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Old 08-07-2014, 04:48 PM   #1
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"Longer it sits the better it gets"

My question is referring to simmering and slow cooking. Is the old term "the longer it sits the better it gets" true? I grew up hearing it so I always cooking chilis and tomato sauces over hours assuming that all the flavors are morphing into something wonderful. Granted I never try otherwise, but I wanted to know can you over simmer something? For example curry, or a sauce with meat in it (cooked meat)? I look forward to hearing others opinions on this.

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Old 08-07-2014, 05:47 PM   #2
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Hi TexChef,
Welcome to DC


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Old 08-07-2014, 05:56 PM   #3
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Long slow cooking does a couple of things. Certainly it extracts all the flavors from the ingredients, enriches them and they blend for great flavor.

In addition, extended cooking physically breaks down the ingredients. If you cook a stew or chili etc. too long, the meat and veggies will turn to mush. Not a texture one expects with stews and chilis.

When I make chili, I use chuck I cut into half inch pieces. When it has cooked long enough that the pieces are tender, the chili is done.
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Old 08-07-2014, 06:01 PM   #4
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My food always tastes better the next day....:))
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Old 08-07-2014, 06:15 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy M. View Post
Long slow cooking does a couple of things. Certainly it extracts all the flavors from the ingredients, enriches them and they blend for great flavor.

In addition, extended cooking physically breaks down the ingredients. If you cook a stew or chili etc. too long, the meat and veggies will turn to mush. Not a texture one expects with stews and chilis.

When I make chili, I use chuck I cut into half inch pieces. When it has cooked long enough that the pieces are tender, the chili is done.
Yes, and even after cooling and refrigerating long-cooked foods, chemical reactions continue to create new flavor compounds, making the food tastier. Overcooking even fatty cuts can dry out the meat, though. It squeezes the moisture out of the meat fibers.
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Old 08-07-2014, 06:15 PM   #6
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I wonder what your thoughts are on something I made a note of re. bolognese sauce from Adelle Davis.

Apparently "nothing is accomplished by very long simmering except evaporation (less liquid could be added in the first place) and extraction of aromatic oils from the seasonings. Also, nutritive value is lost.

Instead of cooking it for 3 hours, let it stand (in reduced liquid) in fridge for same length of time. Standing vastly improves the flavour."

I have yet to try this...perhaps I am a bit dubious of it.

I have added a conflicting piece of info - gleaned elsewhere - that says the long cooking is to soften the mince (since it comes from a tough part of the animal).

I guess, if lean steak mince was used it would overcome that need.




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Old 08-07-2014, 06:39 PM   #7
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Longer is not always better.

Meats are done when tender. Temp is your friend here. Keep going and they tend to dry out.

Some veggies turn too mush when cooked too long. A lot depends on how you like them.

But there is something to be said for letting it sit for the flavors to blend. IMHO that is better accomplished in the fridge. The next day is different then excessive time on the stove.
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Old 08-07-2014, 06:56 PM   #8
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I agree with Zagut. Longer is not always better. And also agree with roadfix, somethings taste better the next day. Tasting better the next day does not mean it cooked 24 hours, it just means it's mellowed during it's rest period.
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Old 08-07-2014, 06:59 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zagut View Post
Longer is not always better.

Meats are done when tender. Temp is your friend here. Keep going and they tend to dry out.

Some veggies turn too mush when cooked too long. A lot depends on how you like them.

But there is something to be said for letting it sit for the flavors to blend. IMHO that is better accomplished in the fridge. The next day is different then excessive time on the stove.
Agreed.
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Old 08-07-2014, 07:29 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zagut View Post
Longer is not always better.

Meats are done when tender. Temp is your friend here. Keep going and they tend to dry out.

Some veggies turn too mush when cooked too long. A lot depends on how you like them.

But there is something to be said for letting it sit for the flavors to blend. IMHO that is better accomplished in the fridge. The next day is different then excessive time on the stove.
I'd agree with that too. I'd also add that meatless dishes like a Mariana sauce can cook too long also.

"The longer it sits the better it gets?" Not really, or we'd never pitch out leftovers.
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