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Perfectly tender meat or fish requires a little patience
Slow cooking results in perfectly cooked, tender meat with a crispy, flavourful crust. This cooking method is easy, but takes time and patience.
Pan frying meat and fish helps form a deliciously crispy crust, but larger pieces that require a longer time to cook can easily dry out and become tough. Slow cooking on the other hand ensures that the fish or meat remain juicy, as the food is only fried briefly and then left to cook in the oven for several hours at a low temperature. The result is a juicy, tender cut of meat with a crispy, flavourful crust.
Another advantage of slow cooking is that you don’t have to worry about overcooking your food. Meat should reach a specific core temperature and the minimum cooking time should be met, but can then be left in the oven to keep warm for up to an hour without affecting the quality of the meat. Additionally, the process can also be reversed, meaning the meat is first slow cooked in the oven and then sealed in the frying pan to finish it off.
Meat loses water as it cooks and the higher the cooking temperature, the more water is lost. Slow cooking allows the meat to cook slowly under 100°C, which is just high enough to ensure that the meat is cooked properly without drying out. The exact temperature at which different types of meat are cooked can be found in many charts and recipes, but is usually between 74 to 80°C for meat, 80 to 90°C for poultry and 56 to 60°C for fish.
All types of meat can be slow cooked – whether veal, game, pork or poultry. Cuts without bones, which are not muscly flesh, are ideal, as they are usually tough by nature. You should use the highest quality meat that hasn’t been frozen, as freezing alters the structure of meat. Take the meat out of the fridge an hour before cooking to raise its temperature and leave it uncovered in the oven.
Aside from high quality meat, slow cooking requires a frying pan, an oven proof ceramic or porcelain tray and a thermometer. Whether you use a convection, gas or electric oven doesn’t matter as long as the temperature remains consistent. If you are unsure, an oven thermometer is a good investment to monitor the temperature. It is also important never to put the meat in the oven in the frying pan, as it will retain some of the heat and cause the fish or meat to cook more quickly.
The roasting thermometer should be placed in the thickest part of the meat. If you are using a cut of meat with a bone in it, make sure the thermometer is not touching the bone, as this can influence the temperature measured. It is important to check the core temperature of the meat, as this informs the cooking time of the meat.
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