Last Thursday, we still had a lot of chicken cacciatore left over. It’s important to use leftovers, because they have a lot of flavor. It also saves money. It’s also to not waste things. It’s not cool to waste resources.
Before we came to class, Chef Cindy took the chicken off the bone, and mixed the meat with the tomatoes mixture from the chicken cacciatore stew we made two days before. Then she took a blend of dried beans and barley. She boiled that for a while and added the chicken bones for flavor, and also some Italian pasta called “Orechietti.” That means “ear,” in Italian because the shape of the pasta looks like a little ear.
We came into class, and Chef Cindy told us that the class before us (sophomores) had made “spoon bread,” a quick yeast bread. It smelled good, like cinnamon. We put the bread in the oven.
While the bread was baking, we cut up a mire poix, a mixture of diced onion, carrot and celery. While we waited for that to brown, we cut up zucchini and eggplant. We put the eggplant into a bowl of water with salt, to draw out the vegetable’s water. When the water turns brown, you know the eggplant is ready. We added the eggplant and zucchini to the pan. We sautéed it again until it was brown.
After that, we added a little water. That water will thin the stew, and also pull all the brown bits from the pan. Those bits are where the flavor is. Doing this is called “deglazing a pan.”
Then we tasted for flavor. Did we need to add more salt? More cayenne? More Italian seasoning? We adjusted the batches that were simmering at each station.
When we were done, we had something between a soup and a stew. It was kind of like a very thick minestrone soup. Or you could say it was an Italian version of the Mexican soup/stew called “Posole.”
While everything was cooking, we costed out how much it cost to serve lunch to 70 for two days.
The ingredients for the chicken cacciatore cost $92.53. We had about a third of that leftover. Then, on Thursday, the ingredients to make the stew cost about $14. If you add those two together, you get $106.53. We divided that by 140 (2 days, 70 people each day). That’s 76 cents. Not bad for two good meals!
If you add about 50 cents a day for fruit salad and green salad, we cooked for about $1.25 per person per lunch.
We had a great lunch, and no waste. Yum!