How to cook a gourmet three course meal that’ll impress your flatmates
Think you’re pretty nifty in the kitchen? Step into the world of gourmet cooking with Le Cordon Bleu London.
Whether you consider yourself a real foodie or you have a special birthday dinner to plan for one of your flatmates, this stunning three-course meal could be exactly what you’re looking for.
With over 125 years of culinary excellence, Le Cordon Bleu is the most renowned culinary institute in the world. It has more than 20,000 graduates per year at 35 hospitality and culinary schools globally.
Recognised for the excellence of its teaching, graduates have moved onto a variety of roles in the foodie world, from journalists, food critics and food photographers, to chefs, hospitality managers, sommeliers and more.
Now’s your chance to try your hand at some gourmet cooking with three recipes that have been developed by the team at Le Cordon Bleu London. Good luck!
Starter: Eggs en cocotte
Wow your flatmates with an elegant starter full of flavour in the form of eggs en cocotte. Essentially baked eggs with asparagus and a tasty morel mushroom cream, this could even double as your favourite brunch recipe.
Ingredients (serves 4)
- 4 green asparagus spears
- 20g butter, softened
- 4 fresh eggs
- 50g morel mushrooms (or other mushrooms)
- 20g shallots
- 20g butter
- 100ml cream
- Pinch of cayenne pepper
- 4 chervil (French parsley) sprigs
1) Snap off the pale woody ends of the asparagus and throw them away. Rinse the asparagus under cold water. Carefully peel away the rough skin from the bottom half of the spears with a vegetable peeler.
Meanwhile, bring a saucepan of salted water to a boil. Cook the asparagus until tender (about three minutes), then cut off and reserve the top three inches of the tips. Move the asparagus tips to cold water immediately (in order to maintain their green colour).
Using a blender, purée the remaining asparagus until smooth and season with salt.
2) Preheat the oven to 150C. Brush four 9cm ramekins with softened butter and season with salt, then divide the asparagus purée between them. Crack open an egg over the top of each.
Place the ramekins into a deep baking pan and pour enough hot water into the baking pan to reach halfway up the ramekins. Carefully place the pan into the preheated oven and bake until the egg white is lightly-set and the yolks are runny (roughly five minutes).
3) Wash the morels and trim off their stalks. Finely chop the shallots. Melt the butter in a small frying pan and add the morels and shallots. Sweat until soft (about three minutes).
Add the cream and allow it to reduce to a thickness that coats the back of a spoon, usually within three minutes. Season with salt.
4) Spoon the morels and a little cream sauce around the egg yolks. Place the asparagus tips on the side of the ramekins. Sprinkle the egg yolks with a little cayenne pepper and decorate with a sprig of chervil (French parsley).
Main: Coq au Vin
Coq au vin literally means ‘rooster in wine’, but these days, tough roosters have given way to tender roasting chickens. This recipe is all about the marinade, so you might want to get started the day before you plan to feast.
Ingredients (serves 4)
- 1 x 1.2kg whole chicken
- 100g bacon, rind removed and cut into 2cm long batons
- 15ml vegetable oil
- 100g button mushrooms
- 70g butter
- salt and freshly ground pepper
- 20 pearl onions
- pinch of sugar
- Bunch flat leaf parsley, chopped
For the marinade
- 1 carrot, sliced
- 1 onion, sliced
- 1 stalk celery, sliced
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled
- 1 bouquet garni
- 5g black peppercorns
- 1 litre red wine (preferably Bordeaux)
- 50g plain flour
- 20ml vegetable oil
- 500ml chicken stock
- salt and freshly ground pepper
1) Cut the chicken into six serving pieces and then lay it flat on its back on a work surface.
To remove the legs, pull one leg away from the body and cut down to the leg joint. Twist the leg to break the joint and cut through the joint to separate the leg from the body. Repeat to remove the second leg.
On each leg, use the heel of the knife (the bit closest to the handle) to chop off the small bit of leg remaining below the drumstick at the joint. Cut each leg into two pieces at the joint between thigh and drumstick.
Cut the breast in half lengthwise through the breast and back bones, then cut the rib and back bones from the two halves of the breast.
2) Place all the marinade ingredients in a bowl, then add the chicken pieces, cover and refrigerate for 12 hours.
3) Preheat the oven to 200C. On a baking tray, spread the flour evenly and toast in the oven for about 15 minutes until lightly browned. Set aside.
4) Remove the chicken and vegetables from the marinade and pat dry with paper towels. Strain the marinade into a saucepan and bring to a boil. Skim the surface, strain and set aside.
Brown the chicken pieces in oil in an ovenproof casserole dish. Add the marinated vegetables and cook for about five minutes until browned. Season.
Remove from the heat and spoon off any excess fat. Sprinkle the toasted flour over the chicken and vegetables and toss to evenly coat. Add the reserved marinade and chicken stock and bring to a boil. Cover with a lid and transfer to the oven for 30 minutes.
5) When the chicken is tender, remove with a slotted spoon. Set aside. Strain the braising liquid and remove the vegetables. Return the strained sauce to the casserole dish and reduce to the desired consistency. Adjust seasoning.
6) Blanch and drain the bacon (this means to briefly add it to boiling water). Lightly brown it in a lightly-oiled frying pan.
7) Sauté mushrooms in a frying pan with butter (50g). Season.
8) Place the pearl onions in a pan large enough to hold them in a single layer. Add cold water so they are two-thirds immersed. Add butter (20g), a pinch of sugar and season with salt. Cook over low heat until the water has evaporated and the onions are tender (about eight to 10 minutes). Roll the onions in the resulting syrup to glaze them.
9) Place two leg pieces or one chicken breast in the centre of a plate. Spoon over the sauce. Place the lardons, mushrooms and pearl onions around and decorate with flat leaf parsley to finish.
Dessert: White chocolate crème brûlée
If you’re a chocolate fiend, you’ll love this take on the traditional French crème brûlée. Best prepared the day before, this dinner party dessert is to die for.
Ingredients (serves 6)
- 400g crème fraîche
- 1 vanilla pod, split
- 130g white chocolate
- 6 egg yolks
- 80g soft brown sugar
1) Place the crème fraîche in a pan. Using the point of a knife, scrape the seeds from the vanilla pod into the cream. Add the pod and heat until simmering. Remove from the heat and set aside to infuse for one hour.
2) Chop the white chocolate and melt it over a bain-marie (a heatproof bowl over a pan of boiling water will also work). Take it off the heat, stirring until smooth. Add the egg yolks and mix well to combine, then stir in the vanilla-infused cream. Pour the mixture into a clean saucepan.
Stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, cook over low heat until the cream is thickened and coats the back of the spoon (do not allow to boil). Strain and divide the mixture evenly between six 8cm ramekins and refrigerate overnight.
3) Preheat the oven grill to its maximum temperature. Sprinkle the ramekins evenly with the brown sugar and place under the grill until the sugar melts and turns golden. Serve immediately.
Find out more
To discover more about Le Cordon Bleu London, the qualifications on offer and the state-of-the-art facilities at the institute, visit its programmes and courses page.
All recipes and recipe photos in this article have been provided by Le Cordon Bleu.