Blanching or par-cooking is a technique where you get a pot of salted boiling water, drop the food in for a few seconds to a minute. Then remove and cool down immediately.
This works great for those who don't want to eat microwaved food and want to save a few minutes at the end of a long work day to prepare dinner. The technique works well for incorporating vegetables for omelettes and salads to cutting down on cooking time for stir frys.
You could theoretically do this for protein as well so long as you're able to prepare the chicken later on that same day. You run the risk of more food borne illnesses by heating, cooling and reheating meat.
Here's an easy recipe for Beef with Broccoli
- 1 pound flat iron steak, cut into 1x1 cube (flank steak, skirt steak or hanger steak may be substituted, but won't be as tender)
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 1/4 cup Chinese rice wine (Balsamic vinegar or dry sherry work as well)
- 2 teaspoons corn starch
- 1/4 cup oyster sauce
- 1/3 cup low sodium chicken broth
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 4 scallions, greens and whites sliced.
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon finely minced fresh ginger
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 pound bite-size broccoli florets, from about 1-1/2 pounds broccoli crowns
- 1/3 cup water
- Combine the beef with 1 tablespoon of the soy sauce and 1 tablespoon of the Chinese rice wine (Balsamic or dry sherry) in a bowl and toss to coat. Let marinate for 30 minutes at room temperature while prepping everything else.
- Bring a bot of water to a boil, salt the water. (Note: salted water should taste like the sea, applies to cooking pasta or blanching vegetables)
- Meanwhile, combine the remaining 3 tablespoons of soy sauce with the corn starch and stir with a fork until the corn starch is dissolved. Add the remaining 3 tablespoons of wine, oyster sauce, chicken broth, sugar, and sesame oil. Stir and set aside.
- Combine the scallion whites, garlic and ginger in a bowl and set aside.
- By now the water should be boiling, drop the broccoli in to blanch for 1 minute or so. You'll know it's done when the broccoli is bright green and still crunchy. Remove from the pot and run under cold water to stop the cooking process.
- Heat a pan over high heat and add a tablespoon of oil. Add half of the beef, so that it is in a single layer, and cook without moving until the beef is well seared, about 1-1/2 minutes. Continue cooking while stirring until the beef is lightly cooked but still pink in spots, about 30 seconds. Transfer to a plate.
- Add another tablespoon of oil to the pan. Add the remaining beef and cook without moving until the beef is well seared, about 1-1/2 minutes. Add the scallion whites, garlic and ginger mixture and cook, stirring constantly with the beef, for about 30 seconds.
- Add in the broccoli and the other half of the beef to the pan along with the sauce and scallions and mix thoroughly, simmer until the sauce is lightly thickened. Transfer to a serving platter and serve with rice. (Note: If the sauce is too runny, remove the beef and continue to reduce)