hobinyang
2
Nov 13, 2017
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How do I fully dry out meat and vegetables before cooking quickly? They always end up basically boiling in the pan and I don't know how to make it so that their exterior gets the crunch and browning I want.
Nov 13, 2017
djfluffkins
130
Nov 14, 2017
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What is the cooking method that you are using? Usually this requires high heat cooking to achieve that crispiness on the outside.
So with veggies you could try blanching as a first step for cooking it through and through and then finish at high heat.
With meats you're probably wanting to do a sear and cook which should trap juices inside.
High heat and oil is the key to the finish, par-cooking is the key to make sure the food is fully cooked before that.
Nov 14, 2017
john.yu
526
Nov 14, 2017
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For searing, the most important things to do are the 1) allowing enough pan for the pan to fully pre-heat (getting an IR thermometer will help take the guesswork out of this; aim for at least 400F on the surface of the pan) and 2) patting the food dry right before placing into the pan. This is a great video showing how its done :) https://youtu.be/lPjSap5qjoQ
Any water on the surface of the food will be turned to steam, and this is what you're observing in making the food look like it was boiled. It also takes away a lot of heat away from the pan itself, so after the water boils off there might not be enough heat left in the pan to effectively brown the food anymore. (browning = Maillard Reaction, and only occurs well above boiling point around 280-330F). Using a pan material with a high heat capacity will also help. Cast iron is probably the most popular choice, but I personally prefer carbon steel because of the superior thermal conductivity (which gives beautifully even results).
Nov 14, 2017
cs85b03
101
Nov 14, 2017
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john.yu is pretty spot on with the answer. The issue is the water build up. Let's say you are trying fajita mix (onion and peppers). If you start by throwing the veggies in when the pan isn't hot enough, the veggies will start to soften and break down first. When that happens, they release water into the pan, which turns to steam and ends up fully cooking the veggies before they can brown. You will end up with soggy fajita mix. When you get the pan hot enough, then add oil and wait a little for it to heat up as well, then throw in the veggies a whole different reaction occurs. The veggies will sear and brown before they breakdown and release water.
You can practice this technique by glazing carrots. They are delicious and no one will complain of them as an added side. I cut them into disks, a little thicker than 1/4", then get a pan hot and add butter (you can use oil, but the carrots taste better in butter). If you keep the pan medium to medium-high the whole time, they will start to caramelize and soften at the same time. Carrots are a little forgiving in this endeavor - if your heat is a little too low, they will just take a bit longer instead of releasing a bunch of water and steaming themselves. You will notice that they aren't really browning like they should, so you just turn up the heat a bit. I add a little salt after they have been cooking for a few minutes. That brings up another good point - salt breaks down veggies quicker, so you have to balance when you add it to ensure you aren't making the veggies too soggy at the beginning of the cooking process. If you have ever made kraut or kimchi (even salsa), you will how just salt can fully break down a veggie over just a short period of time. For most veggies it won't matter too much, but some break down so quickly (squash and cabbage for example) that preseasoning makes it difficult to sear because there is simply too much water that the pan can never get to searing temps. There have been times where I had to drain excess water just to get the pan hot enough to sear.
Nov 14, 2017
b9d9ffdad3ac59e7f6f
135
Nov 14, 2017
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What type of pan are you using? It's harder to get browning in certain pans, like nonstick. A thicker pan helps in this regard, as it will retain more heat. Others have mentioned cast iron and carbon steel, but stainless steel is another good option. The other downside to nonstick is that it's very hard, if not impossible, to create fond (flavorful browned bits of meat stuck to the pan that you release by deglazing).
The reason for this is that the meat is not making perfect heat transference contact with the pan. Sure, the nonstick surface has a low coefficient of friction, requiring little to no oil, but it is exactly that oil that fills in the microscopic pits between steel and the meat.
What kind of meat are you preparing? A steak? Then the previous responses have that covered.
If the meat is cut into smaller pieces, like for fajitas or stir-fry, make sure they are not crowding in the pan. Brown it in portions. This way, if they do give up moisture, the pan has sufficient heat to boil it off.
If you're browning something like ground beef, fattier grades will give up more liquid, so feel free to drain it off.
Nov 14, 2017
neongirl
7
Nov 14, 2017
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Lots of good, detailed answers by the other responses. b9d mentions it - but for meat, make sure you are not overcrowding your pan.
Nov 14, 2017
tbrun
3
Nov 14, 2017
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a few things help, cooking is a science, whether people acknowledge it or not. and treating it as such will take you a long way. ( like rattatouli " anyone can cook" "not anyone can be a chef") first and largest thing is heat.... true "saute" is using the highest heat under smoking point to immediately remove excess water.... this is the largest because its the most difficult to control, as you arent always able to just go upgrade to a gas stovetop, and through experience electric is MUCH more difficult and TIME CONSUMING to obtain perfect heat (i can just lift my pan farther away from the fire to lower and leave it there to raise).... with all that being said, since the motto is crank that heat UP, most heat control comes from your ingredients. normal un clarified butter will burn first. ( when you dallop a tbsp of butter in a pan and you see the white puffs floating around, that is the whey proteins) they tend to clump and burn giving you that grime on the bottom of your pans. next clarified butter will evaporate very fast. and brown and burn changing flavor and color of the final dish (experiment once experienced) normal mash veg oil will smoke and burn at a medium heat, while olive oil and most solid oils burn at a much higher heat.... while i cant immediately go into the difference in olive oil vs canola other than heat bearing capabilities, or if its only the heat that makes the difference. with baking if you want crispy or crunch, go for olive. if you want soft and pillowy. go for canola, and this method has always stayed faithful to me. last but not least is your cooking trio, alcohol/ sugar/ salt. when used properly will make all the difference. salt and alcohol will start an osmosis process on the food drawing moisture out, to help wilt faster for aesthetics and also creates a type of broth/base to intensify the flavors. (real moisture from the food itself, with as little water in it as possible) like the intense flavors of mushroom soup derived from a mushroom stock. and sugar and alcohol will act as an enzyme to help start the breakdown of the food. helping to "stew" the product. but use common sense. dont just take my word and dump a cup of sugar on your steak, lightly salt the steak 10 minutes after starting cooking.... and did you know one of the original uses of salt was in japan? used to reduced the fish flavor in meat, by using osmosis to draw out the moisture that contains the fish flavor? knowing this fact, actually really helps to use salt properly with meat.... i didnt put two and two together for years, until someone pointed it out to me.... now no more dry steak/chicken
Nov 14, 2017
ecodd
4
Nov 14, 2017
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Paper towel is always good for drying away excess water. Make sure your pan is hot enough, if your pan is not hot when you add your protein or veg, it will slowly rise in temp causing the water in the meat/veg to release, steam, and boil. Season your protein heavily with a course salt such as kosher, and let sit a few mins before cooking to draw out moisture to the surface and make a nice crust on the outside of the protein. Bring your oil almost to smoking (use high heat oil), add protein and cook to desired color/temp, and let rest for at least 2 mins.
Nov 14, 2017
pixelsaurus
2
Nov 14, 2017
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Roast or parboil veggies first. You can do this ahead of time and then crisp them in a skillet to reheat and brown them. Meat is a different issue and what you are going for is the Maillard reaction which takes high heat to achieve. For a detailed explanation one of my favorite sites is http://www.seriouseats.com/2017/04/what-is-maillard-reaction-cooking-science.html
Nov 14, 2017
xilvar
49
Nov 17, 2017
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The best solution is a bit complex. As others have mentioned paper towels and a heavy enough pan with enough heat capacity at a decent temperature is important.
One unusual trick I use is to use the same blowtorch I sometimes use for browning and fish. It makes for a super fast blow dryer evaporating surface liquid very quickly even if you want to do a normal pan brown.
The other part part of the equation is how your prep is done for the food. for a lot of my meats I actually give them some sort of light salt cure at least overnight in the fridge before whatever my next step is. This draws out a lot of water which can evaporate away and reduces the problem when you get to the browning.
Nov 17, 2017
inthewoods
13
Nov 19, 2017
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you can pat meat dry with a paper towel. Salt also pulls out moisture over time. Overcrowding a pan is a mistake a lot of people make with browning meat. If you crowd the meat too much in the pan, the meat will steam instead of brown.
Nov 19, 2017
billc
356
Nov 19, 2017
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Great answer with one caveat: The thermal conductivity of cast iron is more than 50% greater than that of carbon steel. (80 vs 50 W/m*K) The typical carbon steel pan is a lot thinner than a cast iron skillet, however, so you’re getting faster diffusion.
Nov 19, 2017
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