If you’ve been keeping up with us throughout January, you’ll remember that we covered the powerful protein food group, and we took a closer look into which cuts of meat are the most economical.
Today, we are discussing how to turn those tougher, more cost-effective meats into some stellar tasting dishes with three cooking skills: marinating, pan frying, and deglazing.
Marinating is an effective way to enhance the flavor, add extra moisture, and tenderize meat before cooking. In addition, a good marinade can help make cheaper, leaner cuts less dry and make tougher pieces of meat more succulent.
The best results vary with the meat you are using, but in general, the longer the meat can absorb the marinade, the better.
- Vegetables – 10 minutes
- Seafood – 15 to 30 minutes (1-hour max)
- Boneless chicken breasts – 2 hours, up to 48 hours
- Pork loin – 4 hours, up to 24 hours
- Lamb – 4 to 8 hours
- Beef- up to 24 hours
To form a good marinate, use this combination: 1 part acid + 3 parts fat or oil + seasonings.
Your acid can be something like vinegar, wine, lemon, or lime juice. For fat or oil, you can use just about any oil, or experiment with something like milk or yogurt. Your seasonings are whatever flavors you are interested in adding.
In addition, always marinate your meat in a refrigerator. This ensures bacteria does not grow on your meat.
While the meat is marinating, you want your meat to be completely immersed. Generally, 1/2 cup of liquid marinade for every 1 pound of meat will do the trick. If you can’t completely cover the meat, turn it over occasionally in the marinade.
Once your meat has marinated, you are ready to pan fry. For more on marinating, visit Marinating: A Guide to how it Works and What it Does by Jessica Gavin.
Pan frying is a method of cooking food in a frying pan on a stove top or in an electric skillet. This method uses oil to cook the meat and is explained beautifully in the following video.
While this video uses chicken breasts, any meat can be prepared by pan frying.
Deglazing is a cooking technique that involves introducing a liquid to the used pan to lift up the pieces of food stuck to the bottom.