Monday, March 31, 2014

What to Do with Burned Food?: Fixing Burnt Food


How to Fix Burnt Food?

Burnt food is not always ruined. Foods burned while cooking on the stove can often be fixed so they still look edible and taste good. The sooner you recognize a dish is burning, the better chance you have of eating it. Burnt liquid foods, such as soups, are the easiest to save. Burnt baked or fried foods can be tougher to save because these burns usually have more smoke involved.

When food burns during cooking, you need to do three things:

a) Stop the food from cooking.

b) Separate the unburned parts from the burned.

c) Treat the unburned parts, if necessary, to prevent a burned taste.

Here is how to do each most effectively:

1) Many things can be salvaged by scooping out the contents of one pot, and placing them into a clean one. It is critical that when you do this you do not scrape the burnt pot. You will likely lose a bit off the bottom for your final product but that’s OK. Once you have a new clean pot filled with your food, you can taste it and add or alter things as necessary. I have used this technique many times with great success, often without any negative impact to the dish you are cooking.

2) Remove the pot from the heat at once. Fill a container bigger than the pot (use the sink if necessary) with cold water and put the bottom of the pot in the cold water. Speed is of the essence. Just removing a pot from the flame doesn’t stop the cooking; the cold-water plunge does.

3) Assess the amount of food that is stuck or burned to the cooking surface. Preferably using a wooden spoon, remove all the ingredients that don’t cling to the pot and transfer them to another similar container. Be sure you don’t scrape the bottom or sides of the pot; remove only what comes out easily. 

4) Taste the food. It is unlikely that it will have a burned taste, but if it does, cover the pot with a damp cloth and let it stand for about 30 minutes. Taste it again. If the taste is still unpleasantly burned or smoky, your food is probably beyond repair—unless you can take advantage of the smoky taste by adding barbecue sauce and renaming it “country-style” whatever it was.

5) To rid food of the burnt taste, add a small amount of peanut butter to the food until the taste is gone. Re-season the food.

6) Experiment with other food ingredients like adding potatoes for burned soup. Some things that I have used successfully include adding your favorite sweetener or any of a variety of vinegar including: red/white wine, cider or balsamic. In addition adding extra spices can mask the flavors considerably. The key here is to pick ingredients that fits with the dish you are preparing but have a particular and neutralizing effect on the offending taste or smell.

Learn how to... Use Oil Instead of Butter When Cooking.

How to Fix Burnt Turkey?

Remove the skin if it's actually burnt then slice all the breast meat off the carcass and either steam it in a stovetop steamer, or thin out your gravy with a little bit of stock and soak all the breast meat in the gravy for as long as possible. It's a rule of life that everything's better in gravy.

How to Fix Burnt Gravy?

Transfer the gravy to another pan immediately, leaving behind the burnt stuff stuck to the bottom. Then take a quarter of a cantelope (or other melon), peel it, cut it into chunks and add it to the gravy. The cantelope will act like a big sponge, soaking up the bitter and imparting a little sweetness. Remove the cantelope before serving. If you don't have melon on hand, whisk a spoonful of Jiff peanut butter into the gravy. Don't ask why it works; it just works.

Master the art of cooking grains at... How to Cook Grains Like Rice and Barley

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