Happy happy. Last night I bought a gift for myself.
Clothes? No way.
A new CD or DVD perhaps? Nope.
Behold......I got myself a 5.5 quart oven/range pan.
Yes. I am indeed a total cooking nerd. Now, I did have smaller vessels that performed beautifully, but since I am doing some braised meat dishes in my cooking class, I needed a pan that had a larger capacity. I love this so much.
Now let me go on my rant about non-stick pans. I have them, yes, but I only really use them for pancakes and scrambled eggs. Why you ask? Because you MUST NOT BE AFRAID OF STUFF STICKING TO YOUR PAN!
I'm sorry I raised my voice. It is because I love you that I have such passion.
You know those brown stuck bits and residue on your pan from vegetables and meat placed in a normal pan? That is concentrated flavor. Learn to love it, embrace the deliciousness. That brown stuff, or "fond" as the fancy French say, makes any braised meat dish or sauce even more fantastic.
So here's an example. Say you have your new shiny, fancy pan on the stove top all nice and heated up. You place chicken pieces in the pan, and do not touch them until they are golden on one side. Once anything is properly seared (and not touched at all) on one side, it should flip with relative ease. Oh you may have some meat stick, and you will certainly have brown stuff, but we now know that this loveliness is your friend.
When the other side of the chicken is brown, you can transfer the seared chicken to a plate, and have fun with the fond. Add a bit of chicken broth or wine to the fond in the pan, and scrape at the brown bits with a wooden spoon. You will see how easily the fond releases from you pan. No need to use steel wool.... I promise. You can add whatever veggies you like, return the chicken to the pan, and add enough liquid (chicken broth, wine, etc) to cover the chicken. Cook at 350 for 2 hours, and you will have a memorable meal. It's just that simple.
Invest in pans...real pans....that are full metal. No plastic handles please! You need something that can transfer from the stovetop to your oven. You will be rewarded with a kitchen that smells like heaven and fantastic creations!