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Kettle Cooking Chicken Braising, poached and steamed
Braising, Poaching and Steaming
Braising is one popular type of kettle cookery--meat is first browned, then simmered in a small amount of liquid. For the tenderest chicken, regulate heat so liquid bubbles gently; boiling may result in overcooking. And for extra-moist breast meat when you cook a cut-up chicken, wait until 15 to 20 minutes before the end of cooking to add breast pieces to the pan.
Poaching and steeping differ from braising in that chicken is completely submerged in liquid. Steeping is an especially gentle technique--the pan is removed from the heat once the chicken is added, so the meat cooks soley by heat retained in the liquid.
Steaming cooks chicken more indirectly than poaching or steeping; the meat is held above simmering liquid and cooked by hot vapors rising from it. The classic tool for steaming is a steamer--a pan with a perforated insert--but you can also achieve excellent results using a wire rack set in a large pan.
Though "kettle cooking" may bring to mind a steaming cauldron of stew, It's a concept that include much more than Soups and stews and other types of coking, of course--down-home types as well as fancier creations.
But you'll also find a variety of other dishes that were created in the kettle like : curries, a classic cacciatore, port stickers, and an usual steamed pot-au-few. Kettle cooking vessels vary, too, from big pots to steamers to covered frying pans. What ties these together is a similarity in cooking method: all cook gently on top of the range, with broth or other liquid.
During this article I will share with you the way I use the kettle by cooking a nice tasty curry dish but before I want to share with you a little about kettle cooking like braising, poaching and steaming.
North Indian Chicken Curry
Pleasantly spicy but not too hot, this chicken curry features a thick sauce of onions and yogurt. Offer a mixture of pulverized sweet and savory spice, called garam masala, to sprinkle atop each serving. In addition to the spices, you might offer a mango or tomato chutney.
Garam Masala (recipe follows)
2 medium-size onions, cut into chunks
2 cloves garlic
1 to 2 teaspoons minced fresh or canned jalapeno pepper (remove seeds for a milder curry)
3 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh ginger
1/4 cup water
1/3 cup salad oil
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper (cayenne)
1/2 cup plain yogurt
6 whole chicken legs, thighs attached (about 3 lbs. total)
Salt to taste
Fresh cilantro (coriander) sprigs
Prepare Garam Masala; set aside.
In a blender or food processor, whirl onions, garlic, jalapeno pepper, ginger, and 1/4 cup of the water until pureed. Pour in to a wide frying pan and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until dry and thick (15 to 20 minutes). Reduce heat to medium-low stir in oil, tomato paste, turmeric, red pepper, and yogurt. Cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until thickened (5 to 10 more minutes).
Meanwhile, rinse chicken and pat dry. Add to sauce and turn to coat. Cover and simmer, turning once, until meat near thighbone is no longer pink when slashed (40 to 45 minutes); add about 1 tablespoon more water if sauce begins to stick to pan. Transfer chicken to a serving dish. Skim and discard fat from sauce, then season to taste with salt. Spoon sauce over chicken. Garnish with cilantro. Pass Garam Masala at the table to sprinkle over each serving. Makes 6 servings.
Garam Masala. In a small frying pan over medium-low heat, cook 3 tablespoons coriander seeds and 2 teaspoons cumin seeds until lightly browned (about 4 minutes), shaking pan often. Place in blender, then add 8 whole cloves; 1 cinnamon stick (about 2 inches long), broken in half' 1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns; and 4 bay leaves. Whirl until finely ground. Store airtight.