If you have ever made a multi-step soup or custard and strained it through an ultra fine screen kitchen sieve, called a Chinois, you have probably been frustrated by the clean up afterward. While the soups, custards and broths you can create using a high quality chinois can be sublime, the clean up isn’t.
Recently I made a lovely, creamed, smoked tomato soup; the second to the last step involved straining the solids by pressing the precious flavor through the chinois into a pan. We don’t have great water pressure in our kitchen sink and after thoroughly pressing cooked vegetables against the micro screen, the little bits of food got lodged in the side. It can be challenging to remove the stubborn small bits from the sieve, even if you rinse it right away.
It was during one such frustrating cleaning experience this summer, I had a brain storm of sorts. I took the chinois outside and turned my garden hose on it. I have one of those adjustable head nozzles on my hose and rotated the dial to the sharp stream setting. With the water on full force, I blasted the stubborn food bits right out of there. I took care to anchor the chinois by the handle to keep it from scooting away on the patio. I know, this a very guy thing to do, but let me tell you, that was one clean chinois when I was finished.
Some of you more experience cooks may ask, “Why don’t you use cheese cloth in the chinois?” I find that when passing multiple batches of pureed soup or stock through a strainer, using cheese cloth becomes more of a hassle than a help. Maybe I am not doing it correctly, but I tend to skip the cheese cloth when straining.
Somewhere, I hear Tim Allen grunting his manly approval. 🙂
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