Simon’s Guide To Casseroles

When it comes to Autumn and Winter, we cannot go past a slow-cooked casserole and how could we with the wonderful smells that fill the house during the day, the ease of cooking and delicious flavour on the table that very night. Read on for our guide to casseroles.

 

Casserole, French for “saucepan”, refers both to the meal as well as the dish it is cooked in. A casserole dish is deep, ovenproof with a tight fitting lid. The heat surrounds the dish making the food cook evenly throughout, not just from the bottom up.

It’s a classic meal that is perfect for all as it’s time and budget friendly. Casseroles require next to no effort for preparation, use cheaper cuts of meat that when slow cooked turns into the most tender, hearty and flavoursome meal.

Our top tips for casseroles are;

1. Cut to size – cut all your ingredients such as meat and vegetables into similar sizes to ensure they cook evenly.

2. Know your cuts – Lamb; shank, neck chop, chump. Beef; flank steak, chuck, rump roast, topside. Pork; belly, diced pork shoulder, forequarter chops. Chicken; diced, wings, drumsticks. Veal; Osso Bucco.

3. Coating – coat the meat in flour just before cooking. Don’t coat too early as the meat will absorb the flour and ruin the texture. Coating the meat in flour will thicken the casserole sauce later.

4. Batch work – brown meat in batches separately before adding vegetables, herbs or liquids. If you add too much in at once, it will cook in it’s own juices and become tough.

5. Fill it up –  be sure to add plenty of extras other than meat such as onion, carrot, potato, celery, sweet potato, bacon even prosciutto. Add quickly cooked produce such as beans or peas towards the end of cooking to avoid mushiness and lack of flavour. Add liquids like stock, wine, and tinned tomatoes.

6. Cover up – put the lid on the casserole and bake in oven according to your recipe. Remember, cook gently for tender meat.

 

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