First Aid For Kitchen Breakdowns: How to Save Roast, Gravy And Dumplings

The roast is tough, the sauce is oversalted and the dumplings are soggy: when such kitchen mishaps happen at Christmas of all times, it is particularly annoying. But the feast can often be saved with simple tricks.

Everything should be perfect at Christmas dinner. But if things don’t turn out as planned, you don’t need to throw in the kitchen towel right away. We’ll give you tips on how you can still save the feast.

If the Christmas roast is tough and dry, it helps to soak it briefly in sauce. Even if it tastes too salty, you can still make a festive main course out of it.

Oversalted sauces or soups can be saved from the garbage with the help of a whole range of ingredients. Even with too much fat, heat or lumps, there are a few simple tricks.
You can still process mushy dumplings into a delicious side dish.

The roast is tough or dry

If the Christmas roast is tough, you don’t have to throw it away right away. Simply cut it into thin slices and leave them in the sauce for a few minutes. The moisture makes the meat tender and juicy again. This also helps if the meat – or fish – is too dry.

Tip for next time: Fry the meat in the pan on all sides beforehand so that a crispy brown crust is formed. Then it stays nice and juicy when cooking in the oven. You should also plan enough time for thawing. Because the faster raw meat thaws, the more liquid it loses. The result: it becomes dry and tough.

Ideally, you process high-quality organic meat, preferably from the region. Because meat from turbomast has a high water content, which means that a lot of juice escapes when roasting.

The roast is too salty

If the Christmas roast is too salty, a simple trick will help: Cut it into small pieces and mix them with an unseasoned side dish, such as rice.

Another method is to coat the meat with honey – this also helps against too much heat, by the way. A pleasant side effect is that the roast gets a nice crust.

If you don’t like the sweetness, just try the sour ingredients. You can add lemon or orange juice, vinegar or white wine. In any case, proceed carefully so that the feast does not taste too sweet or sour.

The sauce or soup is oversalted

The classic among kitchen mishaps: once you’re not careful, and a large heap of salt ends up in the sauce or soup. If you’re quick, you can scoop it out before it dissolves.

However, it is often only when you taste it that you realize that the food is too salty. Then you have several options. For example, you can add liquid to the sauce – traditionally with a little water or wine.

Dairy products are also good for neutralizing. In addition to milk, cream, crème fraîche, quark or cream cheese are suitable for this. You may have to thicken and season the sauce or soup again afterwards. It is better to use spices other than salt for seasoning to avoid falling into the same trap. You can also use fried onion and garlic pieces if you have them.

Vegetables and bread also help against too much salt

There’s another way to salvage over-salted sauces or soups. For this you need potatoes or carrots. Peel the vegetables, cut them into large pieces and cook them for about ten minutes. The trick behind this: The vegetables draw out the excess salt. Before serving, remove the natural salt binders.

By the way: If the dish has become too spicy, you can also use this method, or you can add broth, wine or milk.

Instead of vegetables, you can also cook dry bread with salty dishes. However, you should choose a type of bread that does not immediately dissolve in the liquid. Alternatively, prunes should also help. They have to cook for a good quarter of an hour.

The sauce is greasy or lumpy

The sauce is too greasy? No problem: skim off the fat directly with a ladle, or let the sauce cool down and put it in the fridge. The fat becomes firm at the top and can be easily removed.

Degreasing with ice cubes works even faster: Wrap the ice cubes in a cloth or kitchen paper and run them over the sauce. This way the fat will stick to the cloth.

On the other hand, if the sauce is lumpy, strain it through a sieve. Then briefly boil the sauce again. Alternatively, you can carefully puree the sauce.

The sauce is too thin

You can also easily save a gravy that is too thin. Flour and cornstarch are proven helpers, regardless of whether you are preparing a light or dark sauce.

Mix 1-2 tablespoons of flour or the cornstarch with a little cold water in a cup until the mixture is free of lumps. Then add the mixture to the simmering sauce, stirring constantly.

By the way: Not every flour is free from harmful substances. In our test, we encountered mold toxins, mineral oil and questionable pesticides, among other things.

The dumplings are mushy

Potato or bread dumplings are a popular side dish for a feast. A common mistake is to put them in simmering water instead of just letting them steep – this causes them to disintegrate. Unfortunately, the muddy look can no longer be changed.

But what remains is to make another side dish out of the dumplings. They can be processed into a delicious Gröstl, for example. This is a pan dish from Austria that is actually cooked with potatoes and leftover meat.

You have to carefully drain the overcooked dumplings and let them drain well. Then chop them into small pieces or slices. Then they are seasoned and fried with diced bacon. The crumbled dumplings also taste good gratinated: Prepare a bacon-cream sauce and pour it over the dumplings in a casserole dish or small bowl. Finally, sprinkle cheese on top.

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