Creative: Flavorful Techniques
Ingredients are not the only thing that add flavor to
a dish, the cooking technique you choose can add layers of flavor to
your food. Master the five kitchen techniques below and you'll be well
on your way to great meals ahead.
Why: Deglazing is the first step to
a great pan sauce. It is nothing more than a technique to get all the
dark bits of great flavor off the bottom of the saut� pan after
browning meats, and bring that flavor to your dish.
How: Brown meat in a frying pan,
remove it, then pour a liquid (usually wine but other liquids work
well, like beer, Swanson chicken or beef stock, fruit juice or
vinegar) into the hot pan. As it sizzles away, scrape the pan to
loosen the bits of flavor that were stuck to the pan after browning.
Why: After deglazing, you are just
minutes away from a terrific pan sauce that will reflect the flavors
of the meat, seafood or vegetables you have cooked in the pan.
How: After browning your main
ingredient in the pan, remove it and keep warm, returning the pan to
the burner. Deglaze, scrape the pan, then add additional stock or
broth and simmer until the liquid is reduced by half. At this point,
you can swirl in a few tablespoons of cold butter, cream or sour cream
to thicken, and add chopped fresh herbs, caramelized onions, roasted
peppers, or roasted garlic for flavor. Season with salt and pepper
Why: Without a doubt, this is one of the easiest,
most forgiving ways to cook all kinds of meat, from steaks and chicken
breasts to fish fillets.
an ovenproof saut� pan over high. Drizzle in a few tablespoons of oil,
place the seasoned meat or fish in the pan, and brown well on both
sides. Try not to move things around much continual contact with the
surface of the pan is what will give you the best browning. Once the
first side is brown, flip the meat over and transfer the whole pan to
a preheated 400� F. oven and cook until desired doneness. Remove the
meat from the pan and keep warm while you make a quick pan sauce.
Why: This quick cooking technique
is nothing more than frying in a small amount of oil. It lightly
browns food and gives you plenty of control over the cooking process.
You can saut� meats, seafood and vegetables.
How: Heat a saut� or frying pan
over medium-high until the surface is hot. To test, sprinkle droplets
of water in the pan, they should "dance" and evaporate almost
immediately. Add a few tablespoons of oil, followed by the meat,
seafood or vegetables, taking care not to overcrowd the pan and cause
steaming. Cook quickly, stirring or tossing frequently until done.
Remove saut�ed meat or vegetables from the pan and keep warm while you
make a quick pan sauce.
Why: Braising is a moist-heat
cooking method where meat and, often, vegetables are browned in a pan
first, then slowly simmered, either in the oven or on the stove, in a
small amount of liquid until tender. It's a great way to cook tough,
less expensive cuts of meat, resulting in a comforting, flavorful
dinner with its own rich sauce.
How: Season the meat (beef chuck
roast or pork shoulder are great for braising) with salt and pepper.
Heat a large Dutch oven over medium-high, add a few tablespoons of oil
and the meat and brown on all sides. Deglaze the pan with wine or
stock, then add more wine or stock to cover the meat halfway up the
sides. Bring to a boil, cover tightly, then transfer the pot to a
preheated 350� F. oven. Braise until meat is completely tender, depending on the cut and its size, this may take up to three
hours. Remove the meat, strain the liquid, if desired, then return to
pan and bring to a simmer to reduce slightly. Finish sauce as
described in pan sauce, if you would like.
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