Can anyone tell me what this cooking technique is called?
I'm a self-taught cook, and I learned through trial and error and experimentation. I don't like to use oil if I can help it, so I developed another method of pan-frying steaks and pork chops that I guess you could describe as "serial braising", but does it have a real name, and why don't I ever see it mentioned in cooking videos or websites?
The way it works is this... Season your meat (I like to use a blend of garlic powder, black pepper, Cajun spices, and Italian seasoning) and melt some butter in a pan on high heat. When the pan is hot and the butter melted, put in the meat and begin to sear it for 30 seconds or so. You should start to see some of the meat's juices beginning to brown on the bottom of the pan. Then add a little bit of water, just a few tablespoons or so, enough to cause the drying juices to bubble up again. Cover and cook for about 30-40 seconds, watching for the point at which the steam escaping from the covered pan dies down indicating the water has evaporated and the meat's juices and seasonings are once again beginning to brown onto the bottom of the pan. You flip the meat, let it sear for a bit, then again add a little water, enough that it'll cook away in under a minute, and you keep repeating this over and over until the meat is cooked. At the end, remove the meat and add a bit more water to reconstitute the juices one last time and pour the pan sauce over the meat. By keeping it covered the convection and steam help cook the meat through, and the juices of the meat and the seasonings soak into the meat during cooking, making it very juicy and tender.
You need to be careful not to add too much water or it'll just boil the meat and not have a chance to brown. And don't let it burn to the pan by waiting too long between additions of water. If you want to alter the flavor you could use a juice or wine instead of water, but I prefer to let the meat and spices natural flavor come through.
So, is there a name for this method of quick alternating between searing and braising/steaming or did I create something new? Has anyone here ever tried this? It's different from standard braising because in braising you sear only once, then add a lot of water and cook it low and slow for hours, usually in the oven, and the water is never supposed to burn off. This method is very fast, entirely on the stove-top, and you typically add very small amounts water 7-10 times, allowing it to cook away in between each time.