Different Ways To Cook Meat
FRYING AND SAUTEING.--When meat is fried or sauted, that is, brought directly in contact with hot fat, it is made doubly indigestible, because of the hardening of the surface tissues and the indigestibility of the fat that penetrates these tissues. This is especially true of meat that is sauted slowly in a small quantity of hot fat. Much of this difficulty can be overcome, however, if meat prepared by these methods, like that which is broiled or roasted, is subjected quickly to intense heat. In addition, the fat used for cooking should be made hot before the meat is put into it. BOILING.--To boil meat means to cook it a long time in water at a temperature of 212 degrees Fahrenheit. This method of preparing meat is not strongly advocated, for there is seldom a time when better results cannot be obtained by cooking meat at a lower temperature than boiling point. The best plan is to bring the meat to the boiling point, allow it to boil for a short time, and then reduce the temperature so that the meat will simmer for the remainder of the cooking. In cooking meat by boiling, a grayish scum appears on the surface just before the boiling point is reached. This scum is caused by the gradual extraction of a part of the soluble albumin that is present in the hollow fibers of the muscle tissue. After its extraction, it is coagulated by the heat in the water. As it coagulates and rises, it carries with it to the top particles of dirt and other foreign material present in the water or on the surface of the meat. In addition, this scum contains a little blood, which is extracted and coagulated and which tends to make it grayish in color. Such scum should be skimmed off, as it is unappetizing in appearance. Whether the meat should be put into cold water or boiling water depends on the result that is desired. It is impossible to make a rich, tasty broth and at the same time have a juicy, well-flavored piece of boiled meat. If meat is cooked for the purpose of making soup or broth, it should be put into cold water and then brought to a boil. By this method, some of the nutritive material and much of the flavoring substance will be drawn out before the water becomes hot enough to harden them. However, in case only the meat is to be used, it should be plunged directly into boiling water in order to coagulate the surface at once, as in the application of dry heat. If it is allowed to boil for 10 minutes or so and the temperature then reduced, the coating that is formed will prevent the nutritive material and the flavor from being lost to any great extent. But if the action of the boiling water is permitted to continue during the entire time of cooking, the tissues will become tough and dry. STEWING OR SIMMERING.--The cheap cuts of meat, which contain a great deal of flavor and are so likely to be tough, cannot be prepared by the quick methods of cookery nor by the application of high temperature, for the result would be a tough, indigestible, and unpalatable dish. The long, slow cooking at a temperature lower than boiling point, which is known as stewing or simmering, should be applied. In fact, no better method for the preparation of tough pieces of meat and old fowl can be found than this process, for by it the connective tissue and the muscle fibers are softened. If the method is carried out in a tightly closed vessel and only a small amount of liquid is used, there is no appreciable loss of flavor except that carried into the liquid in which the meat cooks. But since such liquid is always used, the meat being usually served in it, as in the case of stews, there is no actual loss. To secure the best results in the use of this method, the meat should be cut into small pieces so as to expose as much surface as possible. Then the pieces should be put into cold water rather than hot, in order that much of the juices and flavoring materials may be dissolved. When this has been accomplished, the temperature should be gradually raised until it nearly reaches the boiling point. If it is kept at this point for several hours, the meat will become tender and juicy and a rich, tasty broth will also be obtained. BRAIZING.--Meat cooked by the method of braizing, which is in reality a combination of stewing and baking, is first subjected to the intense dry heat of the oven and then cooked slowly in the steam of the water that surrounds it. To cook meat in this way, a pan must be used that will permit the meat to be raised on a rack that extends above a small quantity of water. By this method a certain amount of juice from the meat is taken up by the water, but the connective tissue is well softened unless the cooking is done at too high a temperature. FRICASSEEING.--As has already been learned, fricasseeing is a combination of sauteing and stewing. The sauteing coagulates the surface proteins and prevents, to some extent, the loss of flavor that would occur in the subsequent stewing if the surface were not hardened. To produce a tender, tasty dish, fricasseeing should be a long, slow process. This method is seldom applied to tender, expensive cuts of meat and to young chickens, but is used for fowl and for pieces of meat that would not make appetizing dishes if prepared by a quicker method. To read about growing olive trees and preserving olives, visit the Fruits And Vegetables site.