Slow cooking

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Slow cooking

Postby Matilda L » Mon Aug 04, 2008 3:06 am

As mentioned in another thread, I've recently quit corporate life. My partner the Francophile keeps telling people I've retired, but I've done nothing of the sort. I've gone freelance; I just haven't got any clients yet.

But with life taking on a different shape, I'm enjoying the kitchen more than I've been able to for some time. I've been making some slow-cooked casseroles - just the thing for the winter weather we're having down here in Adelaide. My question is, when you cook a casserole, how long do you cook it and what temperature do you set the oven at? I've been experimenting with time and temperature, and I'm still in search of "the ideal". I'm interested in what other forum members do.

Matilda
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Re: Slow cooking

Postby Daniel Rogov » Mon Aug 04, 2008 6:12 am

Matilda, Hi.....

You're certainly not "unemployed". You have simply become, at least for the moment, "a woman of leisure".

Perhaps too general a question because it depends much on what kind of casserole you are cooking and what earlier cooking preparations have been made. A few examples in my own case:

Cassoulet

1 1/2 kilos small dried white haricot beans
1 kilo knockwurst style sausages
300 - 400 grams Virginia, Kentucky or Proscuitto ham, in one piece
400 grams bacon, in one piece
300 grams sharp, hard, Italian style salami
200 grams carrots, peeled
200 grams onions, peeled and halved
1 bouquet garni made by tying together 6 sprigs of thyme, 2 sprigs rosemary and 2 bay leaves
2 whole cloves
4 cloves garlic
10 peppercorns, crushed coarsely
1 kilo of smoked goose breast, with fat intact, cut into large chunks
2 preserved goose legs (confit de canard), optional
1 kilo fatty lamb, cut into 8 - 10 pieces
300 grams tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped
2 Tbsp. parsley, chopped
60 gr. dried white breadcrumbs

Soak the beans overnight in cold water.

In a large pot place the knockwurst, the ham, the bacon and the Italian sausage. Cover with cold water and bring to the boil. As soon as the water boils, lift out the sausages and ham with a slotted spoon and place them in cold water. Let the bacon cook for 4 - 5 minutes longer and then transfer to cold water. Drain the meats and cut the bacon and raw ham into thick slices.

Drain the beans and place them in a large round iron, copper or flameproof earthenware casserole dish. Cover the beans with cold, unsalted water and then add the carrots, onions, bouquet garni, cloves, three of the garlic cloves and the peppercorns. Bring to a boil, lower the heat and simmer very gently, skimming the surface as necessary.

Cut about 3 Tbsp. of fat from the smoked goose breast and heat the fat in a heavy skillet. In this quickly brown the lamb pieces, and then drain, discarding the fat.

When the beans have been cooking for 1 hour add the tomatoes and bacon. Add boiling water if necessary, making sure the beans are covered with liquid. After another 1/2 hour put in the lamb and continue to cook, skimming the surface from time to time. After another hour, add the remaining ingredients and then lower the flame, simmering for 30 minutes longer. If you are using the goose confit, add shred the meat and force the pieces into the center of the casserole and then simmer for 10 minutes longer.

Taste the beans, to see whether they need salt (which will probably not be necessary) and discard the bouquet garni, carrots and onions. Crush the remaining garlic clove and add to the mixture. Spread the breadcrumbs evenly on the top of the dish and transfer to an oven that has been heated to 150 degrees Celsius (300 Fahrenheit) for 45 minutes. Serve hot, directly from the casserole dish. (Serves 8 - 10).


Braised Rump of Veal in White Wine
A recipe from Gastatte Fruh am Dom

200 gr. goose or chicken skin, cut in strips
300 gr. medium onion, peeled and sliced thinly
1 kilo medium carrots, peeled, washed and cut in very thin rounds
1/2 head of celery, scraped, washed and cut in very thin slices
1 rump of veal, about 2 kilos
salt and pepper
60 gr. clarified butter
150 gr. Bacon, cut into thin strips and plunged into boiling water for 2 minutes
500 ml. dry white wine
50 ml. marc or grappa
300 ml. veal stock
1 bouquet garni a pinch of savory
200 ml. sweet cream

Line the bottom of a flameproof casserole with the goose skin and over this spread the sliced onion, carrots and celery.

Lightly season the veal with salt and pepper. In a large skillet heat the clarified butter, put in the veal and brown well on all sides. Transfer the veal to the casserole dish. Put the bacon in the skilet and cook until pale golden in color. Drain and put the bacon strips in the casserole with the veal. To the frying pan add the white wine. Place over a medium-low flame and scrape the sides and bottom of the skillet well. Heat only until bubbles begin to form at the surface.

Place the casserole, uncovered, into an oven that has been preheated to 220 degrees Celsius for 30 minutes, turning it over after 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and reduce the oven temperature to 190 degrees Celsius.

Over the veal pour the mark, wine, veal stock and 200 ml. of water. Add the bouquet garni and savory, set the casserole over a high flame and bring to the boil. Cover the casserole dish and return the veal to the oven for 1 1/2 hours, turning it over after 1 hour. When the veal is cooked remove it from the casserole and set aside to keep warm. Discard the bouquet garni and the bacon, add the cream, bring to the boil and season to taste with salt and pepper.

To serve, cut the veal into 5 mm. slices and arrange them in the center of a serving dish or on individual serving plates. Pour over the sauce and arrange the vegetables and garnish around the edge. Serve very hot. (Serves 8).


Carbonnades a la Flamande
Beef and Onions in Beer
Adopted from a recipe by Julia Child

A popular dish in Belgium, the beer gives a very different character to the beef than the red wine used in making Boeuf Bourguignon. This dish is traditionally served with parsley potatoes or buttered noodles, green salad and beer.

3 kilos lean beef roast
4 - 6 Tbsp. good cooking oil
1 1/2 kilos onion, sliced salt and pepper
8 cloves garlic, mashed
2 cups beef stock
4 - 6 cups light beer
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 large bouquet garni made by tying together
6 sprigs parsley, 2 bay leafs and 2 sprigs thyme
3 Tbsp. cornstarch blended with 1/4 cup wine vinegar

Cut beef into slices about 5 x 10 cm across and 1 cm thick. Dry on paper towels. Put the oil in a heavy skillet and heat until almost smoking. Brown the beef slices quickly, several at a time and set them aside.

Reduce to a medium flame, add the onions to the skillet and stir. Add more oil if necessary and saute until the onions are nicely browned (about 10 minutes), stirring frequently. Remove from the flame, season with salt and pepper and stir in the garlic.

Arrange half the beef slices in a 36 cm. flameproof casserole and season lightly with salt and pepper. Spread over half the onions. Repeat with remaining beef and onions.

Heat the stock in the skillet in which the beef and onions were browned, scraping the sides and bottom of the skillet well with a wood spatula. Pour the ingredients of the skillet over the meat and then add just enough beer so the beef is barely covered. Stir in the brown sugar, bury the bouquet garni in the meat. Over a medium flame bring the liquids to a simmer. Cover and place in the lower third of an oven preheated to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (180 degrees Celsius ) and then regulate the oven heat so the liquids remain at a slow simmer until the meat is tender enough to be cut with a fork (about 2 1/2 hours).

Remove the bouquet garni. Drain the cooking liquids into a saucepan and skim off the fat. Beat the starch and wine vinegar mixture into the cooking liquids and simmer for 3 - 4 minutes, stirring. Correct the seasoning with salt and pepper to taste and then pour the sauce over the meat. (Note: To this point the dish may be prepared in advance).

Just before ready to serve, cover the casserole and simmer gently until the meat is heated through (5 - 6 minutes). May be served directly from the casserole or by arranging the meat on hot serving platters and spooning the sauce over. Serves 12 (leftovers are marvelous 1 or 2 days later).

Lamb in Egg and Lemon Sauce

1 lamb shoulder, about 1 kilo, well trimmed and cut into 2 1/2 cm. pieces
8 artichoke hearts, halved
1 cup chicken stock
1/2 cup butter
2 large onions, sliced
3 Tbsp. parsley, chopped finely
2 Tbsp. vinegar
juice of 2 large lemons
3 egg yolks
1 tsp. lemon rind, grated
salt and pepper to taste

In a heavy casserole dish melt half of the butter and in this saute the lamb and onions making sure the meat is browned on all sides. Add the lemon rind and parsley to the casserole and continue to saute for 1 - 2 minutes longer. Add the chicken stock, season to taste with salt and pepper, bring to a boil and immediately cover and reduce the heat. Simmer gently until the meat is tender (about 1 1/4 - 1 1/2 hours).

In a saucepan with the artichoke hearts add water just to cover and then pour over the vinegar. Bring to a boil and then lower the flame so that the artichokes cook on a low simmer, covered, until they are tender (15 - 20 minutes).

Drain the artichokes. In a skillet melt the remaining butter and in this saute the artichokes for about 5 minutes. Add the artichokes and butter to the casserole 10 minutes before the meat has finished cooking.

In a mixing bowl beat the egg yolks until thickened. Beat in the lemon juice and then beat in 1/2 cup of the liquids in which the meat was cooked, adding the hot liquids slowly during beating. Pour the mixture over the meat, lower to lowest possible flame and continue cooking, shaking the casserole gently, until the sauce thickens. Serve immediately. Serves 4 - 6.
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Re: Slow cooking

Postby Jenise » Mon Aug 04, 2008 2:08 pm

Matilda L wrote:As mentioned in another thread, I've recently quit corporate life. My partner the Francophile keeps telling people I've retired, but I've done nothing of the sort. I've gone freelance; I just haven't got any clients yet.

But with life taking on a different shape, I'm enjoying the kitchen more than I've been able to for some time. I've been making some slow-cooked casseroles - just the thing for the winter weather we're having down here in Adelaide. My question is, when you cook a casserole, how long do you cook it and what temperature do you set the oven at? I've been experimenting with time and temperature, and I'm still in search of "the ideal". I'm interested in what other forum members do.

Matilda


Matilda, as Rogov said, there's no one-size-fits-all answer to your question, as it depends a lot on weather your casserole contains raw or cooked ingredients or things like egg-based custards that have to 'set' or beans, in the most extreme example, that only reach perfection after several hours. But let's say there's no raw meat or dried beans in your casserole, and that you've got something about three inches deep in 4 quart casserole dish: it needs to heat through and then some for the flavors to meld, and for a tasty, golden crust to form on top. That dish should require about an hour 400F (I cannot translate into C or gas marks, but maybe someone else can). Alternatively, I might start it at 450 for ten minutes then reduce the heat to 325 for the remainder of the time. If there's cheese or something that could dry out on top, I'd lay a piece of foil over it for the first 45 minutes of cooking then remove it, allowing the casserole to brown up. Keep an eye on the top of your dish--it will tell you a lot about what's going on underneath. Basically, it can't brown much until the ingredients below it are well-cooked.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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