An Excellent and Easy Way to Cook Meat (and Fish!)

This post is just a quickie that occurred to me when I was cooking dinner last night.  For my real man I did turkey steaks in a creamy leek sauce with mashed potato and veggies.  I had scallops, also in a creamy leek sauce, wrapped in buckwheat pancakes – I've eaten this before and I don’t blame me, it’s yum!

Firstly I made enough leek sauce for both of us.

Creamy Leek Sauce for 2

1 leek – cleaned and thinly sliced
30g butter
300ml double cream
salt and pepper

~   Melt the butter in a small pan and stir in the leeks to coat thoroughly.
~   Turn down the heat and press something suitable (ie. a butter wrapper, greaseproof paper of piece of foil) directly onto the surface of the leeks to cover completely.  Put a lid on the pan.
~   Cook gently for 10-15 minutes keeping an eye on things and giving the occasional stir till very tender.
~   Remove the covers and stir in the cream.
~   Taste and season.
~   Bring to a boil then simmer gently for a minute.

Having made this I browned the scallops and the turkey in two separate pans, added a splash of stock to the turkey and a splash of white wine to the scallops together with half each of the creamy leek sauce.  I brought both pans almost but not quite to the boil, covered them and turned off the heat. 

Here’s mine ...


The Best Way to Cook Small Pieces of Meat & Fish

It was at this point I realised that some people might not be familiar with this easy, minimal attention and even a bit economical way of cooking small pieces of meat and fish without drying out or toughening them.  The secret is ... the flesh cooks in the residual heat of the liquid rather than direct heat so remains tender and juicy.  Another wily plan!  You can even cook things like this an hour or two in advance, just remember to reheat Very Gently or the tender advantage will be lost.

It is important that the meat or fish to be cooked is at room temperature and in thin slices. As for the liquid, match it to the dish.  Hot stock, hot wine and stock, cream, cider or an appropriate sauce or gravy.


~   Firstly prepare your sauce which should be copious enough to at least surround, if not cover, the propose meat or fish.
~   When ready to cook the meat first bring the sauce to a good temperature, not necessarily boiling but nice and hot
~   Season the meat or fish and sauté in a little oil till taking colour on both sides then pour over the hot sauce.
~   Bring to a simmer, put on a lid and turn off the heat.
~   When ready to eat just return to a simmer BUT NO MORE – boiling already cooked meat toughens it.

This way of cooking is ideal for ...

~   Shellfish – the scallops above, for instance.
~   Fillets of fish.
~   Chicken escalopes or, to put it another way, thin slices of chicken, either cut that way or beaten thin and flat. 
~   Veal escalopes too.
~   Those thin minute steaks that can dry out so quickly.
~   Liver and Onions – this is great made this way.  I make a rich onion gravy first, brown the liver in a little oil on both sides then pour over the hot gravy, turn off the heat and cover the pan.  If the liver is thinly sliced, as it should be, it will be cooked, tender and wonderful in about 5 minutes.


Reheating Meat

And that’s not all – this is the best way to reheat cooked meats, especially roast meats for a second roast dinner.  I slice the meat and bring the gravy to a boil.  Take the gravy off the heat, lay the sliced meat in it, put on a lid and leave it to relax and warm up whilst I do the veggies.  The result is tender, juicy and delicious – maybe better than the first time!

In Other News ...

Small story, at the risk of being boring, someone reviewed my cooking tips ebook a while ago now and gave it 3 stars – they wrote:

“The tips in this book are good for the novice and/or aspiring cook, however I have to take stars away for the constant use of "till" instead of the correct word "until" throughout the book.”

This seems a bit uber-picky to me especially as he liked the tips but he’s not the only one who can be pedantic! I did a bit of research and found that till actually came first, appearing in the language about four hundred years before until and that they are both now considered correct. What a sad waste of two stars!


SarahC said...

Suzy, what's your thinking on heating for cubes of meat (e.g. leftover from the joint) rather than thin slices. I quite often make a spicy or curry sauce and then add leftover meat from the Sunday roast - sometimes I get it just right and it's beautifully tender, sometimes I think I must heat it through for too long, as it starts to toughen up again ... Any guidance much appreciated!

Sudden Lunch ~ Suzy Bowler said...

Hello Sarah - if it was me I would make my spicy sauce and bring it to a boil then add the diced meat and return to a simmer. Depending on the size of the meat perhaps give it a gently simmer for a minute or two. Remove from the heat, cover and allow to sit for 20 mins to half a hour. You could always try a bit (cook's treat!) and return to a simmer if too cool.

Hope that helps.

Sarah said...

Thank you - I will try it out tomorrow!