Cold weather brings out the appetite for slow cooked foods. Sunday Pot Roast, stews and soups can fill the whole house with with the promise of a tasty and hearty meal. I keep working on the classic American dishes and I have leaned that taking a little extra time and effort at the beginning will add depth and richness to the broth or gravy at the end.
The first step is browning the meat. Browning the meat of chicken will make the meat more appetizing. More importantly the crusty, brown bits that stick to the bottom of the pan will add a lot of flavor to the final dish.
Step two is the addition of a mirepoix. Mirepoix is a French term for a combination of onions, celery and carrots. The usual ratio is 2 parts onion to one part each onion and celery. There is no need to measure. For most soups and stews I use one onion, one carrot, and one celery stick. It comes out close enough. The vegetables are chopped and then sauteed in the pan after the meat is browned. The liquid released from the vegetables will begin to loosen the brown bits on the bottom of the pan. Stir the vegetables as they cook, gently scrape the bottom of the pan. Note: these vegetables are used as a flavor base for the cooking liquid. If you are including vegetables in your dish you will add those later.
Step three is the deglazing of the pan. Deglazing simply means to pour some cold liquid into a hot pan to get up any the brown bits still stuck to the bottom of the pan. This liquid can be wine, juice, stock, or even water.
After the the pan has been deglazed additional stock or water is added and the meat is returned to the pot. You are ready to simmer, or place your pot in a slow oven.