Methods of Cookery

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Topics: Cooking
Stewing is the principle of cookery where the food is completely covered with liquid while it is cooking. The long cooking process gives a concentrated flavour to the food and the sauce, which are served together as a complete dish.

Suitable foods
Generally speaking, items suitable for stewing are those of a tough nature. The cheaper cuts of lamb, beef, veal, pork, game and chicken can be used most successfully.
Fish for stewing include fresh water and ocean fish and shellfish. When stewing fish, gentleness is a must. If fish is cooked too vigorously, the flesh will break up and the fish protein toughens.
Root vegetables, potatoes and fruit are suitable for stewing. Ratatouille is a vegetable stew, which includes onions, garlic, eggplant, zucchinis, tomatoes and capsicums.
Fruits are usually stewed in syrup. Apples, rhubarb, figs, peaches and pineapples can be used. The stewed fruit is often referred to as compote.

Utensils and Equipment
The term for a stewing pan is casserole. They can be made from a variety of metals, but are commonly made from enamelled cast iron.
Other types of utensils and equipment used in the production of stews include bratt pan and spiders.
Use plastic spoons when stirring stews as metal spoons can discolour the sauce, especially if an aluminium saucepan is used.
Take care when handling large containers of hot food. Do not push or pull the pan suddenly or the contents may splash out. Two-handled pans may need two people to move them safely.

Methods of Cookery
In most cases, the food to be stewed needs to be cut into an even size and sealed and browned by shallow frying in hot fat.
The liquid can be thickened and flavourings added before the actual stewing begins. Salt should not be added at the beginning because there are natural salts in the meat and vegetables. The addition of extra salt may reduce in the stew being too salty.
Food items of a tougher nature are suitable for stewing. The food is simmered on top of the

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