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Dinner tonight tasted horrible. Where did I go wrong?

(62 Posts)
BringBackBant Tue 10-Sep-13 21:50:57

Got the recipe off YouTube!

Basically, browned some chicken thighs - then removed from the pan to soften some onions & garlic, added two tins of chopped tomatoes, pinch of sugar then re-added the chicken & into the oven for 30 mins.

It has an unpleasantly bitter aftertaste. Did it need a bit more sugar do you think?

One thing that is worrying me slightly - I used a new cast iron pan that I haven't seasoned. Would that have caused it?


MadameDefarge Tue 10-Sep-13 22:35:33

Mintty will back me up. woncha, Mintty?

MadameDefarge Tue 10-Sep-13 22:36:13

I also use balsamic vinegar to do the same job

HootShoot Tue 10-Sep-13 22:37:47

I went on an Italian cookery course and our teacher said it was quite common to add sugar to tinned tomatoes.

Mintyy Tue 10-Sep-13 22:37:58

Yeah ... too right. She knows wot she's talking about does ol Fargy.

Mintyy Tue 10-Sep-13 22:38:43

Haa! was going to mention balsamic vinegar but didn't want to appear TOO poncey.

Msbluebozooka Tue 10-Sep-13 22:43:15

Minty , Madame and Hootshoot. Jamie Oliver will also back us up.Try it and see for yourselves next time

MadameDefarge Tue 10-Sep-13 22:47:52

Another interesting thing the Italians do is to add onions and garlic to cold oil and then heat up...if you think about it it makes so much sense, avoids unnecessary burning...

Msbluebozooka Tue 10-Sep-13 22:51:56

Also if you don't like the thought of adding sugar add grated carrots.

MadameDefarge Tue 10-Sep-13 22:53:27

You could never be too poncey, dear Mintty...

steppemum Tue 10-Sep-13 22:54:25

Well, I have been cooking for a long time and never found the need to add sugar. I would never choose to add sugar to anything savoury, as I said before, enough processed sugar in our diets without adding more!

My chicken dishes don't taste bitter, so don't know why I would need sugar?

I agree with poster up thread though who said need to bring tinned tomatoes up to simmer before transferring to the oven, and I would cook for an hour.

BringBackBant Tue 10-Sep-13 22:55:13

Thank you all!

Having to make several rounds of cheese on toast because no one likes their dinner blush.

I used Heinz tinned toms, because they were on offer - usually I go for the value ones - so (hopefully) reasonably good standard ones.

I did wash the pan out first, but didn't go through the seasoning process first, because I forgot. Am going to now though.

I suspect that the toms just weren't cooked long enough - I didn't boil them down first, added literally just a pinch of sugar, and didn't cook for long enough in the oven (although chicken came out perfect, if a little over tanned!).

It should be a nice, cheap filling recipe so I am going to try it again in a day or two, and do it right next time. Will update when I do!

Mintyy If I leave in for an hour, how can I stop the chicken over cooking? I had it in at 190 (fan assisted).

MadameDefarge Tue 10-Sep-13 22:58:32

chicken doesn't need sugar. Some brands of tinned tomato might benefit from a pinch to balance the acidity, as it burbles down.

I have been cooking for 40 years and am a professional cook so I am allowed to be dogmatic on this.

however we all have different palates and maybe some just don't mind it. Hence not finding the need to counteract it.

MadameDefarge Tue 10-Sep-13 22:59:40

may I butt in here BringBack? I would have had it at 180 and covered it with foil for the first 45 mins..that would semi steam the chicken keeping it moist while the last 15 would brown the skin nicely

Mintyy Tue 10-Sep-13 23:01:04

You don't add sugar to chicken dishes <ffs!>

It is for the benefit of the tinned tomatoes, not the flipping chicken grin.

Yes, there is definitely too much sugar in our diets and we should all get a grip and stop eating so much of it. However, suggesting that the addition of half to 1tsp of sugar to 4-6 servings is going to tip the balance into the realms of the unhealthy is just plain ludicrous.

BringBackBant Tue 10-Sep-13 23:05:36

may I butt in here BringBack?

You may!

I would have had it at 180 and covered it with foil for the first 45 mins..that would semi steam the chicken keeping it moist while the last 15 would brown the skin nicely

That sounds perfect. Will do exactly that.

Re: sugar and tomatoes. We eat LOADS of tinned tomatoes - I can really tell the difference if I haven't put a bit of sugar in. A dollop of tomato puree usually helps bring down the bitterness too (dunno why).

MadameDefarge Tue 10-Sep-13 23:07:19

I was much nicer than you mintty about the sugary chicken.

dreamingbohemian Tue 10-Sep-13 23:08:44

I'm glad I'm not the only one confused about the sugar. I always use salt and cook for at least 30-45 minutes. Have always gotten compliments on my sauce!

OP what you could try is sticking the tomatoes on to boil first, then do your prep, then in a separate pan brown the chicken and onions and garlic, then stick it all in the oven. If the sauce isn't quite ready when the chicken is done, just pull out the chicken and let the sauce cook another 10-15 minutes.

That's just a guess as I've never made this dish. I do something similar but easier, just cover chicken and garlic and potatoes with mustard, white wine and rosemary and cook for 30-40 minutes in the oven.

MadameDefarge Tue 10-Sep-13 23:09:24

And yes mintty, I have been cooking since I was nine (including family meals, not just fairy cakes). my mum was a fabulous cook and introduced me to Elizabeth David very early...

Just so you don't saying I'm a bit fat liar grin

dreamingbohemian Tue 10-Sep-13 23:13:14

x-post with Madame

Now I am really discombobulated about the sugar/salt thing

My sauce is never bitter! I do tend to cook it a long time though so maybe that's why.

BringBackBant Tue 10-Sep-13 23:15:27

Maybe the sugar is only necessary if you're not cooking the tomatoes for long. My go-to pasta sauce (which we have at least once a week) is literally tinned toms, onion, crushed garlic, oregano & basil, tomato puree & half teaspoon of sugar. It's lovely (esp. with grated cheese). Maybe a longer cooked dish doesn't need the bit of sugar because the acid is cooked away?

That sounds lovely, dreaming. I love chicken cooked in white wine. Will give that a try. Thanks smile

Msbluebozooka Tue 10-Sep-13 23:16:40

Dreaming what tin tomatoes are you using tho?

MadameDefarge Tue 10-Sep-13 23:21:39

right. the chemistry of of long cooking of acidic foods such as onions and tomatoes is that longer cooking removes excess water, so dehydrating the food, which accentuates the sweeter flavours of the vegetables. which is why if you cook down onions in just oil they will become intensely sweet, as will tomatoes.

This can however take quite a long time, so if you don't have a few hours to make a tomato confit a la Heston, a decent cooking down and a pinch of sugar will do the job.

However if you have rubbish tinned toms (and there are plenty out there) you might never get a decent balance without adding other stuff, like sugar.

I thank yow.

MadameDefarge Tue 10-Sep-13 23:23:03

morrisons used to do an own brand of toms which were utterly lush. I cried when they stopped stocking them. Six years ago. I still mourn them.

RussianBlu Tue 10-Sep-13 23:23:08

I think the problem lies in the tinned tomatoes, I don't like using them as I feel they often have a not very nice taste.

Msbluebozooka Tue 10-Sep-13 23:26:32

Yep , it all depends on the make.

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