I have never backed away from a challenge. So when a mystery box arrived on my doorstep from Essential Cuisine, with the challenge to create a French dish using the mystery ingredients supplied as well as Essential Cuisine stock, how could I say no. They were even kind enough to throw in a voucher so I could purchase any proteins I may need.
The brief was to choose a cuisine, either Spanish, French, Middle Eastern or Asian. Then a selected mystery box was sent out for me to challenge myself with. I chose French as when I think stock I automatically think classic French cooking. The next step was to create a restaurant worthy entree or main.
Why restaurant quality? Well because I am not the only one participating in this challenge. The winning entree or main will win a dinner for four at Marque in Surry Hills.
My box contained wonderful staples, parsley, thyme, mushrooms, garlic, white onions, potato and chopped tinned tomatoes. As well as the Essential Cuisine range of, lamb stock, beef stock, chicken stock, classic lamb jus with red wine and classic beef jus with red wine.
I have always loved a rich and creamy veloute, the type that makes you want to thrust your face into your bowl and lick every last inch of it clean. One of my recent favourites was the white bean veloute at Assiette. I have to say that I am impressed with the dish I came up with.
What I love, is this is an easy to do ahead dish, to a degree. The veloute, prosciutto crumb and confit garlic (up to frying stage) can be made the day before if you are time poor.
The flavours work so well together and the dish presents with a lovely stylish flare. It really is a treasure of combinations, velvety creamy veloute, crisp deep fried confit garlic (soft on the inside, crispy on the outside), salty prosciutto crumbs all lifted with fresh thyme leaves.
A classy, delicious starter for your next dinner party.
- 70gm unsalted butter
- 2 white onions, very thinly sliced
- 1 leek, white part only, thinly sliced width wise
- 1 potato (about 150gms), thinly sliced
- 500ml chicken stock
- thyme leaves (to serve)
- 12 cloves of garlic
- 4 tablespoons seasoned plain flour
- 1 egg, beaten
- ¼ cup breadcrumbs
- Canola/vegetable oil
- 4 slices of prosciutto
- Peel garlic cloves and place in a small saucepan. Cover completely with oil. Heat until just under simmering point and cook for 40-50 minutes until garlic is soft and has turned a light golden colour. Remove garlic from saucepan with a slotted spoon and drain well. Put saucepan and the oil to one side for later use.
- Place prosciutto on a baking tray that has been lined with baking paper. Place in a 180 degree C oven and bake until crisp. Once prosciutto is cool, place in a bowl and crumble it up to small pieces.
- Melt butter in a heavy based saucepan, which has a lid, over a low heat until it is foaming. Add onions and leek and cooked covered until soft and tender. Stir the mixture occasionally so it does not catch or colour. This will take approximately 25 minutes.
- Add the thinly sliced potato and stock to the onions. Bring to a simmer and stir. Then replace lid and leave on gentle simmer until potato is tender, approximately 15 minutes.
- While potato is cooking, place flour, egg and breadcrumbs in separate bowls. Cover confit garlic first in flour, then dip in the egg and finish by coating in bread crumbs.
- Reheat your reserved oil in the saucepan. Test oil temperature with a breadcrumb, if it instantly sizzles you are ready. Cook crumbed garlic in hot oil until golden brown. Drain on absorbent paper.
- Once the potato is tender and falling apart, blend the onion/potato mixture with a hand held stick blender until smooth and creamy. Season to taste.
- Divide veloute between four serving bowls. Decorate with confit garlic cloves, prosciutto crumb and thyme leaves. Serve immediately.
Essential Cuisine is a premium range of chilled stocks and jus. The stocks will retail for approximately $4.49, jus $7.29 and will be available from this month at selected Harris Farm, Thomas Dux and other specialty gourmet grocers.
Do tell dear Belly Rumbles’ reader, when you think stock what cuisine springs to your mind?