A while back I asked you guys if there were any cooking methods you would like for me to address in a post. I received a few requests for reductions, which made me so happy.
I love reductions. They are so simple, so flavorful, and so easily overlooked.
You simply must learn to make reductions. Why?
- They seem fancy, but they’re in fact, really easy to make/use in cooking.
- They take only a few minutes to create.
- Their concentrated flavor adds an extra oomph of flavor to anything you’re eating.
According to our good friend Wikipedia…
In cooking, reduction is the process of thickening and intensifying the flavor of a liquid mixture such as a soup, sauce, wine, or juice by boiling. Reduction is performed by boiling liquid (whether stock, wine, whiskey, vinegar, or sauce mixture) rapidly and usually without a lid (enabling the vapor to escape more easily) until the volume desired is reached by evaporation. (source)
My favorite liquids for making reductions are wine, beer, and balsamic vinegar.
My number one, do not break, follow it at all costs rule for making a reduction is:
Use a liquid for reduction that you like.
If you have a bottle of wine that rubs you the wrong way, don’t use it.
If you think the beer in the back of your fridge is too hoppy, don’t use it.
If you hate the taste of balsamic vinegar, do not make a balsamic vinegar reduction.
Reductions intensify the flavor of whatever you reduce, so the flavor will only get more intense as you cook it. Use what you like and you will love the taste of your reduction.
There are three main steps for a reduction.
1. Pour liquid into an empty pot or into a dish you are already making*.
2. Turn heat to medium high.
3. Allow liquid to reduce by half or completely be absorbed by the food.**
*Wines and beers go great in mushrooms, onions, risotto; basically anything that will absorb the flavor. It’s also good to use after you have cooked a piece of meat and want to deglaze the pan and create a sauce (see the Honey Bourbon Salmon or Brandy Glazed Salmon below).
**If you pour 1 cup of liquid into a pot, allow it to cook until there is about 1/2 cup left. Eye ball it. This is not an exact science. When I add liquids like beer to food, I allow it to cook until the liquid is almost completely absorbed by the food.
Here are some of my favorite recipes, where I have used the reduction cooking method to enhance my food.
Do you use reductions in cooking and do you have any favorite recipes using reduction? Links are welcome!
Are there any other cooking methods about which you like to know more? I’m no expert on all cooking methods, but if I can’t answer you, I bet I can find someone who can.