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schnitzel: Chez Jacques

schnitzel's picture

I have always admired Jacques Pépin, he is my culinary hero.

His latest book is beautiful: Chez Jacques: Traditions and Rituals of a Cook, and it has an eclectic mix of recipes. I will focus on his cooking techniques, work through the book keeping in mind the seasons, and availability of ingredients. 

This will be a fun journey.

Table of contents for Chez Jacques

Edited 10/6/2007 8:18 am ET by schnitzel

soupereasy's picture

(post #67183, reply #40 of 551)

Going to try that. Like so many of his foods, he takes the ordinary and just makes it lovely!

SallyBR1's picture

(post #67183, reply #41 of 551)

Isn't that true?

his broccoli puree from Fast Food MW - is a staple now in our house. I make it often. It takes broccoli to a higher level, it goes well with so many dishes: fish, chicken, pork, beef



"You don't scare me. I've got a Jack Russell and he is the Chief"

schnitzel's picture

(post #67183, reply #44 of 551)

Southern-style Fried Chicken and Corn Bread Sticks

As usual, there is a warm intro to the recipes, his recollection of being introduced to fried chicken and hush puppies at Craig Claiborne's house, and then his experiences working in Howard Johnson's test kitchen, etc. Love his stories.

Actually, this is my second attempt at the recipe, first made it when the book arrived. Had a few problems the first time, mostly of my own doing. The chicken was larger than the recipe states, 4.5 lb instead of 3 lb. Used an electric frying pan because I like the temperature control, but the pan was too shallow for this. The topside was still soft and floury, definitely needed more cooking. The chicken ended up tasting very good but I wanted to try the recipe again.

So this time, bought a 3.5 lb chicken (smallest I could find) and cut it into pieces. The chicken soaks in buttermilk, Tabasco, and salt all day. Armed myself with a 9 qt. Le Creuset oven to fry it in. Dredge the pieces in self-rising flour and fry, covered, until golden brown. He doesn't mention turning the pieces over, but I did so they'd cook evenly. Also cooked the chicken a bit longer, to our liking.  An overall better experience this time, and the chicken was again, very good. DH wants me to fry chicken more often. 

Corn Bread Sticks...
First time the corn sticks stuck badly to the pan, most likely do to my poorly seasoned pan, so I worked on that. Also decided to try the ol' sprinkle-the-pan-with-cornmeal trick, to help release the corn sticks next time. And try placing the cast-iron pan directly on the baking stone instead of a cookie sheet.

Jacques' corn stick pan must be larger than mine, as I had too much batter leftover the first time. The recipe should yield 7 corn sticks, and I got 11. So, I reduced the amount of batter this time, but still got 2 extra corn sticks. It'll need further adjustment, but at least the corn sticks came out of the pan beautifully this time, I'm very pleased about that. And I properly seasoned the pan once again just for good measure. Ah, the wonders of bacon fat.

Oh, btw... you can watch Jacques cut up a chicken in the beginning of this video, I've been studying it very carefully.

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Marcia's picture

(post #67183, reply #45 of 551)

Your fried chicken and corn sticks are both beautiful. They remind me of the chicken and corn sticks I grew up with, and my mother and grandmother were great cooks.

beebuzzled's picture

(post #67183, reply #46 of 551)

That makes me want to pack up and go for a picnic. Nice.


Why is the rum always gone?  Captain Jack Sparrow
Why is the rum always gone?  Captain Jack Sparrow
Jean's picture

(post #67183, reply #47 of 551)

I never thought I wanted one of those corn bread thingies until now!  Looks wonderful!!

Birthdays are good for you. The more you have, the longer you live.

A  clear conscience is usually the sign of a bad memory.
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Wolvie's picture

(post #67183, reply #48 of 551)

looks and sounds very tasty!

"Progress lies not in enhancing what is, but in advancing toward what will be."

Kahlil Gabran


soupereasy's picture

(post #67183, reply #49 of 551)

Nice job!

schnitzel's picture

(post #67183, reply #50 of 551)

Thanks, everyone, I really appreciate it. My photos can't compare to the ones in Chez Jacques, but feel it's important to share my results, visually, when possible.

On another note, about following recipes (pg.12), Jacques says: "I want to give freedom to the cook..." and "my goal is to excite the imagination rather than set limits in a structured recipe." He goes on a bit further about this, and in the next chapter: The Anatomy of a Recipe.

That said, I will follow his recipes closely for the purpose of this project.

Lee's picture

(post #67183, reply #154 of 551)

Gosh that looks good!  I haven't made (or eaten) fried chicken in sooooo long. 

schnitzel's picture

(post #67183, reply #156 of 551)

Thank you! I've made the fried chicken twice since I bought the book and DH asks me when I'm making it again, he loves it. I think next time I'll do all thighs.

schnitzel's picture

(post #67183, reply #51 of 551)

A lovely Easter Dinner with three recipes from the book.

Grilled Spicy Leg of Lamb
Gratin Dauphinois
Green Beans, steamed, buttered (not in the book)
Caramel Custard

Grilled Spicy Leg of Lamb
The most time consuming part is carefully removing the fat. Then the lamb marinates overnight in hoisin sauce, balsamic vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, and Tabasco. It goes on the grill to brown all over, about 10 minutes; then into a 275°F oven until desired doneness, mine took about 1 1/2 hr. for rare. This was very good. Spicy on the outside, but not too much, just right. I would make this again.

Gratin Dauphinois
I've never made this before, have always made mom's scalloped potatoes. Jacques' recipe is so easy. Used a mandoline to slice 2 lb. peeled, red potatoes; these cook briefly on the stovetop with a quart half & half, garlic, and s&p. Then top with some grated Swiss and parmesan cheese and into the oven to cook for an hour @ 400°F. It gets these dark brown spots on top that are yummy, it just looks burnt. Okay, I may have left it in the oven a skosh too long, but still very good. Will gladly make this again.

Caramel Custard
I remember this from my childhood, my Swedish grandmother made it, not my mom. As usual, followed his recipe closely and all seemed well, but it came out looking sorta abstract. Jacques does warn about the custard possibility splitting after unmolding. So, will try this again, definitely something I'd like to perfect. It had a very soft, creamy texture and it tasted great... just looks funny. (g)

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Glenys's picture

(post #67183, reply #52 of 551)

Your custard will be less likely to crack if it's made a full day ahead, like brûlée.

As for your pronounciation, it's basically daw-fan, since it's masculin; dauphine, the feminin, would be daw-feen.

schnitzel's picture

(post #67183, reply #53 of 551)

Yup, Jacques recommends making it a day ahead, so that's what I did.

Glenys's picture

(post #67183, reply #54 of 551)

The clue is, if properly set, there's no need to use a knife to release it. Use two thumbs and pull away from the dish in a spot and that releases the vacuum. It fill invert out without cracking and no knife marks.

schnitzel's picture

(post #67183, reply #55 of 551)

I could try that next time. Jacques suggests running a knife around the edge while rotating the mold, so I followed his instructions.

soupereasy's picture

(post #67183, reply #56 of 551)

Looks really good! I love caramel custard, seems all one can find anymore is the creme brullee.
As you cook more from the book it seems less like a coffee table tome and more user friendly. :)

schnitzel's picture

(post #67183, reply #57 of 551)

Thanks, caramel custard is comfort food.

Even Jacques referred to it as a coffee table book, but I'm finding it very user friendly. And although I have been choosing some easy recipes to start, the more involved ones look quite doable. I can't decide what to try next.

soupereasy's picture

(post #67183, reply #58 of 551)

Those potatoes looked so good, I have a pan of them in the oven. Agree with the comfort food issue. Feeling a bit sorry for myself, have to go get some more cortisone in my thumb tomorrow. If you would like to send me some caramel custard, would love it! ;)

schnitzel's picture

(post #67183, reply #59 of 551)

Ouch, best wishes for your thumb... so sorry, the caramel custard has been consumed.

soupereasy's picture

(post #67183, reply #60 of 551)

That's OK... those potatoes were wonderful!
Can't wait until you try the saucisson of pork tenderloin! Keeping an eye on you.:)

schnitzel's picture

(post #67183, reply #61 of 551)

Aren't those potatoes good? We finished the rest of them off tonight.

Yes, that saucisson of pork tenderloin... I think that one also tempted Gretchen.

soupereasy's picture

(post #67183, reply #64 of 551)

Ok, the saucisson of pork. Had you planned on the kosher salt or were you going to try the Morton Tender Quick?
What kind of cotton cloth would one use to wrap? Get a remnant?
Don't mean to be pushy, but seems that I can be! :)

schnitzel's picture

(post #67183, reply #65 of 551)

I have Morton Tender Quick on my shopping list. Also plan to visit the meat market in New Haven where Jacques likes to shop to buy knockwurst, etc. So hopefully I'll be able to find it somewhere, that's plan A. Plan B would be using the kosher salt.

Figure I'll use cheesecloth to wrap the pork, and really feel better about hanging it in the fridge to dry.

Wolvie's picture

(post #67183, reply #66 of 551)

Morton Tender Quick? would this be another name for msg?? Remember that stuff called "Accent" from years gone by? I think that was msg.

I've been thinking about getting this book. But I blew my Birthday budget with those pepper mills. It was funny that Lee asked about the mills at just that moment. ;-)

"Progress lies not in enhancing what is, but in advancing toward what will be."

Khalil Gibran


schnitzel's picture

(post #67183, reply #67 of 551)

Nope. It's a curing salt: Morton Tender Quick. I can sorta fudge the formula, if necessary. Anyway, I'm off to the market today to see if it's available around here.

Edited 4/18/2007 8:29 am ET by schnitzel

Wolvie's picture

(post #67183, reply #68 of 551)

whew. ;-)

I'll have to look for that.

"Progress lies not in enhancing what is, but in advancing toward what will be."

Khalil Gibran


schnitzel's picture

(post #67183, reply #69 of 551)

I hit three stores this morning and no luck. Maybe the meat market will have it.

Aberwacky's picture

(post #67183, reply #70 of 551)

Try a meat market--they usually carry it around here.

Edited to add: size of a 4-pound bag of sugar, blue bag.


Cooking is messy.  Deal with it or stay out of the kitchen.

Edited 4/11/2007 4:40 pm by Aberwacky

"Happiness does not depend on outward things, but on the way we see them." 
-Leo Tolstoy
Gretchen's picture

(post #67183, reply #96 of 551)

It is very available in our supermarkets--on the bottom shelf where the salt is--and as Mrs.Wacky says, a big dark blue bag.  So what kind of saucisson is it? I made some garlic sausage a while back that I need to smoke when I do a batch of something.  May do some summer sausage too, since I have a great abundance of Tender Quick! Hope you find it. I can mail an envelope of it!!