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What size pieces should I cut?

 
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shagufta



Joined: 08 Sep 2007
Posts: 8

PostPosted: Sat Sep 08, 2007 9:46 am    Post subject: What size pieces should I cut? Reply with quote

Fine dice for a quick-cooking sauce.

The size you cut the individual components of a flavor mixture depends on how long the mixture will cook and if it will be pureed. The French make a big deal out of demanding that a classic mirepoix (Mirepoix is the French name for a pureed. The French make a big deal out of demanding that a classic mirepoix (Mirepoix is the French name for a combination of onions, carrots and celery) be cut into very tiny dice —a handy way of torturing beginning culinary students. But there's actually a sound reason for chopping mirepoix into small pieces for a quick-cooking dish: the smaller pieces will release their flavor more quickly during the short cooking time. On the other hand, mirepoix for a pot of long-simmering stock can consist of very large pieces of vegetables—onions cut in half, whole celery ribs, and carrots in chunks.
Any other Idea?
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kgb1001001



Joined: 21 Dec 2005
Posts: 107

PostPosted: Sat Sep 08, 2007 1:02 pm    Post subject: It's all about surface area Reply with quote

For quick-cooking sauces I've taken to cutting up the carrots and celery with a vegetable peeler into thin strips and then stacking those up and slicing them. The result is a very, very small dice along two axes. This also seems to work well when you want the texture of the resulting sauce to be finer, or when you're making a bolognese ragu and you want the meat to predominate rather than the vegetables.

One thing that I've never quite figured out is why you want to have large chunks of vegetables in a court bouillion. That only simmers for about 15 minutes, which never seems to me to be enough to get the vegetables to release much liquid when they're in huge chunks. I've heard the reason you do that is to keep the resulting liquid clear rather than cloudy, but that always struck me as being kind of dopey.
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