Saving on cooking oil...

Discussion in 'General Food and Foraging Discussion' started by SurviveNthrive, Dec 27, 2010.

  1. SurviveNthrive

    SurviveNthrive a dude

    For health reasons, possible economic reasons, and preparation planning reasons, I'm experimenting on cooking with less oil.

    In short: braise with bullion instead of an acid based fluid, drain, and follow up by browing or actually 'rebrowning' what is being cooked as this requires less cooking oil or butter.

    I prefer olive oil, which is a bit pricy, but not burdensome, NOW, but I always imagine things might be scarce. Cooking oil is often an item which sometimes comes up short during bad periods and while I've got various forms of short to medium storage cooking oil and shortening, I've only so much long-term storage butter, shortening and such.

    So, my experiment is a combination of pseudo braising and reverse braising. I saw this technique when looking at a means of making celery a cooked vegetable side dish.

    With braising a food item is first browned with high and dry heat, and liquid, often acidic like a wine or tomato based fluid is added and the item is then cooked. Instead of an acidic base, that recipe called for a broth.

    The method is to begin with a hint of butter or cooking oil, to brown, then add broth, either chicken or beef, it can simply be water with bullion cubes tossed in. But here is where it changed it, and perhaps there's a term...I'm using the heat and broth to cook and flavor the meat, but you drain that off and then finish it in the same pan with again, just a hint of oil with items like zuccini, celery, potatoes, and even some meats. The original 'browning' is just to keep the food item from getting too mushy in braising portion of the cooking. (This 'broth' which consists of the actual beef or chicken broth, seasonings, fluid from the veggies or meat, and a bit of oil can be used for a variety of things such as one for one replacement with water for rice or as a starter for adding flavor to the next dish cooked.) I suspect this might be more fuel efficient.

    This requires less oil. No, it doesn't have that full, rich, wonderful taste of the same item fried completely in oil but it's not like it's boiled. It's in between.
  2. gypsysue

    gypsysue The wanderer

    What type of cookware do you recommend for this?

    You make an exellent point about learning to cook without oil (in addition to the healthful aspects of using less oil).

  3. The_Blob

    The_Blob performing monkey

    you also could try using schmaltz, which we happen to have in abundance (well, a facimile) because of the boiled chicken leg-quarter diet we feed our dogs, which yields a high-protein (colagen) broth by-product as well

    Schmaltz rendered from a chicken or goose (rarely other Kosher poultry) is popular in Jewish cuisine; it was used by Eastern European & Russian Jews who were forbidden by Kashrut (Jewish dietary laws) to fry their meats in butter or lard, the common forms of cooking fat in Europe, and who could not obtain the kinds of cooking oils, such as olive oil and sesame oil, that they had used in the Middle East and around the Mediterranean. (the overfeeding of geese to produce more fat per bird produced postclassical Europe's first foie gras as a side effect).

    The making of schmaltz starts by cutting the fatty tissues of a bird into small pieces, melting the fat, and collecting the drippings. Schmaltz may be prepared by a dry process where the pieces are cooked under low heat and stirred, gradually yielding their fat. A wet process also exists whereby the fat is melted by direct steam injection. The rendered schmaltz is then filtered and clarified.

    Homemade Jewish-style schmaltz is made by cutting chicken or goose fat into small pieces and melting in a pan over low-to-moderate heat, generally with onions. After the majority of the fat has been extracted, the melted fat is strained through a cheesecloth into a storage container. The left over dark brown, crispy bits of skin and onion are known in Yiddish as gribenjes.

    Similarly, pork fat can be enhanced with small pieces of pork skin to create griebenschmaltz, usually with small pieces of apple with the onion.

    Since the rendering process removes water and proteins from the fat, schmaltz does not spoil easily, it is sometimes used to preserve cooked meats if stored in an airtight container in a cool, dry location... like French confit.

    Schmaltz often has a strong aroma, and therefore is often used for hearty recipes like stews or roasts, it is also used as a bread spread, where it is sometimes also salted, and generally this is done on whole-grain breads which have a strong flavor of their own.

    In Germany schmaltzbrot can be found on many menus, especially in grounded restaurants or brewery pubs, schmaltzbrot is often served as griebenschmaltz on rye bread accompanied with large pickles.

    There is also butter schmaltz (slowly cooked butter to reduce water & fat) and a 'vegetarian' version... :eek:
  4. The_Blob

    The_Blob performing monkey

  5. BadgeBunny

    BadgeBunny Well-Known Member

    I wouldn't trade for my cast iron. Seasoned and cared for properly cast iron takes very little oil to produce a nice even sear and lots of flavor. Google Alton Brown Cast Iron. He did a show on Good Eats about cast iron cooking and caring for your utensils. Very informative.

    Clay pot cooking is something that I have been wanting to try but just haven't gotten around to it.
  6. Reblazed

    Reblazed Member

  7. BasecampUSA

    BasecampUSA Sr. Homesteader

    you Schmalz... you! ;-)

    Nostalgia just knocked me over! Mmmmmm...

    If there were a hundred restaurants around here, I'd always be running to you.

    My folks immigrated from Germany whan I was 2 years old, and kept their cooking culture. I can remember as a kid enjoying these plus Gänseschmalz and the French confit de canard (to DIE for)!

    I worked as an engineer in Europe for 10 years and never passed up a chance to savor genuine fois gras, confit, camembert, roquefort etc. - you'd have to be rich over here here to eat like that regularly.

    I've made confit de canard many times after a duck hunt (steel pellets!)... similar to this:

    Recipe: Confit de Canard (France, Languedoc) Confit de Canard (Fat-preserved Duck)

    I "pull" the meat and de-bone it thoroughly after simmering in fat for 2 hours, then I spread it on a platter and run a strong alnico magnet (if from hunting) over it to get any stray steel pellets out. Then it gets simmered another hour and either goes in the freezer, canned in small jelly glasses, or right in the belly as a spread on fresh baked whole wheat bread from the wood stove.

    - Basey
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2010
  8. NaeKid

    NaeKid YourAdministrator, eh?

    Sounds like something that I grew up with called "Crackles" which, in simple terms is the name given to the fat from a pig after butchering that is rendered down to a butter-like-consistancy and then spread on bread or crackers.