Patience Delivers: Slow-cooked dishes taste best!

Friday, June 27, 2014
Hot and fiery, rich, comforting and mellow... It’s time to discover the full range of slow-cooked flavors.

Cooking food slowly makes the best of humbler ingredients, so it’s not just affordable, it’s simple as well. Meat usually requires quick sealing or browning in a pan, but after that you can leave it to the gentle heat of your slow cooker or other medium to do the rest. These great classics can be a meal on their own, but side dishes add contrasting textures -- rice, stir-fried vegetables, a leaf salad. This selection combines Filipino classics with some recipe ideas from around the world.

Adobo
Adobo Connection Kuya's Fried Mixed Adobo
Kuya's Fried Mixed Adobo from Adobo Connection
The smell of the Philippines’ national dish wafts from many home kitchens. A blend of vinegar, salt, pepper, garlic, bay and soy sauce, plus mixed spices, delivers the kick to cubes of pork and chicken. The presence of vegetables or coconut milk divides adobo lovers, as does the “right” consistency -- intense and near-dry, or with plenty of sauce for the accompanying rice? But an adobo without a debate wouldn’t be an adobo.

Kare-Kare

Kare-Kare Three Sisters Restaurant
Kare-Kare with Bagoong from Three Sisters' Restaurant
This homespun favorite is based around chunky cuts of oxtail and other meats, along with seasonal vegetables -- eggplant and green beans are among the most widely available. Compared with much Filipino cookery, the flavors of this dish are light, accompanied by a more powerful seasoning once placed on the table, but it’s traditional to color it with annatto (achiote). The key to the sauce’s wonderful texture is the addition of ground toasted rice, plus crushed peanuts.

Kalderata

Caldereta from Kuppa Roastery
Lamb Kaldereta from Kuppa Roastery & Cafe
Combining local flavors with the country’s Spanish connection, this stew can be made with beef, lamb, pork and chicken. The main ingredients are potatoes, liver, tomatoes, olives and hot and sweet peppers. Your pot becomes the original “caldera” or cauldron!

Kig Ha Farz (Meat and Dumpling)

kig ha farz
Photo from French Letters
The classic French “pot au feu” is prepared by simmering a flank or shin of beef with root vegetables, garlic and generous handfuls of herbs. It’s cooked as slowly as possible -- barely a bubble should break the surface of the broth. In Brittany, they incorporate a mighty dumpling of buckwheat flour, eggs, stock, salt and sugar, wrapped in muslin.

Old-Style Mutton

mutton
Photo from Moti Japan
Cubed mutton is mixed with fresh rhubarb or kumquats, saffron, stock, drops of orange juice, apricots and raisins, and red ale. Experiment to find the combination you like. It’s a fascinating flavor of sweet-and-sharp cooking, from the Europe of centuries past.

Cassoeula

cassoeula
Photo from Ricetta Blog
Mixed cuts of pork and smoky sausage with shredded cabbage, are what make this early-winter dish from Northern Italy tick. Cooked slowly and with root vegetables, black pepper and white wine, it’s the type of meal that feeds both your body and your soul.

The good things come to those who wait, and when it comes to cooking, these are dishes that truly reward the chef's (and the diners’) patience. Cook these slowly and let the flavors slowly unfold on the palate.

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