Saturday, February 28, 2009

1001 Kitchen Tips #45 - How do I stop mince burning to the bottom of the pan?

I was asked this today (Saturday's cooking day in Blogsville), so here's an answer......

Mince, onions, peppers - you name it, you turn your back for a moment and there it is burning to the bottom of the pan. Add a ladle of stock, water or wine. This cools it down immediately, and the liquid then boils so stops it burning. This is useful when sweating onions for risotto for example and they start to brown slightly - add a drop of white wine to stop them colouring and let it reduce before adding your risotto rice.

If it's a bad, thick encrusted burning however, if you do this you will incorporate the burnt flavour all through your food, and that's the last thing you want. So the answer is to cut your losses and swap pans - lift out what mince/ onions etc you can save and put it in a new pan and start again.

Another good tip, as I mention on the lamb and apricot post is not to thicken anything that is going to sit in the pan, or go into the oven for a couple of hours, like minced lamb for shepherds pie, or shin of beef for beef and ale pie. Thicken it after cooking and it doesn't burn on to your pan/ dish for 3 or 4 hours - much easier to clean. When the meat is cooked, drain the sauce through a colander into a saucepan, and put the meat to one side. Then thicken the sauce with beurre manie or cornflour, and drop the meat back in.

Related posts:

1001 Kitchen Tips

P.S. Kitchen tip #44 - how to make the best roast parsnips - is in draft form at the moment - keep a lookout.......

4 comments:

Jan said...

Great tip thanks!

ginger@dinnerdiary.org said...

Good tip re. the risotto, I've not come across that before. I've seen some chefs adding salt to onions before sweating to stop them burning, any weight to that?

Cooking Tips said...

great tips i had always been worried about pan burning to the bottom speciall while cooking meat. once i had been told to add some curd in the half process to avoid burning but of course, you cant use curd in all meat recipes specailly while cooknig sweet meat recipes, which i love to cook. thankyou so much for this great tip :)

James said...

Ginger - That's interesting. I hadn't come accross the salt idea before. Nigella seems to favour it though so it must be a good tip. I guess the salt draws out some of the water from the onions so there's more moisture in the pan - same as adding a dash of water/ wine/ stock. Will have to try it out.

Cooking Tips - thanks for the curd idea. I did have to wiki it, just to make sure what it was - international cooking term variations are great aren't they? - that's another thing to try......