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Sep 30, 2006 04:00 AM

All About Braising: Beef and Veal Recipe Reviews

October 2006 Cookbook of the Month: Please post your full-length reviews of beef and veal recipes from Molly Stevens' All About Braising here. Please mention the name of the recipe you are reviewing as well as any modifications you made to the recipe. If this is a recipe you've done many times before but aren't cooking currently, consider adding a note to the All About Braising: Previous Picks and Pans thread:

A reminder that the verbatim copying of recipes to the boards is a violation of the copyright of the original author. Posts with copied recipes will be removed.

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  1. Bisteces Rancheros (p 222)

    I chose this dish as I had a lot of the ingredients on hand and although fall is fast approaching I am not quite ready for an overly hearty dish. MS notes in the recipe description that she was inspired by Diana Kennedy when she came up the recipe therefore I was inspired as well.

    To paraphrase: Roast two poblano chilies, sweat then remove the skins and seeds and cut into thin strips and reserve. I used pasilla instead and left some seeds for heat. While your peppers are perspiring, sear 2 lbs flank steak seasoned w/ s & p (I used flat iron), remove to shallow baking dish. Saute 2 thinly sliced onions til soft then add, garlic, 1 tbs. each ground cumin and coriander, two minced garlic cloves til combined. Then add tomato juice from a 28 oz. can of tomatoes then the tomatoes one at a time (breaking them up as you go-I had diced so I just added the whole can) cook down til reduced and add 2 tbs of red wine vinegar, add s & p to taste. While this is reducing, thinly slice two white potatoes (I used Yukon Gold). Assembly: steak on bottom, layer potatoes over the steak, tomato mixture on top of the potatoes and strips of poblanos on top. Cover tightly with tin foil and cook at 350 for 1 hour remove tin foil and turn up the heat by 25 degrees and cook till it starts to look brown and a little carmelized.

    The dish turned out great it was a really nice combination of flavors. I especially liked the visual contrast of red tomato sauce with the yellow Yukons and the green chilies. As for presentation, I think it would make for a nice dinner party dish especially if you carefully re-plated it to a festive looking platter and served family style. Taste wise the layering of flavors worked well. The flat iron steaks were beefy and tender yet held up during the braising process. I can only think of two changes to do in the future: sautéing or reducing the tomato sauce longer for a sweeter flavor and maybe using a pot roast instead.

    After I removed the foil:

    Plated (turned out a little fuzzy but you can see the layers):

    4 Replies
    1. re: free sample addict aka Tracy L

      I tried this dish last night as well. It turned out very well, though I think I might decrease the cumin a little bit the next time I make it. I braised the meat for a little longer than the recipe says because my steaks weren't half an inch thin.

      Had leftovers today and the flavor and texture of the meat had improved noticeably. This was a popular dish with the family, and I'm looking forward to cooking more recipes from the book!

      1. re: redwood2bay

        I agree the leftovers were better the next day. The thicker steak seems like a nice touch because the flavors are so big.

      2. re: free sample addict aka Tracy L

        Someone just handed me a small beef roast (not sure of the cut) and asked if I could "do something tasty" with it. I decided to look at this thread, and as it happens, what I had in my hands when me gave me the roast was a bag of frozen roasted Hatch chiles I'd just taken out of the freezer. Clearly I was destined to make this recipe.

        I asked for this book for Xmas and didn't get it (I did get the 6 qt dutch oven, though so maybe I'll just get the book for myself). So thanks for paraphrasing this recipe for me -- I'll report back after dinner!

        1. re: Ruth Lafler

          So it came out pretty well. I used twice the chiles because I had them and I like them. I thought it could have used bit more ... something. Maybe I just undersalted it.

      3. Sounds delish. I might try this after the short ribs in Porter

        4 Replies
        1. re: faijay

          Brasied Short Ribs in Porter-Ale with Maple-Rosemary Glaze.

          came out absolutely wonderful. the preparation was small in comparison to the flavor. the porter was amazing...such a strong robust flavor without being too overwhelming. the meat still came through. and the meat, oh the meat, was melt in your mouth.

          it was a hit and i will definitely prepare a few times throughout the winter.

          1. re: ceeceee

            Great to hear. I've got my short ribs brining in the fridge. What did you do for sides? I was thinking that if there's lots of yummy sauce I might want garlic mashed potatoes or maybe broad noodles to soak it up. What do you think? Also, did you let the ribs rest overnight in the braising liquid or serve them the same night? Thanks.

            1. re: JoanN

              hi joan,
              i served them the same night, reduced the sauce when i was done and through em under the broiler with the glaze.
              i made maple glazed carrots and brussel sprouts side dish...sort of like this (seeing as the maple syrup was out for the glaze):


              yes, something to soak up the sauce would be great...the noodles or mashed potatoes sound nice...
              although next time i will make some small roasted potatoes for the side, the crispness of a roasted potato might be a nice compliment to the buttery, tender meat.
              enjoy! let me know how you like them!

            2. re: ceeceee

              I made this as well, but I missed or skipped too many steps of the recipe so I can't review it fairly. Cooking with a 10-month old around never goes quite as planned. It turned out tasty, but not perfect due to my errors & ommissions no doubt.

              Two major discoveries though: porter ale is yummy, and maple syrup and rosemary make a GREAT combination. Our first attempt at the glaze turned into a chewy hard candy, and if they made lollipops of this I would buy them by the sack.

          2. Sausages and Plums Braised in Red Wine (p. 396)

            Very good. I used both purple and red plums, and a Renwood Syrah. Sausages are browned in olive oil, removed, and chopped shallots are then sauteed in the fat (no shallots so I used onions). Add garlic and minced sage (I used a couple of sprigs of fresh thyme) then sliced plums, salt, and pepper. Add wine, simmer 3-4 minutes, add sausages. Cover and braise for about 30 minutes. Remove sausages and plums and reduce braising liquid.





            4 Replies
            1. re: Rubee

              I really liked this when I made it about a month ago. It's a good summer-to-fall transitional dish, where you can use the last of the summer plums, but not heat up your home too much since the braising is for a relatively short period.
              Thanks for the gorgeous photos!

              1. re: AppleSister

                I knew that I was getting plums from my CSA so I made this last night. It was really terrific, and very easy. I had it with crisp sauteed potatoes, some bread to sop up the sauce (as recommended) and a simple apple/fennel/celery salad since I had apples and fennel from the CSA as well. The tartness of the salad went nicely with the richness of the dish. This is absoutely worth making again.

              2. re: Rubee

                Thanks for the report and photos, Rubee. Your result looks similar to the picture in the book. Some questions:

                1. What kind of sausage did you use?

                2. Did you find the wine sauce overpowering at all?

                3. What did you serve on the side, if anything?

                1. re: Carb Lover

                  I bought some wonderful fresh sweet sausages from an Italian butcher in our "North End" in Boston. On the side I served the beans I reviewed on the vegetable board. We're trying to cut down the carbs a bit, or else I would have served it with polenta, as she suggests. The wine didn't overpower it at all (which is funny you ask, because after a disastrous attempt at coq au vin years ago, I've never tried again). She's very specific about a light, dry, fruity wine (2/3 cup). We used a 2003 Renwood Syrah Sierra (9$) and it worked very well. BTW, I had actually bought a nice California Pinot Noir ($17) - as she suggests - to use and have with dinner but decided not to imbibe as I was still recuperating from a Chowhound tasting and cocktail menu we did on Friday (posted on the Boston board)!.

              3. Sausage and Pistachio-Stuffed Veal Marsala

                The stuffing is sweet Italian sausage removed from their casings, mixed with chopped pistachios, parsley, bread crumbs, an egg yolk, and a little cognac and nutmeg. Roll stuffing in thin veal cutlets, roll in flour. Brown in butter and olive oil, remove. Saute chopped celery, onion, and carrots, add marsala, reduce, then add chicken stock. Add the veal rolls and braise for about an hour. Very good! This would be a nice meal for company since it sounds fancier than a typical braised dish, but you could do it ahead of time and then warm. Served with Braised Potatoes with Butter and Rosemary (on vegetable review thread).


                3 Replies
                1. re: Rubee

                  Seriously gorgeous picture! I had marked this as one to try and will definitely do it this weekend. Thanks!

                  1. re: Rubee

                    Love the book, gotta make that dish!

                    1. re: bayoucook

                      Thanks for the reminder of how good that was. I need to make it again.

                      (adding enlarged picture)

                  2. I made these sausages the other day. I loved the taste of the sauce, but my plums fell apart. Still good, but not as pretty. I did it at a slow simmer but maybe still too high? I will make it again--I'll try other sausage types since there are many places in Toronto that make sausages. I used fairly firm large red plums, I'd love to try it with the local small purple plums.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: faijay

                      I just realized this should probably be posted in lamb and pork.