Infusion cooking may sound like a complex or advanced cooking technique. However, infusion cooking simply involves infusing a range of different flavours into foods by steeping your ingredients in herbs, spices, or a cooking liquid that contains aromatics. Cooking liquids containing aromatics can be prepared using spices, herbs and even dried fruit which are then steeped in liquids such as cream, soup stock, cream and syrup before being strained out. once the straining process is complete, the seasonings will leave their remarkable flavours and sometimes colour behind.
Can pressure cookers be used for infusion cooking?
Pressure cookers are used commonly for infusion cooking. The flavour of the broth, brine, or marinade being used to impart flavour to the food becomes intensified thanks to the pressure that builds up in the cooker. As the pressure continues to build, the flavours from the cooking liquid becomes infused and penetrates the ingredients adding a richer layer of flavour to your meats, rice, beans, poultry and an anything else you are preparing in your pressure cooker.
Infusion cooking in a pressure cooker works great whenever dealing with thin cuts of meat such as chicken pieces, steaks, chops and certain cuts of vegetables. This method may not work as well when dealing with larger cuts of meat such as roasts.
Are there specific gadgets designed solely for infusion cooking?
There are many gadgets available out there in the market that claim to help home cooks achieve infusion cooking successfully. However, you should know that these gadgets are completely unnecessary as any old pressure cooker can be used to achieve infusion cooking successfully.
As mentioned above, all pressure cookers have the ability to infuse flavours. The trick is to ensure that you are using a cooking liquid that is well infused with the right herbs and spices. This means that you should settle for a flavoured broth whenever you want to impart certain flavours into your food rather than rely on plain water.
What to do when you do not want to infuse flavour into all your ingredients
If you do not want to infuse flavour into all your ingredients, it is entirely possible to separate your flavours. You can do this easily by:
- Using your cooking rack: If you want to keep the flavour of your ingredients from mingling, you can use your cooking rack to separate your ingredients. Place your separate ingredients in the rack and raise it above the liquid so that it can continue to cook in the steam and not in the liquid itself. For this technique to work efficiently, you will need a large pressure cooker that can contain all the ingredients comfortably.
- Wrap up the food: You can also alternatively wrap your ingredients in separate aluminium foil packets to keep your flavours separate. Some people also use corn coverings or banana leaves if the recipe calls for it.
Suggested flavour combinations for infusion cooking
Flavoured infusions that work well for poultry include:
- Lemon juice and water- add a 1/3 cup of this mixture to your water.
- A mixture of orange juice concentrate and water
- Water and fruit juice from peaches, raspberries or pineapples
- Water with white wine
- Lemon or lime juice that has been mixed with a soft drink will also act as a great substitute for water
- Root beer
Flavoured infusions that work well for beef
- A mixture of beer or ale and water provides a nice deep flavour for beef
- A soft drink such as cola or Dr. Pepper can also be used as a substitute for water
- A mixture of red wine and water also delivers an impressive flavour to your beef
- Cranberry juice and water.
- A mixture of whisky and water is also used commonly for BBQ recipes
Flavoured infusions that work well for beans
- Mixing balsamic or wine vinegar with water not only imparts an interesting flavour to beans but it also helps to make them softer
- A 1/3 cup of whisky can also be added to water to make an infusion for beans
Flavoured infusions that work well for pork
- A mixture of water and apple juice or apple cider vinegar is ideal to use for pork
- Mix water with pineapple juice when you want to add some sweetness to your pork
- Apricot or peach nectar that has been mixed with water also adds a rich flavour
- Soft drinks such as Cherry Cola can also be used in place of water
- You can add a 1/3 cup of bourbon to your stock when dealing with BBQ recipes
Flavoured infusions that work well for seafood
- A mixture of lemon juice and water is one of the best infusions to use for seafood
- A combination of white wine and water also works well for seafood
- You can also replace water with any soft drink of your choice that contain lime or lemon
What to remember when adding flavour to your food
Use high quality condiments
When making your infusions, your will get the best results if you use high quality condiments and spices because they will make all the difference in the world. Some great condiments to use that are often ignored include wasabi, flavoured mustard, horseradish. Not only can these condiments be added directly to your liquid, but they can also be used as a marinades for meats, seafood and poultry to add extra flavour or to add an element of spice and heat to your dishes.
Buy marbled meat
If you want to get the most flavour from your beef, you should go for marbled cuts because they are the ones that hold the most flavour. Marbled pieces are acquired from parts of the animal that are not used too often such as the pork belly, which is where bacon is actually cut from.
Use more alcohol when cooking
Alcohol can be the secret tool that you need when you need to add more flavour to your meals. It does not matter what you have available, whether wine, beer or liquor. The alcohol that you use will help to boost the overall flavour of your meal through evaporation and a process known as molecular bonding. when used, the alcohol merges with the fat and the water molecules to enhance the overall flavour.