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Making a Mise En Place

Debra Redalia

 

This is the mise en place for the turkey part of my Rustic Turkey Tikka Masala I made for Thanksgiving dinner. All the spices are premeasured into one bowl, the fresh garlic and ginger are in another bowl, the leftover turkey is measured out into its own bowl, and the yogurt is in the mixing bowl. So all I need to do now is combine four bowls instead of all those individual ingredients. I made another mise for the sauce and then combined the turkey and the sauce at the end. The complicated recipe became very simple.

 

How to pronounce mise en place

Mise en place is something I’ve been wanting to write about for a while but hadn’t gotten around to it. But there are just some recipes—such as Turkey Tikka Masala that just require mise en place because of the speed or complexity of preparation.

Mise en place (or “mise” for short) is a French culinary term that means “to put in place” or “everything in its place.’

It is a procedure generally used in professional kitchens that preps and organizes the ingredients a cook will require to make the menu items that are expected to be prepared during that shift.

A professional cook works very quickly. He or she cannot stop and chop the onions, for example. So mise lays out all the prepped ingredients in an organized way (prepped and measured and in order) to the actual assembly and cooking of the dish is as efficient as possible.

Now I didn’t even know about this until I started watching professional chefs cook on TV and they were often talking about “the mise.”

My whole life I would prep and measure as I cooked, which is not the best way to do it. Sometimes I would get to the middle of the recipe and find I didn’t have an ingredient.

Mise guides you to:

  • collect all your ingredients (and purchase them if necessary)
  • clean each ingredient and remove any peels or skins
  • portion or measure the ingredient
  • chop or slice or otherwise prepare the ingredient to size
  • prepare sub-recipes in advance so they are ready when you need them, such as a sauce or salsa
  • lay out cookware or bakeware, utensils, and machines such as a blender or mixer

And then voila! All you need to do is assemble and cook.

I bought a number of little ramekins and bowls so I could make a mise. You might want to put them on a tray together.

Especially if you are making a complex recipe, mise makes it easier.

But I also found that all my cooking became more efficient and easier because you start to cook in an orderly way.

Try it and you will see the difference.

This may sound like you need a lot of bowls, but you really don’t. I bought a few ramekins of various sizes. Look and siee what  you have and what you need. I made the mise for my very complex Rustic Turkey Tikka Masala with only a few bowls that were there in the housesitting kitchen I was cooking in. And I could only make one mise at a time because that’s all the bowls I had. But even just making the turkey mise and then the sauce mise using those same bowls simplified the cooking process tremendously.

Read more about mise en place at REAL SIMPLE: Mise en Place Will Change Your Life—Here’s how to Nail the meal Prep Technique