for culinary insiders WINTER 2012
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50 California Street, Suite 3600 San Francisco, CA 94111
The Case for
Dear Friends, Is there anything more heartwarming than walking into the kitchen with the wonderful smell of
something simmering on the stove? Between e-mails, voicemails and texting, there’s hardly a
Slow cooking doesn’t really sound like something that fits in
spare minute left in the day. The world is speeding
with our fast-paced, technology-driven world. But the success
up! That’s why it’s more important than ever to slow
of the electric slow cooker, introduced to the home appliance
down and smell the roses. Or the pot roast.
market in 1971, proved otherwise. The electric slow cooker has
Oh yeah, a pot of chili simmering on the stove or
revolutionized the kitchens of many home cooks, but slow cooking
a hearty stew slowly braising in the oven—that’s
is nothing new—the slow cooker is really just a modern version of
my favorite kind of aromatherapy, especially as the
the traditional earthenware pot simmering away in the oven.
weather gets colder and the days get shorter. So, just in time for winter, we’ve devoted this issue of
Surprisingly, slow cooking can be a great way to free up more
K to the comforting, soul-warming satisfaction of
time. After all, once the prep is done, your dinner can simmer
away on its own while you cross other things off your to-do list—
Whether you’ve got a slow cooker or not, you’ll find all kinds of great ideas, recipes and tips for cooking
or just relax and have fun. If you’re one of the millions who have discovered the benefits of slow cooking, you know what we’re
in the slow lane. And, as always, Kikkoman can
talking about. If not, no worries. There are all kinds of other ways
help. Our sauces and products save you prep time
to take it slow in the kitchen.
and give you a shortcut to deep, rich flavor. I hope this issue inspires you and your friends and family to slow down and savor the pleasures of food and conversation around the table. Let me know how you like it.
Chef Helen Roberts Manager of Culinary Development www.kikkomanusa.com www.facebook.com/kikkomanskitchen
Slower is Healthier, Too When you get into slow cooking, your family will be eating more healthfully because you can put a nutritious home-cooked meal
I ns i d e F E AT U R E S The Case for Slow Cooking Around the World, Slowly SIDEBARS The “Better Tomorrow” Phenomenon Slow is Beautiful Less Sodium, More Flavor Super-Slow Super Bowl Cook Slow, Save Dough
5 5 8 8 9
TECHNIQUE Making Slow Cooking Work for You
on the dinner table much more easily, lessening the temptation to snack before supper or to grab fattening snacks or take-out food. Slow cooking in broth—or even water—makes food tastier
without adding fat, and tenderizes leaner meats. We all know that
RECIPES Hoisin Chicken Sliders 10 Slow Cooker Pot Roast 10 Slow-Cooked Baked Beans 11 Jambalaya 11
legumes are a great source of nutrition, and slow cooking is an
PRODUCT SPOTLIGHT Kara-Áge—Not So Slow!
and you’re batting a thousand!
ideal way to cook beans, split peas and lentils. Combine legumes with vegetables and lean proteins, and you can make one-pot meals that provide nutrients from every food group. Add a salad
Making Slow Cooking Work for You What’s the best way to fit slow cooking into your daily routine? If you have time in the morning, you can assemble your recipe before you leave for the day, put it in a low oven or turn your slow cooker to low, and come home to a hot meal. (Some of the newer cookers even have timers and thermostats that can bring food to a given temperature and then lower it.) • With an electric slow cooker, the rule is “set it and forget it,” but it takes a bit more vigilance to maintain the best oven temperature for slow cooking so that food stays at a very low simmer. In general, slower is better—if your pot is flameproof, bring the dish to a simmer on top of the stove and transfer to a 250 to 300°F oven. Oven thermostats are not always accurate, so check after 20 minutes to make sure the food isn’t bubbling too fast.
The “Better Tomorrow” Phenomenon Have you noticed that slow-cooked meals often taste better the next day? Food scientists offer these theories to explain the phenomenon: • Over time, flavor molecules spread throughout the dish, becoming more pronounced and integrated. • Enzymes in the food have time to convert starch to sugars, making potatoes or legumes taste sweeter. • The evaporation that occurs when you re-heat a dish concentrates and intensifies flavors. • Taste is connected to our sense of smell. If you smell your stew cooking in the kitchen all day long, you start to notice the aroma less by dinner time. When you heat it up again the next day, your sense of smell is fresh and the flavors seem stronger.
• When you brown a piece of meat, complex chemical reactions take place, which add to the savory flavor. That’s why many slow-cooker recipes call for browning foods before they’re added to the slow cooker, and even though it seems like an extra step, it really makes a difference. Dredge meat in a little flour before browning to get a thicker sauce. • If you’re adapting a conventional recipe for an electric slow cooker, use less liquid than the recipe calls for—evaporation is greatly reduced in a slow cooker, and juices that collect on the lid fall back into the food, creating a self-basting effect. • Cooks who live at high altitudes probably already know that water boils at a lower temperature due to the decrease in air pressure. If you live more than 3,000 feet above sea level, cook foods at a slightly higher temperature and increase cooking time to compensate. • If you’re new to slow cooking, it’s hard to know exactly how much the juices in a dish will cook down. If there’s too much liquid in your dish when it’s done, simmer with the lid off until the juices are reduced and the flavor is nicely concentrated.
Slow is Beautiful There’s a world of traditional slow-cooking pots and casseroles to explore, and many of them are so attractive, you may be tempted to put them on your display shelves instead of your stove! • Clay pots, also called sand pots, have been used in China for hundreds of years. They’re glazed on the inside but not on the outside. These inexpensive and easy-to-find pots make a good substitute for pricier French and Italian earthenware cooking vessels. • Enameled cast-iron casseroles are heavy and usually expensive, but they last forever. They can also be set over a burner, so you can bring food to a simmer before it goes in the oven. The lids form a good seal to prevent evaporation and over-reduction of cooking juices. • In Morocco, a tagine is a succulent stew, but it’s also the special dish that it cooks in. Tagines have a conical lid to catch and condense the steam, creating a self-basting vessel. Some tagines are glazed and highly decorated, meant only for serving; others are unglazed and better suited to long cooking. • Make sure that any earthenware or glazed pot you use is lead free. New pots should be safe, but if you buy a used pot, be sure to do a lead test— you can find home testing kits at hardware stores. • Electric slow cookers feature a stoneware insert, housed in a metal jacket containing electric elements that surround the food with a low, steady heat. The tight seal of the lid keeps in moisture and recirculates it to baste the food. That means that tougher cuts of meat and foods that have a lot of fiber, like beans and root vegetables, will cook slowly and gently in a moist environment that makes them beautifully tender.
Around the World, Slowly The technique of slow cooking has been around for hundreds of years, and it’s found in every part of the world. Here’s a taste-tour of slow cooking from around the world.
USA: The early American settlers cooked in iron pots set over the glowing embers of an open hearth. Later, when each town had a bakery, women would bring casseroles to cook in the slow heat of the communal oven after the bread was baked. Immigrants from Eastern Europe brought stews like Hungarian goulash. Beantown’s Best: Boston baked beans have that perfect combination of salty bacon and sweet molasses that’s so warming on a cold day. Corn bread is a great accompaniment, and you can make that in a slow cooker too! If you’re lactose intolerant, just substitute Kikkoman Pearl® Organic Soymilk for dairy milk. Chili Today: Settlers in the southwest created chili con carne from dried beef, suet and chile peppers, but nowadays we use fresh ground or finely chopped meat. Give your favorite chili recipe a hint of sweet heat with Kikkoman Sriracha Sauce.
China: When you think of Chinese cooking, the first thing that comes to mind is stir-frying, where it seems like more time is spent chopping than cooking. But China also has a highly developed slow-cooked cuisine, which uses clay pots to cook everything from rice dishes to pork ribs and braises. These dishes are perfectly suited to a modern slow cooker, too. Long-Cooked Short Ribs: Marinate pork short ribs in Kikkoman Hoisin Sauce and Kikkoman Soy Sauce, rice wine, ginger, garlic and orange peel. Layer in a slow cooker with green onions and cook “low and slow” until tender and delectable! Cook Some Jook: Congee, also known as jook, is a traditional Chinese dish of rice cooked slowly in plenty of water until it’s a creamy porridge. Serve it with condiments like shredded chicken, cooked shrimp, sesame seeds, chopped scallions, grated ginger, hot chili oil and, of course, Kikkoman Soy Sauce.
France: In France, slow cooking is an art, with skillfully concocted braises of beef, chicken, pork, lamb or game featured on menus around the country. Regional variations abound—bean and sausage-based cassoulet is a specialty of the southwest, while in Burgundy you’ll find boeuf bourguignon, beef slowly cooked in red wine. In the traditional coq au vin, slow cooking was a way to turn a tough old rooster into a tender stew—today we use a younger chicken, but it’s just as tasty!
India: With the thousands of regional cuisines that are found in India, it’s no surprise to find slow-cooked dishes among them. In Kashmir, in the north of India, lamb is fried and then simmered slowly with the local chiles to make an aromatic stew called rogan josh. Further south, biryanis are made with marinated meat, rice and fragrant spices layered in a dish, which is then sealed and cooked slowly. And, of course, each region boasts its own special curries, many of which are perfect for the slow cooker. Quicker Tikka: Slow cook chicken and onions in Kikkoman Tikka Masala Curry Sauce. Half an hour before the curry is done, stir in some frozen peas and, for a creamier curry, a bit of whole-milk yogurt or coconut milk. Serve with basmati rice and mango chutney, and have some Kikkoman Sriracha Sauce on hand for those who like to spice it up!
Mexico: Chicken and pork are popular candidates for slow cooking in Mexico, in dishes like tinga, a filling to serve with tortillas and tacos, and posole, a traditional stew made with hominy and pork or poultry, served with a variety of toppings like lettuce, radishes, salsa and warm tortillas. Turkey in mole is another slow-cooked celebratory dish—it’s braised in a sauce that’s made with spices, seeds, nuts, chiles, tomatoes and often a hint of chocolate. Taco Night Revisited: Slow cook chicken thighs or pork in a chilespiked tomato sauce until tender enough to shred with a fork. Use as a topping for tacos or a filling for tortas, accompanied by a cabbage slaw tossed with Kikkoman Lime Ponzu Citrus Seasoned Dressing & Sauce and toasted pumpkin, cumin and sesame seeds.
Italy: For a small country, Italy boasts a wealth of dishes and employs a wide range of ingredients and cooking methods. Ragù alla bolognese is a slow-cooked sauce of meat, broth, red wine, vegetables and, contrary to what many Americans are used to, only a small amount of tomato paste. Long, slow cooking marries the flavors of veal shanks, white wine and broth to make osso buco—the perfect accompaniment to risotto or, less traditionally, polenta. Better Bolognese: Next time you cook up a pot of bolognese sauce, create a little “umami synergy” by adjusting the flavors at the end of cooking with a bit of Kikkoman Soy Sauce or Tamari Soy Sauce. A Hot Idea: Arrabbiata is a tomato-based sauce with garlic and red chiles cooked in olive oil, and it gets its name from the Italian word for “angry,” thanks to its spiciness. If you have a surplus of tomatoes from your garden or the farmers’ market, cook up a batch in your slow cooker. Serve some of it on pasta and freeze the rest in batches to enjoy all winter long. And if you like it really hot, add some Kikkoman Sriracha Sauce.
Lazy Cassoulet: In the southwest of France, making a cassoulet can take days. But you can streamline the process by using store-bought sausages and pre-cooked white beans. The flavors will meld even better in your slow cooker if you add a touch of Kikkoman Less Sodium Soy Sauce.
Morocco: Morocco is famous for its succulent tagines—slow-cooked stews of lamb, beef or chicken, with green olives, salty preserved lemons or dried fruit like raisins, prunes or dates. Spices like cinnamon, coriander and cardamom add a sweet note, and there’s often a kick of heat from chiles as well. Ter-rific Tagine: Brown chunks of lamb shoulder, add chopped onion, ginger, cinnamon and saffron. Cover with water and slow cook until tender and luscious, and garnish with blanched pearl onions and quartered pears glazed with Kikkoman Teriyaki Baste & Glaze with Honey & Pineapple. 6
When you take it slow, make it low—low sodium, that is. We’re hearing more and more about reducing sodium in our diets. Everyone needs sodium to function, but too much salt in our food can lead to high blood pressure, which can cause strokes and heart disease. • Slow cooking is a great way to bring out the flavor in food, which means you don’t have to use as much salt. Over the course of a long, slow simmer, taste components mix and mingle, developing depth of flavor without adding salt. • Tablespoon for tablespoon, Kikkoman soy-based products have less sodium than salt, and they add the savory taste of umami, which salt can’t provide. If a recipe calls for salt, just add half the amount and taste the dish before adding more salt. Better yet, put down the salt shaker and use Kikkoman Less Sodium Soy Sauce instead of salt. • Try seasoning slow-cooked soups, stews and braises with a splash of Kikkoman Less Sodium Soy Sauce—with 40 percent less salt, it’s lower in sodium than regular soy sauce. • Use herbs and spices to add flavor to your food, instead of salt. Dried herbs are ideal for slow-cooked dishes, but the flavor tends to diminish over the course of cooking, so add a sprinkling of fresh herbs just before serving. • Fresh vegetables stand up better to a long, slow cooking time than canned vegetables, which can be high in sodium. Load up your next soup or stew with lots of healthy vegetables like carrots, parsnips, celery and potatoes.
Less Sodium, More Flavor
Kara-Áge—Not So Slow! In Japan, moms put it in their children’s lunch boxes, bar patrons enjoy it with an ice-cold beer, and it’s even more popular than sushi—that’s kara age (“kah-rah AH-geh”), nuggets of chicken in a crunchy coating seasoned with ginger and soy sauce. Traditionally, the chicken is marinated in the seasonings for up to 30 minutes before it’s dipped in a flour coating and fried. But who wants to wait a half-hour for something so delicious?
That’s why we decided to simplify the recipe for today’s busy families—with new Kikkoman Kara-Áge Soy-Ginger Seasoned Coating Mix. You don’t have to mix, marinate or wait, because the seasonings are already in the coating mix. Just dip chunks of boneless chicken in Kikkoman Kara-Áge, pan-fry and serve with your favorite dipping sauce, like Kikkoman Thai Style Chili Sauce or Kikkoman Sweet & Sour Sauce. And it’s not just for chicken—try it with shrimp, fish or tofu, too. Crispy, golden kara age also makes a perfect snack or appetizer, and it’s a hit at parties. With Super Bowl coming up, chicken kara age might just be the new favorite on your half-time table (See the “Super-Slow Super Bowl” feature in this issue of K for more ideas for your Super Bowl party.)
Cook Slow, Save Dough Slow cooking is not just convenient—it can save you money! Here’s how: • The long, slow, moist-heat technique of slow cooking is perfect for tenderizing those less expensive cuts of meat, like pork butt and beef stew meat, that only get better the longer they’re cooked. In fact, these cuts work better than more expensive ones that actually get tougher if cooked too long.
Super-Slow Super Bowl It’s that time of year, when football fans are not only cheering for their favorite team, but also vying to see who can put out the winning-est half-time spread! You’ll be rooting for the slow-cooking team, because there are so many crowdpleasing dishes that were just made for slow cooking, from stews and chili to meatballs and paella. Use your own favorite recipes, or try a new twist on an old standard.
• Save time, money and energy—cook up a double batch of your favorite recipe, and you’ll have meals to enjoy throughout the week—or freeze in smaller containers for lunch packing or a quick supper down the road. • Slow cookers use very little electricity—about the same as a 75-watt light bulb. That’s much less energy than you would use if you turned on a gas or electric oven. And it won’t heat up your kitchen, which is really a boon on hot days!
• If you’re entertaining a group, make it a “slow-cooking potluck”—guests can transport, reheat and serve their dishes in the same pot they’re cooked in. • Soups are a good pick for Super Bowl parties, and a hearty French onion soup is a welcome warm-up for the January chill. For deep, rich flavor, add a little Kikkoman Roasted Garlic Teriyaki to the onions when you caramelize them. • Don’t forget to have some snacks and nibbles on hand to munch during the action. Make plenty of spicy party nuts with Kikkoman Teriyaki Marinade & Sauce—they’ll disappear fast!
• Use a small slow cooker to keep cheese dip or artichoke dip warm throughout the game.
for culinary insiders
K™ magazine is a journal of tastes, techniques and trends for food enthusiasts, published twice a year by KIKKOMAN SALES USA, INC. To subscribe or submit material for consideration, visit www.kikkomanusa.com.
KIKKOMAN SALES USA, INC. 50 California Street, Suite 3600 San Francisco, CA 94111 ©2012 KIKKOMAN SALES USA, INC.
for culinary insiders WINTER 2012
HOISIN CHICKEN SLIDERS
for culinary insiders WINTER 2012
SLOW-COOKED BAKED BEANS
These tasty chicken sliders make a great appetizer and are always a hit at potlucks— serve the chicken filling right in the cooker and let guests assemble their own sliders. They’re perfect for Super Bowl parties, too! 8 skinless, boneless chicken thighs 1½ cups Kikkoman Hoisin Sauce 1 tablespoon Kikkoman Rice Vinegar 24 mini buns Combine all ingredients except buns in a slow cooker. Cover and cook on HIGH for 3–4 hours or until chicken is completely cooked. Remove chicken, shred and mix completely with cooking liquid. Serve on buns. Makes 24 sliders
Kikkoman Teriyaki Baste & Glaze gives baked beans a luscious sweetness. Serve them with a green salad on the side for a light and healthy supper, or pair with sausage or pork chops for a hearty winter meal. 24 ounces dry navy beans 1 pound ham, cut into ½-inch cubes 1 small onion, chopped 2 cups water 1½ cups Kikkoman Teriyaki Baste & Glaze ½ cup dark brown sugar Cover beans with cold water and soak overnight. Drain and combine with remaining ingredients in a slow cooker. Cover and cook on HIGH for 5 hours, stirring occasionally. Makes 12 servings
for culinary insiders WINTER 2012
SLOW COOKER POT ROAST
Pot roast couldn’t be easier—or tastier—when you cook it slowly and add the umami boost of soy sauce. Winter root vegetables like turnips, parsnips and rutabagas can also be cooked along with the beef. 4 1 ½ ¼ ½ ½ 3 3 3 1
for culinary insiders
That old Louisiana favorite, jambalaya, lends itself perfectly to slow cooking. Serve a hot sauce like Kikkoman Sriracha on the side, so everyone can make their bowl as spicy as they like. 1 1 1 3 1 1 ½ 1 4 1 3
pounds beef chuck roast tablespoon garlic powder tablespoon black pepper cup vegetable oil cup Kikkoman Less Sodium Soy Sauce cup water carrots, chunked potatoes, peeled and large cubed celery stalks, chunked small onion, chunked
Season chuck roast with garlic powder and pepper. In a large skillet, heat oil. Brown chuck roast on all sides. Place in a slow cooker and add remaining ingredients. Cover and cook on LOW for 8–10 hours. Makes 8 servings
pound skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut into 1-inch cubes pound smoked sausage, cut into ½-inch slices pound diced fresh tomatoes celery stalks, chopped small onion, chopped green bell pepper, seeded and chopped cup Kikkoman Less Sodium Soy Sauce tablespoon Creole seasoning bay leaves pound frozen cooked, peeled shrimp, thawed cups cooked rice
In a slow cooker, combine chicken, sausage, tomatoes, celery, onion, green pepper, soy sauce, Creole seasoning and bay leaves. Cover and cook on LOW for 7 hours. Stir in shrimp and rice; cook until heated through. Makes 8 servings