Last Sunday afternoon was spent at the Farmer’s Market Sur La Table “Knife Cutting Essentials” class run by Martin Gilligan, former Executive Chef at the Kyoto Grand Hotel and Gardens in downtown Los Angeles. It was an education long overdue for me as my chopping, slicing and dicing skills up to this point have been self-taught and rather inefficient by my own admission.
By the end of the three-hour class, I was by no means an expert on rondelle, paysanne, and chiffonade techniques, but I was well on my way. And I finally managed to bring home some new cutlery, also long overdue. Don’t let the photo above mislead you – I did not buy five high-end nearly identical chef’s knives. But the knife experts at Sur La Table are happy to let you try them all out to see which is the best fit for your hand. If you haven’t taken your local gourmet cooking utensil store up on the opportunity to hack some of your life frustrations out on a few willing baby potatoes and a carrot with an abuse fetish, I advise you to add it to your Bucket List pronto.
From the piles of chopped vegetables produced by myself and the fourteen or so other members of the class, Chef Gilligan and his sous chefs created an entire menu for us all to enjoy, and this menu is a spin on the chicken dish that was served.
Señor Verde’s Baked Chicken with Hot Pepper Gravy
- 4 chicken breasts pounded to 1/2 thickness
- 1 bell pepper, roughly chopped
- 1/2 white onion, roughly chopped
- 1 jalapeño pepper, finely chopped (your choice about taking out the seeds – I kept ’em in, but I like it hot – I also added a few pickled jalapeño slices from the fridge)
- 1 avocado, cut into four slices
- 1 Roma tomato, diced
- 1/2 bottle of white wine
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1/4 cup red pepper flakes
- salt and pepper to taste
- shredded cheese of your choice for topping (I used sharp cheddar with a little Havarti with dill)
Sear the chicken in a well-heated pan. Remove and place into your baking dish.
Preheat oven to 450°
Without cleaning the pan, add some olive oil and all vegetables. Let cook, stirring regularly, until the vegetables turn soft and the onions begin to brown. Add in the white wine. Stir until the mixture is simmering. Add in the red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Add in flour, a little at a time, and stir regularly until mixed in. Once the flour is completely combined, add your cream using the same method. Bring to a simmer and then let continue to simmer for five minutes.
Pour the contents over the chicken in your baking dish and top with the sliced avocados. Cover with foil
Place dish in the oven for 50 minutes. At the 20 minute mark, use a fork to begin to break apart the cooking avocado, so it spreads over a larger area of the chicken. Repeat at the 40 minute mark. For the last ten minutes, take off the foil, top chicken with the shredded cheese and let cook uncovered. Remove and let cool for several minutes before serving.