When you’re cooking for yourself and perhaps when you’re experimenting as well it really isn’t too much of an issue, but when you’ve somehow conspired to burn some food when you’re cooking for an entire family of seven, it’s that much more painful to have to throw it all away and let it go to complete waste. I’m not saying I force-feed my babies burnt food, but depending on the degree to which you’ve burnt the food you can iterate through some steps to try and save it from going to complete waste.
As careful as you may be and as experienced a cook as you likely are, it happens to the best of us and could just be a matter of getting distracted, putting the heat up too high or perhaps just trying to do too many things at once in the kitchen and elsewhere in the house. Perhaps you’ve left the shell of your pie to bake a bit too long, some of the food you’re pan-frying has burnt and stuck to the bottom of the pan or maybe the steak you’re cooking isn’t cooking evenly all the way through and is burnt on the outside while remaining raw on the inside. Either way, here are a couple effective ways to save it all from going to complete waste:
Stopping the burning dead in its tracks
Well I never went all the way to become the professional chef that I had ambitions of becoming, but I did get some good exposure to that world of professional food preparation. One of the many lessons I learned from the restaurant industry is that of stopping the burning of food dead its tracks. There’s a specific point — almost a single instant when you can smell the food just starting to burn, but it hasn’t quite burnt all the way through. In this case take it off the heat source, out of the pot or pan you’re cooking it in, transfer it to different container and pop it right into the freezer.
This stops the burning process which usually carries on even after you’ve removed the food from its heat source.
What if the food is burnt proper?
If the food has actually burned then the degree to which it’s burnt is what determines just how much of it you can actually save and in fact if you can save it at all. For food which clearly tastes burnt but is only really burnt at the bottom of the pan, do not stir. Simply transfer it into another pan leaving the burnt bit behind and then add a peeled potato to reheat the food on low heat. 15 minutes or so is all it should take for the burnt taste to disappear, after which time you should remove the potato.
For a BBQ steak that’s scorched on the outside but raw on the inside, wrap it in foil and then grill it in the oven until it cooks in the middle, after which time you can cut off the burnt bits.