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Culinary Dictionary: Pincer

(PIN-sehr) v.

Fine Cooking Issue 77

In her recipes for Red-Wine Marinated Braised Short Ribs and Short Rib Ragù, Molly Stevens briefly cooks the tomato paste in the recipes before adding any liquid. This classic technique—known by the French culinary term pincer—concentrates the flavor of the tomato paste and caramelizes it a bit. Usually used when making brown stocks or sauces and braised or stewed dishes, it takes just a few  extra minutes to do and has a big, rich flavor payoff in the end.

In culinary school, I heard the term most often used in reference to tomato paste, but it actually also applies to browning in general, whether it’s meat, bones, or vegetables.

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