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Back to the oven

Kysha Harris | 9/5/2012, 6:05 p.m.
Back to the oven

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Back to the oven

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Back to the oven

photo

Back to the oven

And we are back. Time to get into the fall routine--back to work, back to school. So let me offer you some everyday time-saving techniques for cooking meats, fish and poultry that will certainly help to make things a little easier when you get back to the oven.

Method A: Stove top and oven: for meats, fish and poultry

  1. Preparation - It all begins with preparation. When you bring meats home from the store, season and wrap them in A Press 'n Seal portions, then place them into a labeled freezer bag. That way you don't have to thaw eight pieces of chicken if you are only making two at a time. Also, the meat has a chance to get flavor before it hits the pan.
  2. Thaw - In the morning before you go to work, move the frozen portion to a plate on the lowest part of your refrigerator to prevent cross contamination with other foods.
  3. Room Temperature - When you return home, remove the portion from the fridge, unwrap it and let it come to room temperature. Have a glass of wine, put on your slippers, pet the dog, etc.
  4. Preheat - Preheat oven to 350 degrees* (see No. 2 of Method B) and preheat oven-safe skillet over medium-high flame. The pan is ready when you can't hold your hand 2 inches above it for longer than three seconds or, if you don't have asbestos hands, give it three minutes.
  5. Season - If your protein is not pre-seasoned, first pat it dry with a paper towel to remove excess moisture, which helps for a good sear. Liberally season it with kosher salt and pepper and/or your seasoning of choice.
  6. Fat - Coat the pan with a thin layer of cooking oil (e.g., grapeseed, olive, vegetable).
  7. Cooking - Lay your room temperature meat away from you (so you don't get hot oil on yourself) and let it be until the edges get opaque/cooked and some caramelization appears on the side touching the pan. Times vary on size. Once the color is achieved, flip your protein, cook for one minute** (see No. 4 of Method B) and move the oven-safe pan to the preheated oven. Again, times may vary based on type and size of protein (e.g., rare steak, medium fish, well-done chicken), but five to eight minutes should do for well done.
  8. Resting - Remove the pan from the oven (NOTE: Leave a pot holder on a pan handle to remember that it is hot!) and/or protein from the pan to a cutting board. Let rest so all of the juices can redistribute back into the meat.
  9. Slicing - If slicing, slice against the grain.

Method B: Stove top only (tested for boneless, skinless chicken breasts only)

  1. Follow instructions 1-3 above.
  2. * Preheat a pan with a lid (lid off to begin) over medium-high flame.
  3. Follow instructions 5-6 above.
  4. ** Place lid tightly on the pan, turn the heat down to medium and cook for three minutes. Move the pan off of the burner and let it stand for one minute.
  5. Remove lid and follow instructions 8-9.

You should have a beautifully seared and caramelized piece of whatever that is also moist on the inside.

Now get back to it!

Enjoy, get eating and thanks for reading!

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Questions at dinnertime? Chat with me on Instant Messenger at AskSCHOP, Monday through Friday, 6-8 p.m.

Kysha Harris is owner of SCHOP! which is available for weekly service or for home entertaining. Questions? Comments? Requests? Feedback? Email kysha@iSCHOP.com.