Friday, December 16, 2011

50 Women Game Changers in Food - #28 Anne-Sophie Pic - Chicken Nuggets

From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...To understand the accomplishments of Anne-Sophie Pic, it helps to know that, worldwide, only 13 percent of women are executive chefs. She is one of the very few who have earned that title and then gone on to earn the prestigious Michelin three-star award for her restaurant, Maison Pic.

While she was born to a cooking dynasty, she had not planned to become a chef. Her father and grandfather were both Michelin 3-star chefs, but she had planned on a career in international business. That changed when the sudden death of her father sent the restaurant into a tailspin. She was 22 at the time, but she put her plans aside, donned an apron and went to work in the kitchen to help where she could. Five years later she became executive chef, displacing her brother who had lost the kitchen's third star. In 2007 she regained the lost star and went on, with the help of her husband, David Sinapian, to establish a culinary empire that included the legendary Maison Pic, a bistro, a cooking school and another Michelin two-star restaurant in Switzerland. In 2011, she was also the first recipient of the Veuve Clicquot Best Female Chef Award. She has earned her position on the Gourmet Live list of 50 Women Game-Changers in Food. She is extremely well organized and her ability to delegate has allowed her to spend evenings with her son. The recipe I'm featuring today was developed for him. It seems even great chefs have children who are picky eaters.

I committed to this recipe without giving it a proper read. It sounded easy and I though it would be perfect for this very busy week. I belatedly discovered that these "simple" chicken nuggets are made using a technique called sous-vide. This is a process in which foods are cooked at a very low temperature while submersed in a hot-water bath. The food must, of course, be tightly wrapped and, if possible, vacuum sealed. This is not part of my standard cooking repertoire, but I was determined to make it work and learn something in the process. I must say the nuggets are very nice. I can't say they were worth the effort it took to make them. This is a recipe for cooks who like to play and experiment in the kitchen. I had fun with it, but it will not become part of my regular rotation. I don't normally include photos with my recipe directions but I thought they might be needed here. Here's the recipe for those of you who would like to try it.

Anne-Sophie Pic's Chicken Nuggets - Nuggets de Volaille...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite courtesy of Anne-Sophie Pic

14 oz. skinless and boneless breast of chicken, raw
1 cup very cold heavy cream(put 15 minutes in the freezer)
1 egg white
Salt and pepper
A bowl of all-purpose flour (about 1 cup)
A bowl of beaten eggs (between 3 to 4 eggs)
A bowl of breadcrumbs (about 2 cups)
Oil for frying

1) Cut chicken into very small dice. Put a quarter of the chicken aside and place remainder in a food processor. Add egg white, cream and salt and pepper to taste and process. When the "chicken paste" is smooth, scrape into a large mixing bowl, add the remaining diced chicken and stir. Season again if necessary. Put this mixture in the freezer for 15 minutes.
2) Roll out a large rectangle of plastic film on a working surface. Place chicken paste in a pastry bag and form a long 1-1/4 inches "sausage" on the center of the plastic wrap (leave room at the ends to tie the film). Wrap the paste tightly in the film, roll on the work surface, and knot the ends. If you have enough paste, you can make two "sausages".
3) Boil water in a large saucepan, reduce to a simmer and cook the nugget roll(s) for 25 minutes. Remove them, let cool and cut into 0.4 inch slices. See photos below for a step by step tutorial.
4) For the breading process, prepare three bowls filled respectively with: flour, beaten eggs and breadcrumbs. Dip each slice of chicken successively in these three plates (1-Flour, 2-beaten eggs, 3-breadcrumbs). Fry in hot oil until golden brown on both sides. Remove from the pan and drain on paper towels. Serve hot. Yield: 20 to 24 nuggets.

The following bloggers are also featuring the recipes of Anne-Sophie Pic today. I hope you'll visit all of them. They are great cooks who have wonderful blogs.

Val - More Than Burnt Toast, Joanne - Eats Well With Others, Taryn - Have Kitchen Will Feed Susan - The Spice Garden, Claudia - A Seasonal Cook in Turkey, Heather - girlichef
Miranda - Mangoes and Chutney, Jeanette - Healthy Living, April - Abby Sweets
Katie - Making Michael Pollan Proud, Mary - One Perfect Bite, Kathleen - Bake Away with Me
Viola - The Life is Good Kitchen, Sue - The View from Great Island, Barbara - Movable Feasts Kathleen - Gonna Want Seconds, Amy - Beloved Green, Linda - Ciao Chow Linda
Linda A - There and Back Again, Martha - Lines from Linderhof, Nancy - Picadillo
Mireya - My Healthy Eating Habits, Veronica - My Catholic Kitchen
Annie - Most Lovely Things, Claudia - Journey of an Italian Cook


Mary at Deep South Dish said...

Interesting, and tasty I'm betting!

Ginny said...

We watch the Top Chef shows all the time, and this is a term the chefs use a lot! And they cook things this way, too. I never really knew what it was till now!!

Food, Fun and Life in the Charente said...

Oh Mary I do that so often, take on a recipe and then only read it properly when I am half way through!! It is good though to try different methods and I am sure it was really worth the effort :) Keep well Diane

Coleen said...

You are a dedicated cook, I don't think I would have tried this one. GREAT tutorial though.

Zee said...

Interesting.. I could never think of making nuggets this way.. this is just plain awesomeness!

Heather @ said...

Yeah, I tend to think of sous vide as a restaurant-cooking method, lol. I don't do it at home unless it's an extreme circumstance ;) I like that you kept with the recipe you chose, though...they look perfect!

Jenn said...

I was really excited when I saw this recipe because Chris loves chicken nuggets and I'm always trying to figure out a way to make them from scratch. They have never turned out that good. But this one does sound pretty labor intensive.. don't suppose I could talk you into flying to Arizona and showing me how to do it, huh? :)

bellini said...

I had planned on making these "nuggets" myself until I actually read the instrictions. You did a great job Mary!

Tanna at The Brick Street Bungalow said...

She certainly applied her interest in international business to her role as executive chef very well. Love to learn of such successful women. Thank you, Mary. Have to admit I was excited about a possible Little Man recipe... but am probably going to have stick to Chick-fil-a nuggets! ;) That one might be out of my range! blessings ~ tanna

Kim said...

The nuggets looks really good! i shall give them a try sometime!

Sue/the view from great island said...

Your results do look perfect, Mary, even though the method was a little strange. It was fun to see your steps---imagine, slice and bake chicken!

StephenC said...

I guarantee you that there is a method for making these that is much more practical. And let's face it, you don't get Michelin stars for making nuggets. It ain't rocket science.

Clint said...

Man!---that IS a lotta work! But I bet it is wonderful!

What's Baking?? said...

My kids would love this..:D Merry Christmas, Mary and wish you a blessed one!

Jeanette said...

Wow, these are your ordinary chicken nuggets by any stretch of the imagination! Thanks for the tutorial pictures - looks like a lot of work, but they are gorgeous.

Joanne said...

I've heard of sous vide-ing but always thought you needed a special machine to do it with! Love that you did it at home!

That Girl said...

It's amazing how our lives can change so quickly like hers did.

Mireya @myhealthyeatinghabits said...

This is the same type mousse that Chefs use for terrines. Who would have thought chicken nuggets? Great step by step photos.

Barbara said...

I've seen them use the sous-vide method on Top Chef and Iron Chef. THEY have the equipment at the ready, we don't. Kudos for trying this recipe, Mary! It truly looks delicious; wish I could have been there to taste it!

Susan Lindquist said...

What an excellent tutorial on the sous-vide technique ... and chicken nuggets! They were always a crowd-pleaser when my kids were young! Yours look perfect!

Good for you for sticking with the recipe, despite the extra work and challenge! Kind of like me trying to caramelize sugar on the stove top ... check out the creme caramel post.

Claudia said...

I do love how she brought her considerable business skills to the kitchen. I love reading her recipes - lots of layers of flavors. Will I do sous vide? No. Not for me - but love that you did - and the results do look delicious.

Rhonda said...

Wow, wow. What a feat! I'm with you, not sure I'd go through all the trouble for a chicken nugget but learning how to cook sous vide and the whole technique, that's worth it.

laurie said...

Very interesting...they look awesome!

~ Chef Louise said...

long time not talk... I love to make my own chicken nuggets, love the roulade style...
happy holidays

Becki's Whole Life said...

These are so intriguing...I am trying to imagine how the chicken paste cooks does sound really yummy. Not sure whether I would ever go through all of these steps either but its fun to see all of the steps!

The Teacher Cooks said...

Loving this game changers series . Very interesting recipe.

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