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Reusing cooking water

(article, Culinate staff)

Over on Gourmet.com, Francis Lam is saving his cooking water for . . . cooking. Lam describes using water that was used for cooking carrots to cook lentils — and then using it again:

bq. By now it was sugary and nutty and earthy, and it was awesome in my pot of braised greens, giving it rich body and intriguing depth.

Anyone who cooks can take advantage of, as Lam calls it, "incidental stock." He suggests tasting whatever water is left after cooking something, to determine whether it might be good to use again:

bq. Whenever you find yourself boiling something, give the water a taste. Is it pleasant? If so, even a little bit, think about how you might reinsert that flavor into your meal. You can reduce it and add it to the sauce you have bubbling in your other pot. You can cook something else in it. Get creative. So much of good cooking is about harnessing and building layers of flavor. Why throw any of it down the drain?

Why indeed?