Marinating is a great way to infuse flavors into meats (and even vegetables) before cooking them. Adding these flavors by using a marinade, will help you infuse flavors without adding additional fat and calories to your meat and vegetables before grilling, sauteing, or stirfrying. You can also use marinades to deepen the flavors of roasts and braised meats before you begin cooking them to develop an even deeper and richer flavor. Finally, some marinades can be used to help tenderize meat if they contain an acid that will help break down tougher cuts of meat.
What You Need:
- Non-reactive container made of glass, ceramic, stainless steel or plastic
Creating Your Marinade
There are endless combinations for marinades, although most marinades contain some kind of acid, herbs, and spices. Popular bases for marinades include citrus juices, vinegar, non fat or low fat yogurt, or oil. To keep your marinade low fat you can substitute Greek yogurt or plain yogurt for oil in most marinades. Then you can add any combinations of spices and herbs to your marinade to infuse flavors. Consider cilantro, parsley, fresh herbs, garlic, shallots, onions, soy sauce, and other Asian ingredients. Some marinades call for wine or other alcohol, however this are best reserved for marinades that will have a long cooking time so the alcohol flavor has enough time to burn off.
How Long Do You Marinate
The length of time you marinate something depends on both the protein you are using, as well as the type of marinades. When you are marinating delicate ingredients like fish, you likely only want to marinate the fish or other seafood for around 20 minutes so the protein doesn’t break down. For meats and chicken, you can marinate the meat for a couple of hours or even overnight to get more depth of flavor. Whenever you are using a highly acidic marinade, be careful not to over marinate or your protein can become overly broken down and grainy.
Some Classic Marinades
There are many classic marinade recipes out there you can try. Some typical and delicious marinades include:
- Steak Marinade: 1/4 cup vegetable oil, 1/4 cup red wine vinegar, 3 tbsp Worcestershire sauce, 1 tbsp salt, 1 tsp black pepper, 1 tsp dried oregano, 1 tsp dried thyme
- Korean Marinade: 1/2 cup soy sauce, 1/3 cup sugar, 3 tbsp rice wine vinegar, 2 tbsp sesame oil, 8 cloves minced garlic, 4 minced scallions, 2 tbsp sesame seeds, 1/2 tsp black pepper
- Pineapple Marinade: 1 cup crushed pineapple, 1/3 cup soy sauce, 1/3 cup honey, 1/4 cup cider vinegar, 2 cloves minced garlic, 1 tsp ginger powder, 1/4 tsp powdered cloves
- White Wine and Garlic Marinade: 2 tbsp minced parsley, 2 tbsp minced fresh oregano, 1/4 cup dry white wine, 1/4 cup olive oil, juice of 1 lemon, 2 minced garlic cloves, 1 tbsp minced black olives, 1/2 tsp sea salt, 1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
Creating a Sauce From Your Marinating Liquid
You can create a delicious sauce from many marinades but it is important to make sure it cooks enough to kill off any bacteria from the meat. This can be as simple as bringing the marinade to a boiling and cooking for at least five minutes until the marinade reduces and any bacteria is killed.