Cooking Method-Braise

Cooking methods are significantly different with how the react to the food. Specifically designed to have certain affects on them. One of my favorite, especially with protein cookery, is the braise method.
The braise is usually classified as a low heat and small amount of liquid method. With protein braising it’s usually started by searing the meat. The braise is a slow cooking method, but can result with a great end product.
With proteins this style of cooking is used to break down connective tissue until the protein is tender. This is why tough cuts of meat are recommended. With chicken for example you would want to use the dark meat which is used more by the animal, thus has more connective tissue. Using a light meat cut would draw out the moisture and you’d typically end up with a dry piece of chicken.
With vegetables this method allows for very tender and flavorful product. You’ve slow cooked your vegetable in a flavorful liquid and a reduction of the liquid can make a great sauce in many occasions.
One dish I’ve made with this method that’s great for bacon lovers is braised pork belly. Make a flavorful liquid, usually a stock of some kind, and slow braise it for a 24 hour period at about 200F.

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Always cook with a plan

Recently at school we have taken a mock version of a certified sous chef certification of the American Culinary Federation. On occasion I would go to class without much of a plan on what I would be making the next day. With a certification like this they want everything planned and a lot of technique shown. A menu, timeline, prep list, equipment list and a scrap utilization list are almost all required to pass. It can work, but if something goes wrong there’s little time to come up with a plan B.
I’ve been spending a lot of time working on organization and planning and it’s helped tremendously. You run into less problems and when problems do arise you’ve saved so much time by managing your time you can come up with a viable back up plan. The time spent making a prep list and time line beat the stress of having to come up with things and execute them accurately on the spot.
Time really is money in the restaurant industry, so writing tasks that need to get done can also help you find areas you’re spending too much time. Or it can help the order of prep make more sense so you’re not constantly walking around the kitchen looking for something. Gathering all the equipment and product you need and keeping them at the station minimizes walking time and saves labor cost. The time it takes a well organized cook to do 10 items is much quicker than an equally skilled less organized one.
Going to cook is a lot less stressful when you have a prep list and a time line. Most of the usual worries and stresses of cooking are eliminated. The more organized you cook the better cook you can become, in part because attention to detail becomes of the upmost importance. You start to do things more quickly and efficiently.

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