We’ve all been there before – a dish doesn’t come out as planned, or that beef stew gives you a real jaw workout. Instead of learning the hard way, take a tip from the pros and avoid these four cooking mistakes.
1. You Start Cooking Before You Read the Whole Recipe
It’s easy to get overzealous and anxious to start cooking right away. But if you don’t read through the entire recipe before you get started, you may miss a few steps or forget a few ingredients. And if you skip a step, like sautéing onions and garlic, you’ll find yourself racing the clock to make up for it.
Before you get started, read through the entire recipe. And while you’re at it, gather all your ingredients and prep beforehand. This way, everything will be ready to go as soon as you start cooking.
2. You Don’t Give Your Food Breathing Room
An overcrowded pan leads to soggy food that doesn’t brown properly. Remember, food releases steam when it cooks, so make sure there’s enough room for steam to escape. When food has room to breathe, it browns evenly and those little brown, crusty bits add a rich burst of flavor to the dish.
If you’re in a hurry and need to brown a large amount of meat, try using more than one pan at a time.
3. You Turn Food Too Often
It’s hard to leave food alone – especially if you’re in a hurry or exceptionally hungry. But turning food too often can interfere with the sear, or break apart the breading.
Let foods, like breaded chicken, cook undisturbed for the amount of time the recipe specifies. This will give the crust time to develop. Trust me – it’s well worth the wait.
If the spatula doesn’t slide cleanly under the crust, it’s too early to turn. The crust will release from the pan when it’s ready.
4. You Boil Instead of Simmer
We all lead busy lives, and it’s easy to boil a dish to speed things up. But doing so will leave your dish dry and tough. This is a common cooking mistake, and one that can be fixed by letting the dish simmer instead.
What’s the difference between simmering and boiling? Simmering is when a bubble will break the surface every few seconds. If the bubbling is more rigorous, the dish is boiling.