This is probably the most expensive kitchen item you will need to invest in. Although a food processor is not an absolutely essential piece of equipment, because you can certainly chop, grate, slice, knead and mix everything by hand, it does do all these things very quickly and efficiently and saves you time and energy. After years of using one myself, I am convinced every serious cook should have a food processor – it’s a great piece of equipment.
There are dozens of different designs and sizes, but I would say that if you invest in the largest size, with the most powerful motor, you will have the best of everything. Remember, quality never comes cheap, and beware of what looks like a bargain but may have a short life and not do the job really well. A warning: the blade in the processor will wear out in time, so if your processor begins to show signs of not performing as it should, it probably needs a sharp new blade. This can be ordered from kitchen shops or direct from the manufacturer.
KNOW YOUR PROCESSOR
When you buy a food processor and begin to use it, you will soon get the feel of how it performs. One of the most common misuses of a food processor is to overdo it. This was much more of a problem before the pulse button was invented, when something chopped could become something puréed, over-processed nuts could become an oily, claggy mess and puréed meat make hamburgers or rissoles very bouncy! With the pulse button you can see what is happening after each burst, which is important, but care must still be taken not to over-process.
Related post: A great food processor i’ve owned
WHAT DOES A FOOD PROCESSOR DO?
First on the list is chopping, particularly large quantities. It can chop 1lb (450 g) of onions in seconds and will therefore save you masses of time. It can also chop other vegetables, fruits and nuts. I love my processor best when I feed it cubes of bread, which it instantly turns into breadcrumbs (some of you will be far too young to remember the tedious job of grating bread into breadcrumbs on the side of a grater).
Also, if you want to make a stuffing, the onions, breadcrumbs and herbs can all be whizzed together – a brilliant time-saver. It can also evenly chop meat much more efficiently than the old-fashioned mincers that squeezed the meat through the blades.
Yes, it’s good at that too! With a special attachment you can deal with cucumbers, apples, cabbages, potatoes and whatever needs to be sliced evenly and precisely. You can even choose thick or thin slices.
MIXING AND PURÉEING
There are a million and one things you can mix in a food processor: whole-egg mayonnaise, for example, can be mixed in moments. It can then be made into chunky tartare sauce, with capers, cornichons (baby gherkins) and parsley chopped in at the end – taste it and you’ll never want the shop-bought version again!
If you’re nervous about making pastry, or if the fat from the fridge is too hard to rub in by hand, the processor will make extremely good pastry, provided, at the end, you add the water a little at a time to get a good consistency. Sometimes, when you are serving vegetables, it’s nice to ring the changes and whip them into a purée. With a little crème fraîche and some butter, a processor will make a lovely smooth, velvety parsnip purée. I also like to add steamed swede and carrots to the bowl of the processor while they are still hot, and whizz them, not to a purée, but to the coarsely chopped stage. Read the full article at Delia Online