Boiling, blanching, steaming
Boiling is preparing food in plenty of boiling liquid (at approx. 100°C).
- Water or seasoned salt water can be used as boiling liquid. In rarer cases, water is combined with wine or cooking vinegar solution.
- Meat must be washed under cold water before boiling.
- Both small and large pieces of meat, with and without bone are suitable for boiling. Pieces of meat with more connective tissue are usually used for boiling.
- The meat is first placed in a pot and enough water to cover the meat is poured on it. The meat is then taken out of the pot, the water is brought to boil and salt is added (1.5-2 tsp. for one litre of water).
- The meat must be placed in hot water, to better preserve the taste. Seasoning and cleaned vegetables, herbs and spices (onion, carrot, curly-leaf parsley, bay leaves, black pepper, pimento, etc.) can also be added if desired.
- The meat is boiled under the lid at a low temperature until it is soft. It has to be boiled longer in order to get a broth, but unfortunately this will also cause the meat to lose its taste.
- If necessary, more water is added from time to time to replace the vaporized liquid.
- The foam that forms during boiling must be removed with a skimmer ladle.
- A fork or a match can be used to check whether the meat is done. Done meat is soft to touch and detaches from the bone easily.
- It takes approximately one hour to boil1 kg of meat.
- When the meat is done, the pot must be taken off the stove and left to after-cook for 15 minutes. This makes the meat especially tender and delicious.
- Soup vegetables can be boiled with the meat.
- Meat soups, which can be cooked both from meat and bones, are also prepared in plenty of liquid. Pieces of meat, which contain more connective tissue, are suitable for a soup: shoulders, legs, bones, etc. For a clearer broth, cook the soup at a lower temperature. The excessive fat and foam that form on the surface of the soup in the course of cooking must be skimmed.
Boiling meat in a pressure cooker
In a hermetically sealed pressure cooker, the food is prepared in steam, under slight over-pressure. The dish will get done quicker, the vitamins and minerals are preserved better (no oxygen access) and the aroma will be stronger (because of the higher temperature). The meat will be juicier, more delicate and easier to digest.
The advantages of a pressure cooker include saving time and energy, and the possibility to steam in aroma. Wine, herbs, etc. can be added to the boiling water. This method is good for preparing meat, which contains a lot of connective tissue and bone.
- The meat is first rinsed with cold water and cut into suitable pieces. Then, the meat is placed in a pressure cooker and seasoning and cleaned vegetables (onion, carrot, parsley, leek, bay leaves, black pepper, pimento, salt) are added as preferred.
- Then, a sufficient amount of water must be heated and poured into the pressure cooker, onto the meat; the water must cover half of the meat. When the lid has been closed, the valve is set so that steam can escape, when the pressure rises.
- The meat must be boiled at a low temperature for 15-60 minutes (depending on the meat).
- The exact cooking time depends mainly on the shape of the piece of meat. A thick piece takes longer to soften.
Blanching is brief heating in water or steam to denaturize the surface proteins or decrease the water content. For example, liver in blanched in the course of making pate.
Steaming is a popular method originating from China, which has been used there for centuries to prepare rice. It is an extremely healthy way of preparing food, which allows the food products to retain their flavour and colour. All beneficial vitamins and minerals are also retained. It is suitable for pork as well as beef and poultry.
When steaming on a wok-pan, a special steaming grid is placed over the boiling water. Food products, which have often been blanched in hot water beforehand, to destroy hazardous bacteria, are placed on the grid.
Authors og the text: Enn Tobreluts ja Heli Sepp