The Art of Cooking Low and Slow
Slow cooking has a long and honorable history. In the days when a wood fire or wooden cook stove was the primary means of cooking the family meals, it was often difficult to gauge temperatures or to keep a fire burning evenly. Food in a cast iron pot could be cooked more reliably in the coals of a slow fire. This kind of cooking also helped tenderize the tougher cuts of meat and led to some classic traditional dishes like lamb shanks and oxtail soup. Today's cooks have even more options.
Grass-fed meats, becoming more popular for their healthy qualities and environmental benefits, are typically less marbled than supermarket beef. Certain cuts of meat are often high in connective tissue, which requires long slow cooking in a moist environment to become tender. On the other hand, something like a chicken breast tends to become tough and rubbery with slow cooking. Choose meats like short ribs, rump roast, brisket and shanks (leg bones) for low and slow cooking. Cooking methods include using the crock-pot, simmering a dish on the stovetop, braising a dish on the stove top or cooking it, covered, in the oven.
Soup stock is a great way to use bony cuts with a little meat and lots of connective tissue. Brown the meat first, then cover with water and add some flavor-boosting veggies like onions, garlic, carrots and celery. Bring to a boil, skim if necessary and then turn down to a simmer for several hours. A few tablespoons of vinegar will help leach calcium from the bones into the broth. Strain, let the meat cool and cut up any pieces that can be returned to the soup. Use the broth to make minestrone, chicken noodle or other traditional soups.
Let slow cooking widen your recipe repertoire and provide you with delicious dishes. These real foods will supply important nutrients and help you lose weight. The Metabolic Research Center has lots of recipes - check it out.
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