What's the name of this cooking method?
August 6, 2012 6:24 PM   Subscribe

I've developed a cooking method recently where I cook some seasoned meat or fish in a fry pan with a bunch of oil and butter. Then, when it's done, I take out the meat and throw in some cut up veggies to soak up the juices of the meat along with all the remaining nicely charred spices and oil. Mmm. So good. So easy. Why have I never heard of this? I would like to explore what other people have done with this seemingly obvious idea, but I'm not sure what it's called. Is there a specific name for this?
posted by zachawry to Food & Drink (18 answers total) 28 users marked this as a favorite
Deglazing. And Maillard Reaction.
posted by polymodus at 6:27 PM on August 6, 2012 [7 favorites]

You might also call that making a pan sauce, though most of those recipes will deglaze the pan with, say, wine and other liquids, then pour the resulting awesomeness over the meat and veggies.
posted by Ausamor at 6:36 PM on August 6, 2012 [2 favorites]

That's pretty much a stir fry.
posted by flabdablet at 6:39 PM on August 6, 2012 [4 favorites]

For googling, "fond" is another name for all the good stuff left in the pan after you've cooked up some meat.
posted by heyforfour at 6:48 PM on August 6, 2012 [2 favorites]

You have made a type of pan sauce. Especially delicious with roasted birds; try making a pan gravy this Thanksgiving!
posted by lalex at 6:52 PM on August 6, 2012 [4 favorites]

If you're exploring new ideas that use the cook-in-the-meat-bits method, try this:

1) Set some (small) potatoes to boil in some salted water.
2) Fry bacon.
3) Eat bacon.
4) Juuust when potatoes get fork stabby, remove them from the boil.
5) Let them sit for a minute out of the water to steam off.
6) Fry up the potatoes in the bacon grease until they crisp on the outside.
7) Die happy.
posted by phunniemee at 6:52 PM on August 6, 2012 [21 favorites]

I do this with kielbasa or other sausage. After I remove the meat, I add cut up peppers and onions and cook them until tender. This is fabulous!
posted by eleslie at 7:28 PM on August 6, 2012

Do this with duck and fry things (potatoes are PERFECT) in the duck fat. So very delicious.
posted by xingcat at 7:33 PM on August 6, 2012

I skip a step, and add the vegetables when the meat is partly done, so they all finish at the same time. There might be taste advantages to cooking them sequentially, but keeping it all together saves time and effort and tastes fine to me; it definitely gets the flavor absorption you are talking about.
posted by Forktine at 7:35 PM on August 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

I do this with eggs or potatoes pretty much anytime I've just made bacon. The upside is that it makes everything else really yummy; the downside (if you want to call it that) is that everything tends to taste more or less like bacon rather than whatever it would have tasted like originally. I used to do this with green beans but found it was a little heavy and kind of killed the natural deliciousness of the beans themselves.
posted by Scientist at 7:40 PM on August 6, 2012

Much like the above posters, I do this with bacon-grease; my favorite thing for it is thin slices of tofu, which take on the bacony flavor, and eventually become as crisp as crackers. You can then use them like crackers for scooping up tuna salad or egg salad, or as the bases for making little canap├ęs!
posted by Greg Nog at 7:51 PM on August 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

I like to fry pear slices in the pan after I fry hamburgers, and then put the pear slices on the hamburgers.
posted by escabeche at 7:54 PM on August 6, 2012 [8 favorites]

Try adding something like sour cream and a dash of sherry to the pan juices, and you have a delicious sauce to go with the vegetables and meat or spoon over pasta.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 9:26 PM on August 6, 2012

Yep, this is basically awesome, as everyone else here has said. On America's Test Kitchen, they often make dishes in this manner. You can check out their website or their TV show (on PBS). Designed to be super-accessible for new cooks, but also quite compelling for advanced cooks as well.
posted by Conrad Cornelius o'Donald o'Dell at 10:03 PM on August 6, 2012

What you're doing is probably closer to the process of rendering than it is to deglazing, since deglazing requires the use of a liquid (usually wine or stock).

Rendering is when you take something fatty (like beef tallow, duck fat, bacon, anything really) and cook it on low heat until all the fat separates and liquefies. Depending on the material this can take some time, but is almost always worth it. Then when it's rendered you add the stuff you want to cook in the rendered fat, which could be veggies or even other meat.

Now I'm guessing you're probably not cooking meat on that low of a setting, so this isn't technically "true" rendering (as in, getting a bunch of cooking fat is not your primary goal). I searched all my foodie books but couldn't find any other term other than deglazing or rendering. As you said this is something that seems really obvious and is likely something humans have been doing since the discovery of fire. It needs no name. It's goooooood.

And now for my recipe suggestion in this vein:

1. Get some brussels sprouts and quarter them.
2. Render some bacon in a pan (low heat is best, be patient!). Do a lot of bacon. The more the merrier.
3. Once you've got some good fat singing along in there, kick up the heat to medium-high and toss in your sprouts. Get some char on.
4. Cook 'em till they're nice an bright green. I like my sprouts with a little "tooth" so this is the done stage for me. If you want them a little softer toss in a pat of unsalted butter, lower the heat and cover the pan.

Pro-tip: save your bacon fat in a jar. When making grilled cheese sandwiches use bacon fat instead of butter on the bread slices.
posted by Doleful Creature at 10:52 PM on August 6, 2012

One thing you may not be aware of is that we've only had oils and lard and other fats like that on the shelf of our supermarkets since about WWII. Before that, all pan-fats were rendered from meats, unless people pressed their own oils or whatnot.

Also, if you do deglaze with a liquid, A) scrap the pan with a wooden spoon or the like to free up the fond and add it to the sauce, the B) reduce the liquid at a simmer until thickened (bed figured by the time it takes to fill in the void after you push some sauce around dthe pan with a spoon, and C) if you want to make your sauce a little richer (not always necessary), you can add between a pat and a couple tablespoons of butter right at the end-- this is called "mounting' the sauce, and it elevates even the humblest of sauces.

Since you're cooking lean fish, you're adding the fat up front, but be sure to preserve the fat of the fattier meats-- pour it all off and re-add only what you need. Keep the rest (separate! keep your lard out of your suet!) for later experimentation and such.
posted by Sunburnt at 12:05 AM on August 7, 2012 [1 favorite]

I don't know what this is called, but as a sometimes professional chef, I did this even before went to culinary school.

The trick is to not burn the "fond" in the pan - burnt is bad.

Building flavors is GOOD.

I'm kinda bummed there doesn't seem to be a technical word or phrase for this technique since I've been doing it for years.

That said....

I'm from NYC and Long Island, and I now live in LA. There does not seem to be any Chinese restaurants that make the food I know from home.

The one Hunan restaurant near my home, they have a restaurant on Long Island, too. Their food is closest to home.

In this restaurant, the chef owner uses the same wok (cleaned out with hot water periodically) for every dish. Our fav is the Fried Rice, and it features a smoky flavor that I can not quite duplicate at home (although frying day old rice in a cast iron pan gives a close approximation.)

One of the chef's other tricks is to use ridiculous amounts of oil to fry veg, and then he drains that off in a colander and adds the veg back to any dish he is cooking.

This trick, alone, has elevated my personal cuisine. But I am gluten-free, so I don't recommend this route if you eat anything with wheat, because the two together will make you fat as a house!


Developing flavors in a single vessel is an ancient and solid technique. Gosh, do I wish I knew what that was called!

Yes, stir fry employs this method, but I agree there must be another name for it.
posted by jbenben at 2:41 AM on August 7, 2012 [1 favorite]

Many dishes from the southern US use this principle to flavor vegetables and beans. They use fatback for flavoring green beans, cabbage, beans, greens. Fatback is a strip of fat from the back of a hog, and it looks a lot like bacon that is all fat and no meat. If you don't have fatback in your area, you can substitute bacon or (for a pot of beans) ham hock. Basic recipe is to cook the fatback until crispy then add the vegetable or beans.
posted by Houstonian at 3:02 AM on August 7, 2012

« Older Are my Sennheiser headphones fixable or should I...   |   How can I launch a vintage repro line? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.