Once upon a time I dreamed of being a chef. Excitedly, I scheduled an appointment to tour Le Cordon Bleu in Scottsdale. When I found out I would need to attend for a minimum of 15 months and could only miss 3 days over the course of my entire program, my wanderlust kicked the chef dreams’ butt. So I was thrilled when Tourisme Montreal invited me to join them for a lunchtime cooking class in Old Montreal.
l’Atelier & Saveurs offers a variety of cooking classes, but I particularly loved that my lunchtime cooking class was a small group of locals that prefer to labor for their lunch. Our small group of 8 each shared the duties of first chopping up chicken thigh that would become our chicken casserole with mushrooms and mustard with couscous and fine herbs. The guys (cooking classes aren’t just for the girls!) graciously volunteered to chop the red onion so us lovely ladies wouldn’t leave with runny mascara. I learned the proper technique for cleaning mushrooms – just brush off the dirt with a dry pastry brush – while some others diced them up as quickly as I cleaned them.
Next, one of the gents browned the chicken and deglazed the pot with white wine while another of the gals prepared the couscous. I got a quick lesson on chopping techniques and finely chopped up the fresh parsley and chives.
Our simple ingredients became a delicious smelling meal in less than 30 minutes. As the chicken was dished out into little casserole dishes, we each decorated our plates with balsamic glaze and attempted to form a perfect little mound of couscous.
Time to dig in, we enjoyed the labors of our food love with wine and great conversation. I learned that everyone but me had been to l’Atelier & Saveurs before and really enjoyed the interactive lunchtime cooking classes. The cocktail class was also highly recommended by another from my group who had been to it for a bachelorette party. If only I had more time in Montreal to also learn how to mix the perfect cocktail!
Chicken Casserole with Mushrooms and Mustard with Couscous and Fine Herbs
For chicken casserole (makes 4 servings):
6 de-boned chicken thighs diced into 1/2 inch pieces
225 g mushrooms
1 red onion diced
200 ml white wine
200 ml cream
15 ml high quality mustard such as dijon or Moutarde de Meaux
For the couscous with herbs:
200 ml Couscous
200 ml chicken broth
10 strands chives finely chopped
5 branches parsley finely chopped
Brown the chicken in a hot pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion. Deglaze the pot with the wine and add the mushrooms. Stir in the cream and mustard. Cook for a few minutes and then divide into warmed casserole dishes.
For the couscous, bring the chicken broth to a boil and then pour over the couscous in a bowl. Cover and set aside for the couscous to absorb the liquid. Fluff with a fork and fold in the fresh herbs. Serve alongside the chicken casserole.
Know Before You Go
- Check the schedule for classes at l’Atelier & Saveurs. Lunchtime classes are just $20 CAD per person.
- Classes are limited to 12 participants and fill up quickly, so be sure to book well in advance!
- Classes are generally in French; however, my group all graciously agreed to the class in English so that I could easily understand everything.
- Recipes from the class are emailed to participants following the class so you can make your delicious quick dish at home!
Thank you to Tourisme Montreal for hosting us at l’Atelier & Saveurs. As always, all opinions are entirely my own. And obviously, efforts at plating perfectly were entirely my own (and botched)!