The consumer education classes finished up the series on cooking techniques with a grilling and slow roasting class.
All the prepared dishes were fairly simple (isn't grilling one of the very first cooking techniques, period?), but simple is often best. The students produced Broiled Beef Tenderloin with Red Bell Pepper Gratin; Roasted Chicken with Rapini and Caramelized Onions; and, Grilled Jerk Chicken.
There is not much to say about the broiled beef, but the gratin was very good. I'm finding that I really, really like gratins. Not simply for the flavor, but for their versatility. It is a basic technique that can be applied to a near infinite number of combinations of flavors. Whether one is adding different (frequently starchy) vegetables in addition to (or as a substitute for) potatoes, or adding differing flavors to the liquid, or simply different toppings or spices, you can do almost anything to a gratin. They're hard to ruin and can generally be prepared ahead of time, simply awaiting cooking, or even pre-cooked and reheated. You can really go crazy in modifying this basic dish.
Gratins. They're what's for dinner.
The roasted chicken is actually a Chinese recipe that calls for duck. However, due to time constraints in the class, chicken was used in order to be sure everything was finished on time. The chicken was good, but I think I'll try the recipe with the original duck.
The final dish, Grilled Jerk Chicken, seemed to be a favorite for many. And what's not to like? The marinade includes a great many flavors and spices, but is simple to prepare. The end result is a juicy, very flavorful chicken. It probably would have been even better with a longer, slower cooking process but everyone really enjoyed it. I'll definitely be using it the next time I barbeque.