Convection Cooking Basics: A Stress-Free Easy Way to Cook
Despite being a standard mode in high-end ovens for over 30 years, Convection cooking is a mystery to most people who own a Convection oven; however, with a little education this mystery mode can transform your oven cooking.
Convection cooking was developed by the baking industry some forty years ago as they searched for an effective way to bake multiple racks of food at one time with consistent even results. Basically by moving the heating element to the back of the oven and installing a fan to force the heated air in a circular pattern around the food, oven cooking was transformed.
While baking multiple racks of cookies, cakes and muffins is a great advantage, there are other benefits to be realized from Convection cooking that make this system beneficial to the home cook. Because of the even heat circulation, a Convection oven can be used to cook an entire meal at one time with no flavor transference. There is greater moisture retention in all foods cooked in Convection, and the roasting time for large cuts of meat is greatly reduced.
Cooking an entire meal in the oven may seem daunting at first, but it’s actually a very easy way to cook. Once the food is in the oven you have 30 – 40 minutes to do something else, and most of the cooking trays are dishwasher-safe, making cleanup much easier. Successful cooking is all about planning and once you have a sense of how easy it is to cook a meal in the oven, it becomes very easy to orchestrate the cooking of multiple dishes at one time.
Now for the tricky part: each oven features unique Convection and Non-Convection cooking modes. In some modes only the Convection element in the rear of the oven is engaged. In other modes the bottom and top heating elements are engaged sometimes in conjunction with the Convection element. These modes are designed to give you perfect results with different types of cooking and baking but to get good results you have to pay attention to where the heat is coming from.
To understand the modes in your oven, the best place to start is the Use & Care manual. Another alternative would be to attend a complimentary Product Education class at the Purcell Murray Showroom or a Dealer Demonstration. To see the schedule of classes and demonstrations, for Thermador, Bosch, Gaggenau, Bertazzoni and La Cornue and to see more recipes for Convection meals visit www.purcellmurray.com/larissa.cfm.
Convection Cooking Basics
Baking in Convection – always reduce recipe temperatures by 25°
Roasting in Convection – meats should be placed on a rack in a shallow pan. When meats are placed directly on a pan the heat of the pan leaches out the moisture and dries out the meat and the fan does a good job of splattering the juice around the oven.
An Easy Convection Multi-Level Meal
- Roast Chicken
- Medley of Seasonal Roasted Vegetables
- Blackberry & Apple Crisp
Meal Preparation Plan
Some foods are seasonal but roast chicken is eaten year round, we just vary the seasonings and the side dishes according to the season. It takes approximately one hour to roast a 4-5lb chicken in Convection and since most Convection ovens are pretty large it’s not a bad idea to roast two at a time so you have extra cooked chicken for salads and sandwiches. Warm apple crisp not only makes a delicious dessert served with vanilla ice cream but also a terrific breakfast served with yogurt.
Timing & Cooking Plan
- 5-lb Chicken – 1 hour and 10 minutes resting time
- Roasted Vegetable Medley – 35 minutes
- Apple Crisp – 35 minutes
- Allow about 1 hour 20 minutes for cooking, resting and carving the chicken. Poultry shears are great for cutting up roast chicken.
- Plan to cook the vegetables so they are ready when the chicken is ready to be served.
- The crisp can go into the oven when the chicken comes out and it will be ready to serve for dessert.
- 1 – 5lb chicken
- 2 – tablespoons butter, melted
- 3 – sprigs fresh thyme, leaves only
- 2 – cloves garlic, finely chopped
- ½ – teaspoon kosher salt
- freshly ground pepper
- 1 – small onion peeled
- 1 – bay leaf
Preheat the oven to Convection or Convection Roast 400°.
Wash the chicken with cold water and pat dry with paper towels.
With the sharp point of a knife separate the skin from the breast.
Combine the melted butter, thyme and garlic with the salt and pepper and spread the mixture under the skin, rubbing the excess over the skin. Place the onion and bay leaf in the cavity and place the chicken on a rack in a shallow roasting pan.
Place in the oven and cook for 15 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 350° and cook for another 45 minutes.
The chicken is done when the legs move easily and the juices run clear.
Rest the chicken for 10 – 12 minutes before carving.
Medley of Carrots, Cauliflower and Beets
- 1 – head cauliflower, stem removed, florets cut into 1″ thick slices
- 4 – medium carrots, peeled and cut into 1″ thick diagonal slices
- 3 – beets, peeled (wear gloves to make this easy) cut in half lengthwise, each half cut into 1″ thick slices
- 3 – tablespoons olive oil
- 1 – orange, juice only
- ¼ – cup pomegranate juice
- 2 – tablespoons Grand Marnier
Combine the cauliflower and carrots in a medium sized mixing bowl and toss with 2 tablespoons of the oil. Toss the beets with the remainder of the oil in a separate bowl and gently fold in with the other vegetables so they don’t bleed too much. Spread the vegetables onto a rimmed baking sheet and cook for 25-30 minutes in Convection or Convection Roast 350° until they are tender. Stir once during the cooking time so they don’t get too brown on one side.
Combine the orange juice with the pomegranate juice and Grand Marnier in a small saucepan and reduce of medium heat for about 10 minutes, fold into the warm cooked vegetables and season with sea salt before serving.
Blackberry Apple Crisp
This is one of those recipes you can easily put together year round; just vary the fruits according to the season.
- 6 – pippin apples, peeled and cored and cut into 1/8ths
- 2 – cups blackberries, rinsed and dried and tossed with ½ cup of sugar
- 2 – cups rolled oats
- 4 – tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 – stick unsalted butter, softened and cut into small pieces
- ½ – cup brown sugar
- ½ – teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ – teaspoon salt
Combine the apples and blackberries and spread into an oven casserole dish.
Place the oats, flour, sugar, salt and cinnamon in a bowl and rub in the butter with your hands to bring the mixture together. When the butter is incorporated spread it over the fruit and place in the oven and bake – Convection 350° for 35-40 minutes.