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Old 08-05-2006, 10:55 PM   #1
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Deglazing With Cognac... Should I Light-up?

i'm making steak au poivre tomorrow, and i need to use about a 1/2 cup of cognac to deglaze... and i need to light this on fire.

do i have to light up? will it make THAT much of a difference?

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Old 08-05-2006, 11:04 PM   #2
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You want to end up with the flavor of the cognac and get rid of the harshness of the alcohol. Flaming a fairly quick way of doing that. You should add and ignite the cognac off the flame for safety.

Is flaming a problem?
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Old 08-05-2006, 11:07 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by black chef
i'm making steak au poivre tomorrow, and i need to use about a 1/2 cup of cognac to deglaze... and i need to light this on fire.

do i have to light up? will it make THAT much of a difference?
Flambeing would just help to burn off the alcohol quicker, but there will still be alcohol in the dish as not all of it will evaporate. I prefer not to flambe per se and to just reduce the liquid because it concentrates the flavor in the brandy (or any other liquid) and gives sauces a deeper, more intense flavor.

As far as the differences in flavor, flambeing will give you more of the flavor of the alcohol in it's pre-reduced state, meaning closer to what it would taste like out of the bottle. By the time you reduce the cognac to cook out the amount of alcohol that you'd like, the flavor will taste different. To me it's a richer, more complex flavor which is what I try to achieve in my sauces, but it's up to you what you want to do.
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Old 08-05-2006, 11:09 PM   #4
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Learn something new every day! Thanks, IC.
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Old 08-05-2006, 11:09 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy M.
You want to end up with the flavor of the cognac and get rid of the harshness of the alcohol. Flaming a fairly quick way of doing that. You should add and ignite the cognac off the flame for safety.

Is flaming a problem?
i have an electric stove here in my apt... so i'll have to get an igniter. the recipe i have calls for lighting-up to burn off the alcohol and then after deglazing, adding-in about 1 T of cognac and 2 T of butter.

i guess i'll be buying some type of igniter tomorrow.

on 2nd thought... maybe i'll just reduce as suggested by IC.

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Old 08-05-2006, 11:17 PM   #6
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You don't need a special igniter. A match will do. If you want to keep your distance, hold the match in your tongs or use a fireplace match.
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Old 08-05-2006, 11:21 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy M.
You don't need a special igniter. A match will do. If you want to keep your distance, hold the match in your tongs or use a fireplace match.
the walton family is going to be mad with you. no trip to wal-mart for me.

why didn't i think of that? now, instead of buying an igniter, all i need to do is get a box of matches.

duh...

thx Andy.
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Old 08-07-2006, 12:44 PM   #8
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Yep, a simple match will do.

Like Andy says, do it off the heat. Don't wear a puffy shirt!

Also keep another skillet close by the first time you do it. If you get nervous about the flame, cover the flames with the other pan.
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Old 08-07-2006, 12:51 PM   #9
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It also does not hurt to have a fire extinguisher handy too. I always keep one in every kitchen.

Also be very aware of your surroundings. Make sure nothing flammable is close by. Look around you and above you.
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Old 08-07-2006, 01:54 PM   #10
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I flambe and I reduce the cognac in my steak au poivre.

Flame goes up (obviously). If you introduce the match from beneath the pan and tickle the side, it should be perfectly safe for your hand. Just don't try and light it from above.

Quote:
the recipe i have calls for lighting-up to burn off the alcohol and then after deglazing, adding-in about 1 T of cognac and 2 T of butter.
I'm not absolutely sure uncooked alcohol in any amount is good for this dish (or any dish for that matter). In desserts, an alcohol note can be wonderful, but in savory dishes... I generally find it's better not to add alcohol in the final stages where it won't be cooked away (to an extent).

In steak au poivre, you're looking for the depth of flavor and richness from the cognac, not the harsh burning taste of the alcohol.
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