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Culinary Terms


Aging: A method of improving and maturing the flavor of food, such as game, cheese or wine by allowing controlled chemical changes to take place over time. Also produces more tender meat.

Approximate cooking time: Braised game meats should be cooked "till tender." Game meat is tender when fork inserted in meat slips away easily, if meat seems tight or rubbery it should continue to cook.

Aromatics: Sliced or chopped: onions, celery, leaks (white part only), or carrots.

Bard: To tie extra fat, usually bacon, around fish, poultry, or meat to baste it while cooking. The barding fat is usually removed before serving.

Baste: To moisten food and add flavor by spooning or brushing pan drippings or other liquid over the food while cooking, in order to prevent drying out and toughness.

Blanch: To immerse vegetables, fruit, or meat in boiling water briefly, then plunge into cold water to stop cooking. This technique is used to firm or soften flesh to set color, to peel off skin, or to remove raw flavor.

Braise: To cook food slowly in tightly covered cookware with a minimal amount of liquid.

Braise Full: To cook food slowly in tightly covered cookware completely covered in liquid.

Bouquet garni: Bunch of herbs traditionally made of 2-3 parsley sprigs, a sprig of fresh thyme (or a pinch of dried thyme) and a bay leaf (tied together with string or tied in cheesecloth for easy removal before serving.

Carpaccio: (Italian) Very thin slices of raw beef filet (or venison) served with mustard sauce, mayonnaise, or olive oil and lemon juice.

Coulis: (French) An old culinary term of some confusion; originally the strained juices from cooked meat, then a puree of chicken, game, or fish; now it usually means a bisque or thick sauce or puree, such as tomato.

Demi-glaze: (French) Brown stock reduced by half - nearly to a glaze.

Escalope: (French) Scallop of meat or fish; a thin slice possibly flattened by pounding.

Fillet: A piece of meat or fish with all bones removed.

Flavorings: Choose a few of the following: fresh herbs, such as thyme, rosemary, or tarragon, garlic cloves (smashed or chopped), bay leaves, lemon zest, dried chilies, such as ancho or Anaheim, sliced mushrooms (such as cremini, shitake, or button), canned tomatoes, chopped anchovies, capers, soy sauce, curry, spices, sherry, dry red wine or port, cider vinegar or red-wine vinegar.

Garnish: An edible trimming or embellishment added to a dish, usually enhancing its flavor as well as visual appeal.

Grill: To cook over flames or embers or under a broiler in intense direct heat.

Jus: (French) Juice, au jus means meat served with its natural juices.

Kebab: (Turkish) Small pieces of meat seasoned and often combined with vegetables, sometimes skewered, and grilled over an open fire.

Liquids: Stock or broth (chicken, beef, veal, venison, vegetable), water, tomato sauce, or apple cider as a supplement.

Loin: A cut of meat from the hindquarter, between the rib and round; the full loin contains the tenderest cuts within the sirloin and short loin.

Marinade: A liquid, including seasonings and acid (vinegar or wine), in which food is steeped before cooking in order to flavor, moisten, and soften it.

Meats: ribs, shanks, shoulder bone-in or boneless, legs, rump, brisket, stew meat.

Medallion: (French) Small round "medallion" or scallop of meat.

Mirepoix: (French) A mixture of diced vegetables, usually carrot, onion, celery, and sometimes ham or pork belly.

Mixed Grill: (British) Various grilled meats, such as lamb chops, kidneys, bacon, and sausages, served with grilled mushrooms, tomatoes, and fried potatoes.

Organic: Refers to food grown without artificial or chemical fertilizers or pesticides.

Osso Buco: Shanks or shin bones (literally "bone with a hole") slowly braised with onions, garlic, carrots, celery, tomatoes, stock, and white wine, and traditionally garnished with gremolada (grated orange peel) before serving.

Poach: To cook in simmering liquid.

Pesto: A sauce made of crushed basil, garlic, pine nuts, and Parmesan cheese in olive oil.

Poivrade: A sauce, usually for game, of mirepoix, cooked in butter with game trimmings, reduced with crushed peppercorns and herbs, moistened with a marinade and vinegar, demi-glaze and game essence added, then strained and finished with butter.

Pot Roasting: A method of braising food (usually large cuts of meat) slowly in a tightly covered pot.

Ragout: (French) A stew of meat, poultry, or fish.

Reduce: To boil down a liquid to thicken its consistency and concentrate its flavor, as in a reduction sauce.

Roast: To cook food by baking it in hot dry air, either in an oven or on or near a fire or hot stones.

Roulade: (French) A rolled slice of meat filled with a savory stuffing.

Saddle: A cut of meat extending along the hindquarters from the end of the ribs to the legs on both sides.

Steam: To cook by steam heat.

Stir Fry: (Chinese) To cook quickly in a small amount of very hot fat, constantly stirring, to give the food a crisp yet tender texture (usually in a wok).

Strip Loin: A cut of meat from the top of the short loin.

Tenderloin: A cut of meat, especially beef, from the hindquarter, consisting of one loin, slender, and very tender muscle running through the loin section ending at the ribs.

Venison: Meat from deer and antelope. Historically used to mean meat from any furred game.