Gnocchi alla Spezzatino di Anitra

Potato Gnocchi with Duck Ragu
Tuscan Recipe

Yield: 10 portions

Gnocchi

2# Russet potatoes
4ea Egg yolks
10-12oz Bread flour
Pinch Salt, white pepper and nutmeg

Method
1. Bake potatoes at 400°F, until soft. Peel, and purée through large holes of food mill while still hot. Spread out on clean plastic wrap lined sheet pan, and cool.
2. Add egg yolks, melted butter, flour, salt, pepper, nutmeg, to the potatoes. Knead quickly, adding more flour if necessary to make a pliable dough.
3. Roll and shape gnocchi by making long ropes of 3/4 inch diameter. Then cut 3/4 inch chunks.

Spezzatino di Anitra
Stewed Duck Sauce

Yield: 10 portions

Olive oil
Butter
6ea Duck, legs
1 C Red onion, minced
2oz Celery, minced
2oz Carrots, minced
2oz Pancetta, minced
3 ea Rosemary sprigs
3ea Thyme sprigs
3ea Bay leaf
3tb Parsley leaves, (Italian) chopped
2tb Garlic minced
12ea Juniper berries, crushed
4ea Black peppercorns, crushed
2tb Tomato paste
TT Salt
1/4c Brandy
1/4c White wine
Chicken stock
Butter
Grated Parmesan

Method
1. Heat olive oil and butter, when butter is melted add duck pieces, and brown slowly, rendering out excess fat. Add vegetables sauté about 15-20 minutes. Add brandy and cook out.
2. Add broth, to cover by 1-inch, tomato paste, herbs and spices. Taste for seasoning. Braise on stovetop, slowly, for 2 hours or more time as needed. Cool and skim fat.
3. Scrape meat off bone and add to sauce. Sauce should be at a very thin nape’.
4. Monte in small ½ oz. cube of butter per portion. Serve with grated Parmigiano.

Early Day on Fish Section

I started my day early on fish.  As soon as I arrived I compressed apples and cucumbers for service.  I also setup my soup which was a creamed sweet potato.  While the soup was simmering I cooked off cockles and mussels and then chilled them down.  I had forgotten to make the compressed fennel so I quickly sliced and bagged that as well.  Shortly after, I made juillenne apples for salad.  The section was low on celeriac remoulade so that was the next task.  During lunch service the prep work continued.  I juiced some beets and carrorts for pickle brines and then I sliced smoked salmon for appetizers.  Lunch service was busy and ended quick.  While the section was getting reset for dinner I prepped out some Jeruselem artichokes for a puree.  They take a while to cook out so I picked some crab and made crab mix as well.  I concluded my day by helping organize the walk in and then bagging extra items to be frozen.

Back to Fish

I started back on fish station.  When I arrived I checked our prep list and then made soup.  I decided on a cream of celeriac soup with truffle oil.  While the soup was cooking down I started on making the daily compressed pickles.  Afterwards I made tomato petals for tomato concasse.  The next thing on the list was to wash spinach for service.  Just after getting this done one of the commis walked in.  He began the station setup while i cleaned samphire.  Service began but I was kept on prep so I prepped and blanched a couple of kilos of green beans.  Afterwards I picked shellfish.  Service had just started winding down and I was asked to make some more pickles.  I quickly diced a few apples and compressed them for service.  Dinner began and I continued prep.  I peeled and compressed some red baby beets and then moved on to prep livers for the parfait.  I cleaned the livers and then marinated them in sugar, curing salt and white port.  I ended my night by cutting some smoked salmon and cod for chowder, then wrapped up by bagging a handful of various items.

Bolognese Ragu with Pork and Beef

Yields 10 portions

Ingredients

2/3C  Pancetta, minced
2C  Onion, minced
1C  Carrot, minced
2/3C  Celery, minced
2T  Butter
2T  Olive oil
1#  Beef, lean, ground
1#  Pork, lean, ground
1/2c  Chicken livers, cleaned, minced
2c  White wine
6T  Tomato paste
TT  Salt
TT  Fine ground black pepper
TT  Nutmeg, fresh grated, added gradually
1Qt+  Chicken stock
2C Cream

Method

1. Render out pancetta gently in oil and butter until golden brown, use low to moderate heat.
2. Add onions, carrots and celery. Cook until lightly browned.
3. Add meat and cook until red color is just gone.
4. Add chicken livers, and cook until just barely done.
5. Add wine and cook out alcohol.
6. Add tomato paste, and mix in well, cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Add stock.
7. Bring to simmer. Cover and simmer for 2 hours. Add more broth if necessary.
8. After 2 hours, remove cover. Simmer uncovered if necessary to reduce liquid if too runny.
9. Add cream to finish.

Notes

A traditional bolognese requires long slow cooking. Each step in the process is important. While every chef in Bologna has his or hers own version, the slow cooking and care given, determines the quality.  Add salt and pepper gradually as necessary. it is important to season gradually, and to build up flavors. Add nutmeg gradually, it should be used carefully.  This recipe can be used over any pasta or even in lasagna.

Duck, Chicken and Sirloin Smackdown

As I mentioned meat section has been quite behind.  I wanted to help my team members get caught up so I came in a few hours early.

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I started off by setting up beef stock to simmer for the day.  Afterwards I did my usual section setup as well as steaming potatoes for mash.  I helped by chopping herb garnishes as well as stocking up on other items as to create a surplus for the week.  As the day progressed my partners came in.  I did a large amount of vacuum sealing for various items.  Then we had a quick briefing before service.

Service started fast with tickets coming in as soon as we opened.  Rather then the usual menu items I was responsible for seared duck as well as a seven ounce sirloin.  Both items out sold the chicken dish that is usually very popular.  The interesting fact I learned about the duck was that it should actually be seared in a dry pan.  All items are always cooked in a medium of some sort of fat.  Duck is unique because as it cooks thr fat renders out causing the skin to crisp and generate its own fat.

I was working the station solo once again and had no problems for the entire service.  It really is rewarding to work a station and have fun at the same time.  It makes me enjoy my job even more.

Easy Service

The cover count was looking pretty small for the day.  I came in and gathered my mise en place for service.  I followed it by setting up my starches and then jumped on prep.  I threw on a large batch of chicken stock for the kitchen and then began slicing onions.  I was also tasked with making an onion broth, which is essentially strained French onion soup made with chicken stock.  There is an addition of onion brule which helps enrich the color and flavor of the broth.  Afterwards I jumped on searing off a few chicken breasts to make service easier.  I then finished my section setup by reheating sauces and purees as well as finishing my mashed potatoes and panning up the remaining starch.  Half an hour before service, Chef held our daily briefing and went over a few training items.

Service started slow with tickets casually rolling in.  I had both braised beef cheek as well as chicken coming off my section.  Both dishes are equally popular so I was kept busy.  Brendan was working the pass again today and service breezed by.

Meat section is a simple station that requires good mental organization and speed.  After many days working it, I have determined it is leaps and bounds easier than fish section.  Rather than worrying about timing items, meat is really just a matter of properly cooking or picking up items.  I find it fun and during a busy night I’m certain it would be excellent.  I am reverting back go fish for a few days after my days off.  For the remainder of my stay I will be splitting my time between both sections.

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Dominating

As per usual the day commenced by setting up for mashed potatoes.  While they were cooking I began my section setup.  Breakfast service was pretty slow so I managed to get it 90% completed pretty quick. Shortly after I put on my cream and butter and riced the potatoes.  I then heated up my purees for service and put the finishing touches on the section.  While I was waiting for service to commence I assisted by chopping some chives.  Around one the tickets started rolling in.  We had a group of 70 who was dining throughout the day so things went pretty smoothly.  This was only part of the 100 plus reservations we had slated.  I worked the station solo with Brendan on the pass.  We stayed busy all day and service closed around half four.  Before I departed I vac packed a few purees and helped fish section who was behind.

Service in one word: supberb.  I dominated the station by myself having my garnishes and main items up and ready before fish and before they could ask.  I was always ready and I didn’t miss a single ticket.  It was by far the best experience I have had at the Shelbourne and it turned some heads.  I will be working raw bar tomorrow just for a day then I will be back on meats. 

Still Cracking On

I was still on the AM shift for meat section.  When I walked in breakfast was in a frenzy.
I started to get my section setup but it was far to busy.  I threw some potatoes in the oven for mash and then helped my partners with a few small tasks.  Things started to die down around half 10.  At this point I began my setup.  I continued to help prep after.  Service started around half 12 and we got slammed with the first lunch rush.  We opened up the menu to allow a venison dish.  This resulted in an even heavier load on the station.  Around half two everything began to simmer down.  Tickets casually rolled in and I worked the section solo.  We had two super late tables so I didn’t get to do my breakdown until half five.

Based on her overall tone I was given the impression that Mary, my section partner, was not pleased with my performance.  I personally thought I did alright.  The exective chef was asking for things here and there but compared to fish, who was getting ridden, we were doing fine.  I will never talk back in a kitchen to any superior but I really wanted to tell Mary that getting flustered does nothing to help service along.  We cleanly served over 100 people smoothly.  I work meat again tomorrow and I look forward to it.

Picking Up the Slack

I arrived early to both my section partners chugging away with prep.  The meat section demi chefs left the station in a very poor state and as a result we have been playing catch up all week.  I did the usual.  I threw my potatoes in the steamer and began to gather my mise en place and equipment for the section.  The kitchen was pretty packed with over 10 chefs on deck.  Breakfast service was weeded and my partners ended up spending their morning help them dig out.  I was working with Mary again.  The executive chef was working the pass and calling tickets so we had to be on our A game. 

It was an average day with a massive early push near the start.  We got hit with a spread of our menu items making service fast paced and interesting.  I had a few slip ups but I felt pretty good about everything.  I have noticed that I need to move faster on the station.  Mary is constantly giving me three and four tasks to do at once and by the time I complete a few she’s asking for the other items.  My overall presence on the line has increased and I am much more confident with the steps and intricacies of service.  I am remaining on this station for a while so I am excited to see what other growth I will experience. 

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