An Afternoon of Braising Chicken and Making Roux

As the interns from David Douglas High School filed in for the day, they sat down, brought out their notebooks, and went over plans for the rest of the semester. From catering a number of events to a field trip to the Portland Farmer’s Market, they had much to buzz about.

This energy carried over as Chef Ramona reviewed the different types of roux and provided a brief overview of what to expect as you cook. For those who don’t know, roux is used as a base or emulsifier in dishes, such as sauce and soups, and is the combination of cooking flour with fat. Most people might use butter…but olive oil or bacon grease both make excellent fat choices! Chef informed the interns that they were to braise the chicken they broke down in a previous class and then complete the meal by making a roux. After preparing the chicken and roux, they were going to practice potato cuts, which they would then be free to cook and experiment with.

Off they went!  Without a single recipe given the groups started preparing a flour mix to bread their chicken with. Amongst the jovial atmosphere, the interns also eagerly showed off their skills, asking each other for advice and bringing questions up to Chef.

An hour later, as chicken sat cooking in its roux, the clock was ticking and kitchen phrases, such as “hot pan!”, “behind!” and “knife coming through!”, could be heard coming from every direction as the interns rushed to plate their food. Every plate looked different and it was evident that each intern had given great attention to detail when finishing their product.

The interns grinned as they gathered around to admire each other’s hard work. Chef Ramona went down the line and offered both compliments and advice, though compliments certainly dominated the stage.

And with that, we concluded our class. Again, the fast pace of the kitchen returned as the interns boxed up their meals and cleaned the kitchen.

Next week our interns will tackle meat, vegetarian, and vegan lasagna.

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