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Old 09-30-2008, 04:23 PM   #11
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If a pan is so full you can't maintain high heat when you put the cold food into the hot pan, the moisture in the food is vaporized to steam. Leaving space between chicken thighs or whatever is to ensure there is enough free pan surface to maintain browning temperatures.

Sweating onions or other veggies is basically doing intentionally with the onions what you want to avoid with the meat. Cooking them at a lower temperature so they will soften and release juices but not at a high enough temperature to brown them.
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Old 09-30-2008, 04:36 PM   #12
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Hey! I sweat onions all the time and didn't even know it (lol). The onions I made gravy with last night were sweated.

Thanks for the terminology lesson.
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Old 09-30-2008, 06:11 PM   #13
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Doesn't this question depend on which gender you ask??

yea OK I am getting censored for that for sure!

I agree, though, that you should leave room between any meats you are cooking (or large items) for proper heating. Of course that means you have to turn them often (or swivel around) to cook evenly as well, so sometimes I do things in smaller pans and one or two items at a time instead of four or five items.
And then of course what good is a large pan without a large enough burner?

So I guess size is relative after all...
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Old 10-02-2008, 04:27 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maverick2272 View Post
Doesn't this question depend on which gender you ask??
oh god, thank you! I was starting to wonder if I was the only one bursting with the urge to make some kind of sly remark.
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Old 10-02-2008, 05:42 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by lezah View Post
oh god, thank you! I was starting to wonder if I was the only one bursting with the urge to make some kind of sly remark.
I'm pretty sure that the OP had the same thoughts when he titled this thread
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Old 10-02-2008, 05:45 PM   #16
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I was just thinking, "The young 'uns have all grown up. Not a single 'size matters' wise crack."

Oh, well. Tomorrow's another day.
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Old 10-02-2008, 06:12 PM   #17
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...I just can't help myself.
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Old 10-07-2008, 08:55 PM   #18
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I have to say, I was going to make two separate wisecracks.

When it comes to cooking, SIZE DOES MATTER.

However, it's not how big (or small) it is, it's how you use it!

When you're sauteing food items, if there is to much cold food in the pan and the pan temp drops to much, what happens is that the water in the food is allowed to seep out into the pan. HOT temps drive the water further into the meat items, as the protein coagulates. You can see a little bit of this liquid seeping out when you overload a pan. Heck, if you train your ears, you can even hear the difference in the sound of the bubbling in the pan both when the water begins to leaks out, and when it cooks off and just the fat is sizzling.

If you don't have a pan large enough to brown all the meat in one step, just do it in batches. Keep the browned meat in a bowl. The meat will weep it's juices as it cools. Pour this liquid (a mixture of fat and water-based juices) into the pan after you've browned all the meat to help deglaze the pan. This is how I make my kick-butt beef stroganoff.

I have to feed 3 adults and 5 kids ranging in age from 5 - 14. Trust me, when you want to talk cooking in volume at home, I can help. That said, I'd love to have a commercial range in my home kitchen.
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Old 10-07-2008, 09:15 PM   #19
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Well I guess I "used it" fast and furious
This smaller saute pan required a lot less flame underneath than what I am used to. The chicken thighs I had tonight were done 10 minutes earlier than usual, even though I realized to turn the heat down after ten minutes.
The plus side, the chicken was crispier, so it was a nice change I guess. I like it fine regular crispy, but this was good, also. The downside, somewhere along the way I burned my gravy I never had that happen before when using my larger saute pan. As I turned the heat up, added my butter and grabbed the flour, it was all she wrote I followed the same steps I alway do, but I need to get used to using less heat with a smaller pan to reach or keep a temperature.
That or I need to cook faster
Pseudo gravy was made quickly with a rue, spices and chicken stock. It was passable, but not what I'm used to, and the main reason I pan fry chicken is for the gravy. I was going to BBQ some thighs later this week, but might need a second attempt at tonight's dinner while it is still fresh in my mind. Burning that gravy burns me. I never heard of such a thing.

And, four chicken thighs fit just fine, but I would have had to hunt for a small one to fit five. And then they would have been pretty crowded.

I'll get it though. I figure cooking with more than one pan to make the same thing can only help the internal clock. Like switching grills.
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