As we devoured our bowl of gumbo, Chef Michael began to saute the sausage. Once they were the perfect color, he moved the sausages to one side of the pot, and ladled in a little bit of chicken stock. All those drippings dissolved right into the broth and added another layer of flavor. It’s very important to get all those brown bits!
Then he added some green onions,
added the rest of the stock, and covered the pot.
As he waited for the jambalaya to come to a boil, he started on the pralines. First he melted the butter and sugar together. You see that block of lard? He didn’t use it in the pralines lol. He was just showing us that lard was a fantastic choice when making roux or other savory dishes. Since a few people in class didn’t eat lard, he used butter in all the recipes that day.
When the sugar had fully melted into the butter, he added in the milk and vanilla extract.
Next he threw in the toasted chopped up pecans and cooked everything until it reached a softball stage. Chef Michael explained that we could check the stages by dropping a little of the cooked praline into a measuring glass filled with cool water. Once in the water, you can use your fingers to form the cooled syrup into a ball. It’s ready if it easily forms into a ball while in the cold water, but flattens once removed. Pretty cool tip!
Here he is transferring the pecan pralines onto a piece of parchment paper. The room smelled SOO GOOODDDDDD.
While we waited for the pralines to cool, he added cooked rice and the “Holy Trinity” (Onions, Celery, Green Pepper) into the jambalaya pot and stirred.
Aww yeah it’s jambalaya time! The flavor was rich, deep (must be from the dark roux), and not spicy. It had a little kick, but it wasn’t like the other jambalaya I had had before. Chef Michael explained that real Louisiana Jambalaya was supposed to be flavorful (cause of their roux technique), and many restaurants cover the lack of flavor with more spice. That totally makes sense.
With gumbo, jambalaya, and pralines done… what else could be next? Bananas foster of course! Chef Michael dimmed the lights to set the mood, and began to melt the butter.
Once the butter was melted, he added in brown sugar and began to cook everything until it formed a creamy caramel color.
Then added in sliced bananas, banana liqueur, and rum.
He lit the pan and we got FLAMES! It was so exciting!!!
Here was the pan after he served everyone. Look at that delicious caramelized sauce. Imagine it drizzled on top of french toast… mmmmm.
This sweet, caramel-y, banana-y, rum-y, goodness was poured over vanilla ice cream.
Of course we didn’t forget about the pralines! Look at all those nuts. The flavor was sweet, buttery, rich, and the toasted pecans were perfect.
And that concluded the morning class at New Orleans School of Cooking! Stay tuned cause we went back that same afternoon for another course. Yup, more photos of food and the awesome Chef Michael :)