Our mission here at The Chopping Block is to get you cooking. We know life can get in the way, but cooking at home is more healthful and less expensive than eating out, and it brings people together.
To get you off on the right start, we have created a new and exciting experience designed to jump start your culinary journey in our Essential Building Blocks class. Our experienced chefs will teach you the fundamentals of how to confidently make better decisions in the kitchen, cook delicious meals by educating your taste buds, and explore the basic science and techniques all cooks should know. After completing this building block class, your newfound knowledge will give your skills in the kitchen a huge boost in the right direction, allowing you to be more inspired by your own palate. Your view of cooking may even be transformed!
We designed this class to cover the most valuable, top ten culinary techniques including:
- Knife skills
- Flavor dynamics
- Stock making
- Preparing roux
- Making velouté
- Roasting meat and vegetables
You'll spend time honing your knife skills, understanding proper cooking techniques for specific cuts of meat, preparing classical sauces, and discovering how the five basic tastes: Salty, Sweet, Bitter, Sour and Umami play such an important role in being a successful cook.
One of the recipes featured in the class is Tuscan Braised Chicken with Kale, Fennel and Cannellini Beans. The reason why this recipe was chosen is because it encompasses an immense amount of fundamental skills all cooks should know. From selecting poultry and browning meat, to deglazing and reducing, cutting vegetables and caramelizing, balancing flavors and braising, and working with dark leafy greens and fresh herbs, it's one of many recipes in the course designed to give you a solid and well rounded knowledge of key culinary skills. And, it's the perfect dish for a cold winter day.
Tuscan Braised Chicken with Kale, Fennel and Cannellini Beans
Yield: 4 servings
Active time: 40 minutes
Start to finish: 1 hour, 30 minutes
1 tablespoon grapeseed oil
1/4 pound pancetta, medium dice
4 chicken thighs
4 chicken legs
Salt and pepper to taste
1 small onion, thinly sliced
1 fennel bulb, medium dice
1 stalk celery, medium dice
1 carrot, peeled and cut into medium dice
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup white wine
1 cup canned crushed tomatoes
2 cups chicken stock
1 bay leaf
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 bunch kale, stems removed, leaves torn into strips
One 12-ounce can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 teaspoon fresh oregano, rough chopped
1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, finely chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated
1. Heat a heavy pot over medium heat, and add the grapeseed oil. Add the pancetta and cook, stirring occasionally, until crispy. Remove from the pan and set aside.
2. Season the chicken with salt and pepper to taste. Sear the chicken, skin side down, until golden brown and crisp. Flip and repeat. Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside.
3. Sauté the onion, fennel, celery and carrot in the same pan, stirring occasionally, until lightly caramelized, about 10 minutes.
4. Add the garlic and cook an additional minute.
5. Deglaze the pan with the white wine, and allow to reduce by half of its original volume.
6. Return the chicken to the pan and add the tomatoes, chicken stock, bay leaf and vinegar. Bring to a boil, and then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook, covered, until the chicken is tender, about 45 minutes.
7. Transfer the chicken to a plate, and cover with foil to keep warm.
8. Stir in the kale and beans into the stew, and simmer until the kale is tender, about 10 minutes.
9. Stir in the reserved pancetta, oregano and rosemary. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
10. Spoon the stew into a shallow bowl, and top with the chicken. Garnish with a grating of Parmesan cheese.
Whether you're totally new to cooking, or have some experience but want to further hone your skills, our Essential Building Blocks course is the perfect opportunity to start building the foundation for a lifetime of more home cooked meals with people you love.
And, if you're on the fence about our Culinary Boot Camp program, this is an excellent class to help get your feet wet, and experience a small taste of our most comprehensive course available.