Hubert Keller’s Souvenirs Takes Center Stage at Draeger’s

Draeger’s Cooking School continue to amaze by attracting great chefs to come and hold a cooking class/demonstration for an intimate group of 40 students. We have been lucky enough to attend demos by Bay Area Chefs like Charles Phan and Donia Bijan (click to view post). This time around, we were fortunate to attend an event with Michelin-starred Chef Hubert Keller of Fleur de Lys. The cooking class featured his recently published book, Hubert Keller’s Souvenirs: Stories and Recipes from My Life.
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Souvenirs relates how every recipe had a personal story around it, but Chef Keller does not want it to be called a “memoir.” The book is separated into sections that include Family Treasures (typical Alsatian recipes he learned to cook from his Grandmother and while growing up), Mentorship (items from his days as an apprentice under master French chefs), Pioneer (when he went to Brazil and cooked in South America) and Modern French Cooking. For the cooking demo, he picked recipes from various stages in his life to form a perfect four course meal. He included a starter from his Alsatian roots, a dish from one of the Top Chef Master challenges, an elegant adaption of an offal beef cut and a dessert inspired from his time cooking in South America.

With a slight French accent and a charming personality, Chef Keller’s demo was a great treat for all of the attendees. He patiently signed books and took pictures with anyone who wanted it, and also graciously granted permission to reprint all of the recipes from the class (included below along with his suggested plating). He also brought Pastry Chef Gilberto Villarreal, who in turn brought his daughter (also a pastry chef) to help feed the lucky students:
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A nice touch at Draeger’s cooking demos is the choice of beverage (water, sodas, wine). Edna Valley seems to be a sponsor for the classes, so we had a choice of drinking an Edna Valley Chardonnay or Cabernet Sauvignon. Glasses are refilled prior to each course:
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Chef Keller related how celery root is an oft used ingredient in Alsace, so this Celery Root, Apple and Walnut Salad is a dish that he grew up eating and cooking. While competing in Top Chef Masters, one of the challenges was to make a dish while using cooking appliances available in a typical dorm room. Knowing that he did not want to use a microwave, Chef Keller ingeniously used a toaster oven to lightly cook a winning salmon dish that he now serves at Fleur de Lys. He told us that if he could cook this dish with a small toaster oven, then anyone should be able to cook it at home. With the same flavor profile as the celery root salad, the two dishes were served together in the class (see recipes below):
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The next dish was a modernized take on the classic Beef Bourguignon dish. Using an offal cut, beef cheeks, he spices the braising liquid with ginger and lemongrass. The post-braised cheeks would be delicious on their own, but Chef Keller makes it more elegant by forming the meat into “sausages,” cutting them into roulades and then topping them with a breadcrumb herb mixture (see recipe below):
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The beef was soft, tender and flaky. The ginger and lemongrass added a slightly Asian influence to this very tasty elegant dish, made with an inexpensive cut of meat:
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The dessert featured quinoa, a grain he started preparing in Brazil when he moved there in the late 1970s as the chef of the São Paulo outpost of famed French Chef Roger Vergé’s Cuisine de Soleil. It’s a great meld of two eras of his life: the rice pudding he cooked in his younger days, with the grain and coconut from his time in South America. The nuttiness of the grain with the slight spiciness of the paprika added a savory element to the excellent dessert (see recipe below):
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Hubert Keller is a multifaceted chef with restaurants in San Francisco and Las Vegas (Fleur de Lys, Fleur, Burger Bar), as a a popular TV personality (Top Chef Masters, Occasional Judge on Top Chef Desserts, PBS show Secrets of a Chef) and a burgeoning career as a DJ at food-related events. His book contains many recipes that home chefs can easily make. Purchase his book and create your own Michelin-starred meal at home: Hubert Keller’s Souvenirs: Stories and Recipes from My Life

Many thanks to Hubert Keller for granting permission to publish the recipes from the class below. Note that there are some adaptations of the text itself and in the case of the Celery Root Salad, it is prepared with julienne strips rather than grated as printed in the book.


Celery Root, Apple and Walnut Salad
Serves 8

Handful (2 oz.) of Pecans or Walnuts
3 T. heavy cream
2 T. mayonnaise
2 T. Dijon mustard
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 lemon, halved and 2 T. lemon juice
1 small celery root,
1 tart green apple
3 T. minced fresh chives
celery leaves or apple slices for garnish

Toast the nuts over a skillet at medium-low heat until fragrant (about 5 minutes) and chop into large chunks when cool. Whisk the cream, mayonnaise and mustard and season with salt and pepper and set aside.

Fill a medium bowl halfway with water and squeeze the juice of one half of the lemon into the water and add lemon rind into the water. Working as quickly as you can, peel the celery root and rub exposed areas with the other half of the lemon to prevent oxidation (add this lemon rind to water when finished). Make julienne strips of the celery root using a mandoline or manually, making sure to keep all unfinished root pieces in the lemon water. Repeat the process with the cored apple.

Drain and discard the lemon water and rind when ready to assemble the salad. Add the 2 T. of lemon juice to the celery and apple and season with salt and pepper. Add the reserved dressing, nuts and half the chives and thoroughly mix together. Season to taste. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour (the celery root will soften) and for up to two days.

When ready to serve, toss in the other half of the chives. Season and add lemon juice to taste. Arrange the salad in a serving bowl and garnish with celery leaves and/or fanned apple slices.

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Thinly Sliced Salmon with Caviar and Mustard-Seed Sauce
Serves 4

8 slices baguette, cut on the diagonal
Extra-virgin olive oil for drizzling
Sea salt and freshly ground white paper
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 T. coarse-grained Dijon mustard
1 T. thinly sliced fresh chives
Freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 pund salmon filet with skin, pin bones removed
4 lemon wedges
2 T. Caviar, such as Salmon or Sturgeon roe (optional)
4 sprigs Italian parsley

Preheat the oven to 400F. Drizzle or brush the baguette slices with the olive oil and lightly season with salt. Place them on a baking sheet and toast in the oven until crispy (~10 minutes), turning them over and rotating for even browning. Set aside until needed.

Increase the oven heat to 450F. In a small bowl, whisk the mayonnaise, mustard, chives, a squeeze of lemon juice and season to taste. Set aside.

With a very sharp thin-blade knife held at a 30 degree angle, cut the filet crosswise into 4 thin slices (~1/4 inch) separating them from the skin.

Generously drizzle a sheet pan with water and smear the water around the pan using your hand or a wet towel. Sprinkle the pan with the salt and pepper. Lay the salmon slices on the wet seasoned pan and drizzle the fish with more water to keep it moist. Roast the fish until it is opaque and steaming (about 1-2 minutes). Remove from the oven and let sit for once minute. With a fish spatula, transfer the slides to a platter, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. The fish can be cooked 5-6 hours ahead of time.

When ready to serve, smear a thin layer of the mustard sauce on each plate, forming a circle larger than the slice of salmon. Place the salmon on top, making sure that there is a 1 inch border around the fish. Spoon the caviar if using in the center of the salmon slice. Arrange the croutons on the plate and garnish the plate with parsley.

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Red Wine Braised Beef Cheeks with Ginger and Lemongrass
Serves 6-8

Braising Ingredients
4 lbs. Beef Cheeks
3 T. extra-virgin oiive oil
2 small yellow onions, thinly sliced
2 medium carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped
2 celery stalks, coarsely chopped
2 inch piece of fresh ginger, sliced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 stalk lemongrass, smashed with a back of the knife and coarsely chopped
1.5 cups red wine
3 cups low-salt beef broth
1 cup canned diced tomatoes with heir juice
3 T. tomato paste
2 T. brown sugar
2 T. Italian parsley, finesly chopped
1 sprig fresh sage

Herbed Breadcrumb Ingredients for Assembly
1 cup crust-free breadcrumbs (preferably from brioche)
1.5 T. finely chopped Italian parsley
1.5 T fresh thyme
Dijon Mustard

Preheat oven to 350F. Season the cheeks with salt and pepper. Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat in a large Dutch oven and brown the cheeks (~5 minutes/side). Transfer the beef to a plate and set aside.

Add onions, carrots, celery, ginger, lemongrass and garlic to the pan. Sauté the vegetables until softened (~10 minutes). Add the wine and bring to a boil while stirring and scraping the bottom and sides of the pan with a wooden spoon. Add the rest of the braising ingredients and bring to a simmer. Return the cheeks and juices back to the pan, cover and braise in the oven for 1.5 hours. Occasionally check to ensure that the liquid remains at a simmer. Remove the lid and continue to cook until the meat is very tender (~1 hour).

Using tongs, transfer the meat to a platter and let cool. Strain the cooking liquid and extract as much of the braising liquids from the vegetables by pressing on them with a wooden spoon on the side of the strainer. Discard the vegetables, then cover and refrigerate the strained sauce (to separate the fat). Once cool, discard the fat layer.

Note: the beef cheeks are ready to eat at this point and can be served with the strained sauce. The next steps allows you to serve the offal meat in a more elegant presentation.

When the cheeks are cool enough to handle, clean them of any remaining ligaments and fat. Moisten a work surface (not wood) with water, and smooth a long sheet of plastic wrap (~20 inches) on it (the wrap should stick to the work surface). Place 1/4 of the meat on the plastic wrap and use the wrap to force the meat into a thick sausage shape about 6-7 inches long and 2.5 inches in diameter. Roll the plastic around the meat very tightly to form an even roll, tying the ends against the roll to help keep it’s shape. Refrigerate for at least an hour and the natural gelatin in the beef will stiffen he meat into the sausage form. Note that it would be OK to freeze the beef cheeks for future use after this process.

When ready to serve, preheat the oven to 450F. Place the de-fatted sauce into a saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Simmer until the sauce is slightly thickened (~5 minutes). Season to taste.

Using a food processor, thoroughly mix 1 cup breadcrumbs, 1.5 T. finely chopped Italian parsley and 1.5 T fresh thyme.

While still cold, slice the unwrapped rolled meat into 4 equal disks 2 – 2.5 inches thick, getting rid of the rounded ends (eat or use for some other dish). Arrange the slices, end-up and close together in a oven-proof sauté pan and let sit at room temperature for 15 minutes.. Brush the cut top of each slice with mustard and sprinkle on a light layer of the herbed breadcrumbs. Pour the sauce into the pan around the slices (~1/3 of the way up), cover with lid or foil (making sure the over does not touch the meat). Place in the oven until warmed through (~5 minutes). Be careful to not overheat as the beef cheeks will fall apart.

Carefully transfer to a serving plate (2 slices/person) and spoon some sauce around the beef slices and serve immediately. Serve with braised red cabbage or any starch or vegetable of your choice to make it a complete main dish.

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Spiced Chocolate Quinoa Pudding with Fresh Berries
Serves 8
1/4 cup coconut flakes (sweetened or unsweetened)
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup + 1 T. sugar (~3.5 oz.)
5 T. quinoa, well rinsed
1 cup whole milk
1 cup coconut milk
6 T. cocoa powder (Dutch process preferred)
1 t. ground cinnamon
1/4 t. Spanish hot paprika
2 oz. bittersweet chocolate, grated or broken into small chunks
Sweetened whipped cream for serving
1/2 pint raspberries or strawberries for garnish

Preheat the oven to 350F. Spread the coconut flakes on a baking sheet and toast until it is light golden, stirring occasionally and making sure not to burn (~8-10 minutes). Once cool, put flakes into a bowl and set aside.

Whip the heavy cream with 1 T. of sugar until stiff peaks form, then refrigerate.

Bring 8 cups of water to a boil in a large heavy saucepan over high heat. Add a pinch of salt and whisk in the quinoa. Simmer uncovered for 10 minutes. Drain the quinoa and return it to the saucepan. Add the milk, coconut milk, 1/2 t. salt and 1/2 cup sugar. Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium-high heat. Turn the heat to low, cover and cook until the quinoa is very tender (~20 minutes). Occasionally stir to make sure the quinoa is not stuck to the bottom of the pan. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the chocolate, cocoa powder, cinnamon and paprika.

Optional step if using a large bowl or mold to serve: In a small saucepan, soften 1 T. gelatin in 1/4 cup cold water for a few minutes. Melt the gelatin over low heat.

Transfer the quinoa mixture to a large mixing bowl. With a rubber spatula, stir in the melted gelatin if using until incorporated (use an ice bath in a larger bowl to cool mixture as needed). Fold in the whipped cream, working rapidly if gelatin is used. Transfer to serving glasses, ramekins or mold and refrigerate until firm (about 1 hour).

When ready to serve, add a dollop of sweetened whip cream, berries and sprinkle with the toasted coconut.

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One response to “Hubert Keller’s Souvenirs Takes Center Stage at Draeger’s

  1. Pingback: SFP: Chocolate Quinoa Pudding 04.13.13 | BarFlySF·

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