Okay, it’s a play on words. The actual term is Mise En Place, pronounced meez ahn plahs. It’s a French term which translates “to put in place” and it means, basically, to get all your ducks in a row before you start cooking.
Having all the ingredients prepared and ready to go is advantageous in western cooking and baking, but it is absolutely essential in Asian cooking because, once you heat up that wok and add the oil, everything else moves fast and furious, and it comes together quickly, culminating in a finished entrée in what seems like the wink of an eye. In the middle of a stir fry, if the next item isn’t ready to be added when the time comes, you are in deep kimchi!
The best way to assemble you mise en place is to gather enough little dishes and bowls, which I will, for expediency sake call ramekins, to have one for each ingredient. Of course, if it is a measured quantity of a liquid you can leave it in the measuring cup, as long as you won’t need the measuring cup for another ingredient or have more than one measuring cup. Also, once you are accustomed to putting your mess in place you can start combining ingredients that will be added at the same time into one container. For example, if you are required to add several herbs or spices at the same time, they can all be put in one ramekin. If you are adding, let’s say 1 cup of milk and two eggs at the same time, you can measure 1 cup of milk into a two cup or larger measuring cup (one large egg is approximately ¼ cup), add the eggs to the milk, and whisk them together right in the measuring cup.
Amoretti is going to provide you with a brand new recipe that was just developed, but before you make this recipe, we would like you to follow these instructions to put together your mise-en-place before you start to actually prepare the entrée. The ingredients are listed in the order they will be used, so as you prepare your ingredients line up the containers in the order of use.
- 1 Tbs canola oil
- 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
- Salt and fresh ground black pepper
- 4 medium scallions, sliced, white and green parts separated
- 8 oz cremini mushrooms, sliced
- ¼ cup Amoretti Premium Tequila Syrup
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 12 oz pkg egg noodles
1 Tbs of canola oil is the first item you will use, so put it into a ramekin and put it at the head of the line. The recipe calls for 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts and salt and pepper, so lay the chicken breasts out on a plate big enough to hold them in a single layer, season them on both sides with salt and pepper. Now place them second in line and allow them to come to room temperature while you prepare the rest of your ingredients.
The next item is 4 medium scallions. Slice the white part of the scallions and put them into a ramekin. Now slice the green part, put those in a separate ramekin and move them to the end of the line because they are garnish. Slice your cremini mushrooms and put them into a ramekin.
Measure out ¼ cup of Amoretti Premium Tequila Syrup and pour it into a ramekin, then measure out ½ cup of heavy cream. The cream is the last item, so you can leave that in the measuring cup if you wish. You are now ready to follow the instructions for preparing the recipe.
In a 10-inch skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. When the oil starts to shimmer, add the chicken breasts and sauté for 10 to 15 minutes, turning once, until the breasts are browned, the juices run clear and the temperature in the center of the thickest part reads 170°F on an instant read thermometer. Remove the chicken from the skillet and keep warm.
Now is the perfect time to start preparing the egg noodles according to package directions, eliminating any added salt and fat. You should be finishing up the entrée just about the time the noodles are ready to be drained and plated.
Add the white part of the scallions to the skillet and sauté until softened. Add the mushrooms and Amoretti Premium Tequila Syrup and continue to sauté until the mushrooms are tender and most of the liquid has evaporated. Gradually stir in the cream, return the chicken breasts to the skillet and heat through. Taste the sauce and adjust the salt and pepper as necessary.
Divide the egg noodles evenly among 4 plates, place one chicken breast on each plate of noodles, pour sauce over the chicken breasts and noodles, and garnish with the green part of the scallions.
Now, what do you think of the idea of mise-en-place? Do you find it easier to cook when everything is prepared in advance? Did you find it quicker and easier to follow the recipe with all of the ingredients lined up in proper order ahead of time? Just imagine how much this method will help when making your next stir-fry!
We at Amoretti hope you have learned a new skill as well as a new recipe, and will have many more enjoyable cooking experiences because of it.