Wednesday, May 7, 2014

How to simmer without boiling over or burning ... guaranteed!!!

This is going to be a very short and simple post of a quick tip which works for me every single time!!

A lot of recipes will ask that you simmer something for 20 minutes on low heat or medium heat.

Very often, I'm pretty sure most of the time, actually, you will simmer the pot of whatever is cooking, be it soup, stew or sauce on the stove top. This can lead to the pot boiling over if it's too hot or burning if you forget to watch the pot.

What I do is I simmer in the oven.

Yes, you heard me right, I said simmer in the oven. :-)

Water boils at 100°C or 212°F, so I set my oven to between 100°C and 120°C or 212°F and 248°F to simmer whatever I am needing to simmer.

I heat up the oven to the correct temperature, and while that is happening, I get my pot of whatever I'm cooking on the stove and bring it to a boil on the stove.

Then, when it is boiling, I transfer the entire pot, covered with a lid, into the oven, and set the timer for it to simmer in the oven for whatever the duration is needed. Just remember to set your timer and get it out of the oven at the appropriate time. It's okay if you run over a little, it won't boil dry in the oven for a very long time.

A word of caution though - make sure that your pot is oven proof. Stainless steel pots are best for this, or cast iron. If you have a pot that has plastic or plastic like material parts, make sure that it can withstand the temperatures that you have set the oven to. I know that Scanpan can withstand up to 160°C or 320°F. You do not want your pot melting in the oven because it cannot withstand the heat.

I promise that this method of simmering is pretty foolproof. No need to check it and constantly watch it, just set the timer and let it go. No boiling over. No burning unless you forget about it and leave it for a long time, and even then, it would take hours and hours before all the liquid would evaporate.

The only caveat I make to that is the fact that if you are slow cooking something over 5 or 6 or more hours, then it will dry down a bit. Check it periodically (every 2 or 3 hours) just to make sure you still have enough moisture in it, and if not, just add a little more boiling water.

I hope you try this out and if you do, let me know how it works for you. :-)

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