Don’t worry. This will not be a Heston Blumenthal ride on the dark side. Not a piece of dry ice or liquid nitrogen in sight. I just want to know why a casserole tastes better on day two, after being treated abysmally (heat, cool, fridge, reheat – how it has suffered, poor thing!)
It was exciting. A new slow cooker. A dark and dank Sunday. Comfort food was needed. Beef stew with dumplings, served with mashed creamed potatoes (King Edwards, of course) and mashed carrot with parsnip. Made up a large portion so Monday night’s dinner was a easy as – well, easy as, really.
Look – everything smelt beautiful and warm as we re-entered the house 4 hours after setting the cooker going. I had added a few lightly cooked diced carrots and Swede (they never seem to cook so well in a stew as they do when you boil them hard – or is it just me?) Fried off some finely chopped onion and roughly chopped mushroom, and browned the meat (coated in a bit of flour to thicken). So the basic stew (oh, and a teaspoon of ginger, a dash of mixed herbs, some honey, white pepper and salt, and Guinness to wash out the lovely bits from the frying pan into the slow cooker…) was splendid, and the dumplings (see website) were great and cooked in an hour even in the slow cooker.
So why, still was it even better reheated on Monday? I can make educated guesses. I suppose it could be any of the following:
1. This is the ultimate in marinading? Heat it so all the flavours mix well. let it mature overnight, so the flavours develop even more?
2. The cooling time enables the meat to break down even more – the sinews soften, the gristly bits break down more?
3. The liquid reduces a bit more because it has been boiled twice, and so concentrates the flavours more?
It’s probably a mixture of all three. Or something else? Anyone any ideas, or shall we just live with the fact it works well?