeed and well-worth observing: one cannot appreciate the invaluable interest, education, and experience that is picked up extremely fast without witnessing it him-or-herself—it’s worth the price of admission, let’s say!

Today, I will teach you a famed potato dish, granted, not an impressive one but a good one nonetheless, Scalloped Potatoes Bolangiere, a dish that consists of paper-thin-sliced russet potatoes lined up and scalloped not with milk but with freshly-made chicken stock.  What might seem ho-hum and uninteresting becomes much more stimulating, exciting, and wonderful because of the extra work that goes into it thanks to the manufacturing of the fresh chicken broth as opposed to opening up a base or worse—a powdered chicken soup base.  In the case of the latter, if you rely on that mode of flavoring your soups, stocks, broths, and sauces, you’re as unprofessional as they come and around here—that’s not tolerated! So, let us get on with the business at hand and make these delicious potatoes by first making the chicken stock:

(#210) CHICKEN STOCK #1



This is a fairly simple yet potent chicken stock to make at home or on the job and it is easily made with widely available ingredients.  Chicken stock is sort of the universal flavoring much like veal stock and is used in myriad creations, formulations, and recipes.  Keep this recipe on hand and you’ll never lack for stock.

Yield:  2.5 gallons  / Mis-en-place: 5-6 hours:




Qty.
Measure
Item
Other
4
#
Chicken bones

1
#
White mirepoix

.125
Cup
White peppercorns

1
Tablespoon
Dry rosemary

1
Tablespoon
Dry thyme

1
Tablespoon
Ground bay leaf

1
Tablespoon
Better-than-Bouillon chicken soup base




Method:

1.      Mis-en-place: have everything ready with which to work!

2.      Place the chicken bones in a large enough saucepot to hold them and then cover with COLD water; allow to sit for 5-10 minutes and then pour the water off and discard it. 

3.      Fill the pot with cold water again and add the remaining ingredients; place it over a medium-high flame and bring to a simmer but NO higher.  Skim off any fat that rises to the surface and reduce heat to the lowest of lows.  Allow it to barely simmer for 4-5 hours, replenishing water if it is reduced TOO low. 

4.      When time’s up, strain it through a double-Chinois lined with a clean towel into a pot.  When completely through, remove the towel and replace it with a piece of cheesecloth.  Pour the stock through it one more time into a sanitized pot.  Discard the cheesecloth and the impurities with it.  Cool the stock in a shallow pan or two atop a cooling rack.  If necessary, bring an oscillator out and have it blow directly upon it.  The purpose of this is to get the stock below 45°F as quickly as possible so that any chance of foodborne illness developing is quashed. 

5.      When the stock has completely cooled, pour it into a clean, sanitized container with a tight-fitting lid and refrigerate.  If need be, divide it up and transfer it to individual Styrofoam containers, label and date as to the contents and the day you prepared it, clamp on lids and freeze for use at a later time.

This is one of the traditional ways of preparing good-quality chicken broth.  It’s a bit quicker as much like making sourdough breads, you use the chicken base to intensify and to get the process going just as sourdough starter is used to increase the power of the yeast and the starter used in making the bread.  Keep this recipe handy as there’s nothing like making stock from scratch!

Now, I do understand that if this is too much for you to do on your own, well, you can use a prepared base such as one offered by the one-and-only Better-than-Bouillon®-brand.  These guys are very good, their products widely available in places like Smart and Final® stores or other pseudo-restaurant supply stores.  Always be on the lookout for this fabulous product as it’s the absolute next best thing.  Anyhow, here’s our potato dish:

(#830) SCALLOPED POTATOES BOLANGIERE



This is one of the more flavorful yet simple potato dishes that emanated from the classic works of the great French master chef, Auguste Escoffier, 1846-1935, the so-called “chef to kings and king of chefs.” This man—back in the day—perfected the art of French and Haute Cuisines by spending his entire lifetime in the pursuit of food preparation and in mastering the culinary arts.  We have all been influenced by this man and will continue to be as long as his cookbooks are sold. This is one of his best potato recipes:

Yield:  4-6 servings / Mis-en-place: approximately 1.5 hours:




Qty.
Measure
Item
Other
5
Each
Russet potatoes, peeled and sliced thin

1
Cup
Yellow onions, shredded paper-thin

2
Cups
Chicken stock

.5
Teaspoon
Kosher salt

.0125
Teaspoon
White pepper

.75
Teaspoons
Whole thyme

.125
Cup
Fine-diced scallions
Green part only
Hungarian paprika

1
Tablespoon
Minced fresh parsley
Rinsed



Method:

1.      Mis-en-place: have everything ready with which to work.  Have potatoes sliced into extremely thin rounds, as if you were going to make potato chips.  Keep in a container of lightly salted water until needed. 

2.      Heat the chicken stock on the stovetop in a saucepan and add the seasonings to it up to and including the thyme.   Preheat your standard oven to 400°F or your convection oven, fan “on,” to 350°F.  Spray a small casserole dish with PAM or some such other food release spray and have ready.  Drain the spuds, discarding the holding water, and pat dry with a towel. Spread out 2-3 loose rows of potato slices. Cover with the shredded yellow onions.

3.      Pour the hot stock atop the potatoes and then cover with a piece of aluminum foil sprayed with PAM.  Make sure the edges are tightly sealed so that the steam won’t escape—this is how you scallop and tenderize potatoes. Insert inside your preheated oven on its middle rack and bake for 45 minutes; check for tenderness at that point by sticking a paring knife dead-set into the center.  If they feel “tender” to the touch, uncover them, top with the scallions and shake paprika onto the top for color.  Return to the oven for a final 15 minutes.

4.      Remove from the oven and top with the fresh parsley flakes.  Allow the dish to rest for a moment or two so that the liquid sort of coalesces around the spuds and then they’re ready to serve.

This is an old French classic potato dish and goes well with baked poultry or steamed fish.  It is a simple dish for simple foods.  It’s versatile and will be the perfect accompaniment for a whole chicken with cucumber sauce or a tarragon sauce. Enjoy!

--------------------------------------------

As always, we have a great time around here and that is why we want all of you to become a part of the organization by submitting articles to us for inspection and full-credit.  It is a great thing if you would do this as it’s a symbiotic relationship: we give you the space to share your recipes and in return, you send us more and more people who will hopefully become dedicated followers of the END.  In this day and age of multi-diversity across the Internet, it is important that the voices of more and more people from all walks of the foodservice profession are heard—join us. We urge our readership to write to us and leave comments and if there are any of you, who would care to write an article for us, please get in touch via Magnolia Hilltop Brewers, P.O. Box 20669, Bakersfield, CA 93390-0669.  We obviously don’t pay anything but you will be given a full byline and that’s worth its weight in gold.  We want as many people who want to write to be able to do so and we believe that by presenting a forum for our fellow chefs, we are doing something for our beloved industry.  We love diversity and hope to add new and different authors to our pantheon of chefs, food and beverage directors, and culinary professionals.  Come on and join us, it’ll be fun! Expect that when all of us have run through our cycle, we will be introducing some brand-new talent or so I’m told.

Please remember to avoid doing business with AARC Technology in Bakersfield, CA.  These people don’t care about the small customer anymore but instead put all of their attentions onto their corporate customers. It’s sad to not remember why one has the success they do or from where it came.

All I can say is that it’s good to be back and that I feel privileged to be able to share with you the classic side dishes learned in my youth from the masters who taught me.  The most important thing to do is for you to respond to our blog posts by leaving comments or by sending cards and letters to our post office box address.  It is important that you do this as I’ve been informed that our blog will run the risk of being shut down due to inactivity on the part of the readership.  Please leave comments and permit either me or Stinkbug to answer them—it’s important that you do!                  

   Anyhow, let us close with this impassioned plea—please leave some comments and/or become a follower and why not spend some money and purchase an album by HOT TUNA and/or buy a cookbook from Amazon.com—we want to make some money here so help us out by buying something!  We are allied with them and are pleased to market their merchandise! See you next time around! Bye!  

Thank you, my friends!

Chef Fritz

Chef Fritz Schlependrecht

American Culinary Federation, Inc., CMC

This is me in 1985 at an American Culinary Convention back in 1987 taken as a collage of sorts.  I began my culinary career at age 10 working under my father, Chef Fritz, Sr., at his German restaurant in Southern California.  I moved to Bakersfield in 1982 and went to work at one of the hotels and remained there for the next 24 years prior to retiring.  Now, I spend my time writing culinary articles for various magazines enjoying the good life.  I’ve dedicated my entire lifetime to promoting the foodservice industry and in educating the young folks.

---30---

The END Commentary for Monday, May 14, 2012 by Chef Fritz Schlependrecht



Please note that everyone who writes for the Elemental News of the Day is their own person entitled to their own opinions, attitudes, and insanity so does not necessarily speak for all of us.  Thanks, Stinkbug.

REFERENCES:

This original essay was written by the one-and-only Chef Fritz Schlependrecht



Recipe created by Chef Fritz Schlependrecht on April 07, 1982 in Oildale, CA.

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