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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: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

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.

                    2. Short Ribs Braised in Porter Ale with Maple-Rosemary Glaze

                      I went the whole nine yards on this one. Brined in the fridge for two days, braised, let rest in the braising liquids for two days, then glazed and served.

                      They were simply wonderful. Falling off the bone, but with flavorful, chewy bits around the edges that were a welcome counterpoint to the tenderness of the meat. The two days of sitting lightly covered in the fridge I’m sure contributed to the browning of the meat and the creation of those chewy bits. I really liked it that way and would use that method again. And that glaze! (julesrules lollipop comment is bang on!) Just a hint of sweetness and tang that takes this recipe beyond other braised short ribs I’ve tried. So simple; so perfect. This is not only a keeper, but a great dinner party dish since it requires so little attention at the end.

                      I’ve been debating whether or not to post a photo. They didn’t come out well at all. The ribs look hard and burnt, which I assure was not the least bit true.


                      This probably isn’t the place for it, but I just have to tell you. For dessert I made Roasted Pears with Almond Crunch from the September Gourmet (found on Epicurious). My guests were as thrilled with that as they were with the ribs. The pears are roasted with an Amaretto-flavored caramel sauce; topped with a bit of mascarpone; sprinkled with a toasted, sugared-almond topping; and drizzled with more of the caramel sauce. I highly recommend it. Also mostly do-ahead. Giving serious thought to making it again for Thanksgiving.

                      7 Replies
                        1. re: JoanN

                          What? No pictures of the pears?!? Your short ribs look amazing to me! I want to make those this weekend, but the way things have been going for me lately, we'll see!

                          1. re: Katie Nell

                            LOL! Didn't even *think* about the pears, Katie. I probably should have since my guests were totally accepting of their dinner getting cold while I tried to get a good rib shot. The pears were really pretty. Gotta trust me on this one.

                          2. re: JoanN

                            We finally tried this dish here, too. I brined for two days, then braised and let it sit overnight. The flavors were lovely, and the meat meltingly tender. The only thing that was a little disconcerting to me was the thick layers of fat in the short ribs-- yummy fat, but way too much. (And I am a person who dislikes meat when it's too lean!) Did anyone else find this? We had very meaty, very thick short ribs from one of the best butchers around here. Otherwise, it was a lovely dish.

                            1. re: redwood2bay

                              I finally made this last nite and it was very good. I found the same as you redwood, it did have a lot of layers of fat, which I picked around and didn't like. But the browned fat on the top (first browned in pan and then brushed with the glaze and broiled) was fantastic. I couldn't eat very much of this rich meat, but I will make it again. I did find it a bit pricy tho--I got 4 ribs total about 1 3/4 pounds and it was over $6- last time I looked they were $.89 a pound. I also had to go to a butcher shop to find them, they weren't in my local supermaket. The 2 ribs a piece were plenty for the 2 of us, but wouldn't be for big eaters. I wonder how this would be using a pot roast instead of the short ribs? Any thoughts?

                              1. re: jackie de

                                Short Ribs Braised in Porter Ale with Maple-Rosemary Glaze, p. 247

                                I made this last night, and it was delicious. I only salted the ribs the day before, so I'm not sure how much of a difference it made, but I'm not sure it's even necessary.

                                I agree with the comments above about the excess fat still on the ribs at the end of cooking. Since the bones were mostly coming off, I just pulled them out entirely, cut some of the larger pieces in half, then pulled off some of that excess fat while I was at it. After that, I brushed them with glaze and ran them under the broiler.

                                I had one quibble with the directions. She calls for putting the ribs in a flame-proof pan, spooning the vegetables around them, pouring the reduced braising liquid in the pan, then glazing and broiling the ribs. Did you all do it that way?

                                What I did instead was remove the ribs to the same baking tray that I browned them on (oven browning is such great technique, so much better than on the stovetop!) so I could glaze and broil them on that. For the braising liquid, I strained it into a gravy separator, poured the juices back into the braising pot to reduce a bit (not as much as suggested, I have to admit), then added back the vegetables. Then I spooned the liquid and vegetables onto the serving platter, pushing the carrots to the outer edge (I used extra carrots) and placed the braised ribs in the center. Worked well for me, since I was serving family style rather than plating in the kitchen.

                                I'm also not convinced that it was necessary to turn the ribs. I think I could just have placed them bone side up in the pan and left them that way the entire time. I may try that next time.

                                I served it with brown rice pilaf, great for mixing with the yummy juices.

                              2. re: redwood2bay

                                Yes, and it was a bit of a turnoff for me. a Lot of grissly ugly fat to eat around. EEww. Won't be making these again. :/

                            2. Osso Bucco Alla Milanese

                              Although I always feel a little guilty about eating
                              veal, this has been my favorite braised dish ever since my husband and I traveled to Italy a few years ago. In Florence, we had lunch at a small restaurant full of locals-- I ordered the osso bucco plate lunch, and as I was busily trying to get the marrow out of the bones, one of the men sitting next to me smiled and said (in Italian), "That's the best part." I couldn't understand another word he said, but we agreed on the food. Ever since then, I've had a weakness for osso bucco.

                              This recipe turned out great-- better than Marcella's recipe for osso bucco, which I've tried twice. I'm not sure whether it was getting a better cut of meat (the hind shank) or using my new Le Creuset dutch oven (a Marshalls find-- and such a joy to cook in, may I add) or Stevens' very particular instructions (using the parchment paper, for instance). The meat was very tender, and the vegetables were sweet without being cloying. I followed her instructions pretty closely except that I didn't add the gremolata. The accompaniment was store-bought polenta and asparagus from our favorite deli.

                              My husband was impressed that I'd managed to cook this-- we have two young kids, a toddler and a 7 month old baby. The toddler was at preschool, and the baby jumped in his doorway jumper and watched a Baby Einstein video while I did the stovetop work (I'd done the prep the night before). It was easy and delicious, and definitely a keeper. Not as good as the osso bucco in Florence, but the best I've ever made by a long shot.

                              6 Replies
                              1. re: redwood2bay

                                I didn't own this cookbook. I ended up buying it specifically for the cookbook challenge and wasn't sure at first whether that was a smart decision. I own about 250 cookbooks. Did I really need another? But nearly all our reports, as well as my own experience with three recipes so far, are a clear indication that this book was worth all the rewards it received.

                                I've tried a number of different osso buccos. Better than Marcella's? Now that get's my attention. Yet another recipe from this book to add to the list.

                                Once again, redwood2bay, thank you for all the work you've done to set this up and keep it going. It's been a great deal of fun, both to do and to read about. And I am simply in awe that you've done this with a toddler and an infant to care for. Please let us know if we can help share the burden.

                                1. re: JoanN

                                  Thanks JoanN for your support-- if I could figure out a way to have more hounds help out, I'll let you know. At some point, I'm going to hand over the organizing to another hound. For now, I'm just trying to keep things moving.

                                  Cooking for my family is one of the few activities I'm trying to hold on to during this really busy time. Some days it works; some days we eat out. One of my selfish reasons for starting this was to have some company in the kitchen, albeit virtually, and some added incentive to try new recipes, even in cookbooks I already own. So far, it's worked. I would not even have known about All About Braising without the hounds, much less have tried this recipe

                                  Glad to hear you think the cookbook has been worthwhile. I'm in awe of the fact that you have 250 cookbooks! I'll be looking for your cookbook recommendations in future threads-- we need a few recommendations of baking cookbooks for December, as a matter of fact (look for a thread coming your way soon).

                                  ETA: I just checked Marcella's recipe, and I think the major differences in flavor are the fennel and marjoram that Stevens uses (which I prefer). But for me, the key was the tenderness of the meat-- Molly's instructions are to start the braising at 300 degrees, then check after 15 minutes and lower the heat if the pot is bubbling too agressively. Marcella sets the braise at 350. On my oven, I had to lower the temp another 10 degrees. That and the parchment probably contributed to the improved results for me-- but I wouldn't discount the new pot (a beautiful azure 5.5 round LC dutch oven), either. Before I've always used stainless steel pots for braises. I think the enameled cast iron makes a big difference. Let me know if you try it and see any differences!

                                  1. re: redwood2bay

                                    I'd be happy to help in any way I can. Drop me a note at joanATspotted-drum.com.

                                    1. re: redwood2bay

                                      I have used both and there is a difference in the braise since I think the LC or my brand new Mario Batalli Casserole keep the heat more even and therefore the braise more consistant so that it is evenly done.

                                  2. re: redwood2bay

                                    This sounds great. The short ribs are on my list, I just can't seem to get my act together for them. Did you salt them a couple of days in advance? It's those steps that prevent me from making a dish like this. I'm a little more last minute than that.

                                    1. re: redwood2bay

                                      Osso Buco alla Milanese (page 321)

                                      I made this with cross cut veal shanks I had bought at Costco. As Stevens says in her intro, this is pretty much the classic recipe with a few tweaks on her part. She adds chopped fennel to the aromatics of onion, celery, and carrot and also adds a bit of orange zest to the braising liquid. I followed her directions to the letter, using the suggested alternates of dried marjoram instead of fresh, dry white vermouth instead of white wine, and homemade chicken stock instead of veal stock. I also used chopped Pomi tomatoes, a brand choice influenced by Rick Moonen in “Fish Without a Doubt.” The tomatoes seem fresher tasting to me than most of the brands of canned chopped tomatoes and the ratio of tomato to juice is in favor of the tomato.

                                      It’s been quite some time since I made Osso Buco, and I’m not at home with access to my books and notes, but my recollection is of sprinkling gremolata on the chops just before serving them. Stevens, instead, has you sprinkle half the gremolata on the chops, return the veal to the oven, and cook it uncovered for another 15 minutes “to caramelize it some.” Then, before serving, you sprinkle the chops with the remaining gremolata and spoon some sauce over it. I really liked this double hit of gremolata, especially since I’d made it with Meyer lemon zest, using somewhat more zest proportionately than what she calls for.

                                      Yet another winner from this book. Only about half an hour into the two-hour braising, my brother started commenting on how great it smelled. By the time I was ready to serve dinner, the cooking odors had made him so hungry he was practically pawing at the oven door.

                                      I served it, as she suggests, with Risotto Milanese (page 325) which I’m too lazy to report on separately. I also made this as directed using Arborio rice, dry vermouth, and homemade chicken stock but without the saffron since I didn’t have any. Stevens’s directions for making risotto are more detailed than any I recall having read, as are her recipes in general. She says, “as the rice gets closer and closer to being done, you want to add less and less stock.” I’m afraid I have a tendency to rush risotto at the end in my eagerness to get it on the table. This time I did as told and the result was just about the best risotto I ever made.

                                      My brother, who is an enthusiastic but not particularly hearty eater, had seconds of both the veal and the risotto. A meal that the recipes say will serve four to six served two, with only one lonely veal shank left over.

                                    2. My Braising book finally arrived today from Amazon - can't wait to try a receipe or two - ribs in Porter ale is a top contender.

                                      1. Tried the Grillades & Grits tonight. It is not quite cold enough here in Southern Cali to do a full blown 3 hour braising type of thing.. won't be until December probably. although it threatened to rain this weekend once or twice.

                                        Directions were excellent, and the timing worked out just fine. I used peanut oil as I don't save bacon drippings.. though I can really see the difference that would make. I used chuck steaks for the meat, they were really wide so I halved lenghtwise and then cut into strips before pounding.

                                        When I added the additional oil and the flour I realy thought the roux was way too oily but it turned out very nice. I would add more than the 1/4 teaspoon cayenne next time.

                                        I used quick grits not instant but I still don't think they were the kind she intended - they were done in about 15 minutes or so cooked slowly rather than the 30 minutes. But, as that was my choice in a predominantly spanish-speaking culture part of the world... no fancy shmancy stone ground artisanal grits to be found : (

                                        Overall a "keeper", pronounced my 8 year old.

                                        Didn't take a photo and now it is all a memory... yummmy

                                        3 Replies
                                        1. re: ErikaK

                                          Grillade and Grits (pg. 225)

                                          I had some top round from the CSA and it's been constant grey here in NE, which made this the perfect dish for a rainy night. Overall, the flavor was excellent, much better than I anticipated and well worth the PIA pounding of the meat.

                                          Where I went wrong was that my steaks were an inch thick. I should have sliced them in half so that I could pound them down to 1/4 inch (per Stevens' directions). Since I missed that point, my meat was probably a hair tougher then it should have been.

                                          But, the sauce/gravy, more then made up for it. I used leftover pork belly drippings as well as peanut oil. After browning the meat, make a roux out of the drippings. Then add onion, celery and green peppers (I'm not a green pepper fan and neither is Stevens, she notes this dish brings out the best of that veggie and she's right).

                                          After the veggies are softened, add paprika, cayenne, thyme, tomato paste, garlic and stock. There doesn't seem to be enough liquid (only 1 cup) but it did the trick. Re-add the meat and simmer for about an hour. Serve over grits (fairly standard cooking method).

                                          The result, this creamy, salty, and smooth dish. The contrasts in flavors were just wonderful and I carefully sliced my meat and scooped up the veggies and grits all in one bite.

                                          No pic because I forgot. But, it's kind of a brownish, reddish, gloppy dish with sliced pieces of meat in it.

                                          1. re: ErikaK

                                            Grillade and Grits (pg. 225)
                                            Followed directions except for a few tweaks -- hand sliced my chuck roast and found it near impossible to get it pounded to a half inch thick so mine were probably thicker. Also subbed red pepper flakes for the cayenne and used instant grits. Oh, and I wound up needing 2 tb more of flour for the roux than called for.
                                            The flavor was spectacular. Rich and perfect for winter weather. The meat was not as tender as I hoped, and I'm not sure why. The only thing I can think was that it wasn't pounded thin enough but still...would that have made such a HUGE difference? I still pounded it as thin as possible and made sure that after the initial sear the temperature never got beyond a simmer.

                                            Both dh and I thought it would be better with some leftover roast or even short ribs...

                                            All in all I'd make it again, just not sure if I'd use a chuck roast next time.

                                            1. re: isadorasmama

                                              Thanks! I just got this book, and I have to say it's been a long time since I've had a cookbook that made me want to start at the beginning and cook my way through!

                                          2. I am on the glazed short ribs in Porter Ale bandwagon. I made these and had them yesterday. I salted and kept in the fridge for two days then made them following closely Mollie Steven's instructions, which are very precise. I made the ribs up to the point of the ribs in their new pan, the sauce skimmed and reduced and the glaze made except for the addition of the horse raddish. The next day I went to some friends with my meal. Her husband is disabled by a stroke and I often bring a meal over. I warmed the ribs in a 300 oven (covered with foil) warmed up the sauce, and glaze and added horse raddish. Then glazed and put under broiler. I served it with the braised green cabbage and chiabatta bread. What can I say--we all had clean plates. It is lucious, sort of like a beef candy. I will definitely make it again. I used the flanken type short ribs, which are thinner, but next time I might try the thicker style ribs. What type of short ribs did others use?

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

                                              I made these ribs last night. Mmmm mmmm good.
                                              The house smelled amazing all through the cooking process, a definite added bonus to braising that goes on for a couple of hours. I used the English style ribs – cured them with salt in the fridge for two days. I made 6 ribs in total. The two largest ones were a little high on the fat content but the smaller ones did not have the visible layer of fat. Perhaps using the flatter Flanken style ones would be leaner for those that prefer. I would make this again using more of the smaller English style ribs.

                                              The meat fell off the bone and was full of marvelous flavor. The glaze on top was a nice touch – I would bruise the rosemary more to extract more flavor next time.

                                              All in all this was a terrific recipe and very easy to make.

                                              1. Veal with Almonds, Raisins, and Sweet Marsala (p. 307)

                                                The recipe calls for a 3-4 lb boneless veal roast. I had 2 lbs of veal cut up for stew in the freezer, so that’s what I used, and adjusted the recipe accordingly. Marinated overnight with rosemary, garlic, salt and pepper, and red pepper flakes. The veal is cooked with onions and garlic, raisins, chicken stock, sweet marsala, and slivered almonds. Cover, and braise in the oven until tender. Remove veal (this would have been easier with a roast), and puree the liquid in a blender. The veal was meltingly tender with a great balance of flavors, and the suggested addition of a little lemon juice really brightened it up. The veal stew would have been good over egg noodles, and I think it would’ve plated even nicer with slices of veal roast. I served it with leeks braised with bacon and thyme.


                                                1. Polpettone (Giant Veal and Ricotta Meatballs) Braised in Tomato Sauce (p. 331)

                                                  I thought these were delicious, tender and juicy. I made them yesterday, and re-heated for dinner tonight for about 25 minutes at 300. The recipe calls for first making the braising sauce - onion, celery, garlic sauteed in butter, with chicken stock and tomato juice. Form meatballs with fresh bread crumbs soaked in buttermilk, whole-milk ricotta, parmesan, parsley, egg, and ground veal. Then simply braise the meatballs in the sauce at a simmer for about 35 minutes, turning once. I thought they might be bland, but the flavor of the cheeses came through, and the homemade chicken stock and butter in the sauce added richness. I did add a little bit of tomato paste, and upped the seasonings as I used 2+ lbs of ground veal instead of 1-1/2. I'm hoping it freezes well.


                                                  11 Replies
                                                  1. re: Rubee

                                                    This looks delicious and has been on my "to make" list since the beginning. I probably won't get to it until next month though, but now I have even more incentive.

                                                    1. re: beetlebug

                                                      Just an update on this. Last week I defrosted the meatballs for a quick dinner, and they were delicious. I was in the mood for a creamier tomato sauce instead of the brothy braising sauce, so added a little bit of Mexican crema since I had it, and a little light cream. Threw everything in a covered braiser in the oven for about 20 minutes at 350. Then removed the meatballs and reduced the sauce a bit. YUM. My husband requested that I keep a batch in the freezer at all times now. Definite keeper.

                                                    2. re: Rubee

                                                      I made these earlier this week. Not much to add to Rubee's post, other than these were so easy to make. Also, unbelievably delicious. These meatballs just melted in my mouth.

                                                      1. re: Rubee

                                                        I’ve wanted to make these veal meatballs ever since Rubee and beetlebug first posted about them. I thought I had my chance when my grandson was coming to visit last October. I bought the ingredients, then never got around to it. The veal has been in the freezer ever since. And did you know that the shelf life of unopened tomato juice is forever?

                                                        Even after reading their reviews it was hard for me to believe how extraordinarily light and delicate these were. It might seem as though braised meatballs should be a cold-weather dish, but I wouldn’t hesitate to make these again in late spring or early fall. These are going to be a real treat to have in the freezer.

                                                        Just fyi, I ended up with 10 meatballs instead of 12 although I used a heaping 1/3 cup measure as directed. Didn’t seem to matter, though, as far as timing was concerned. Delicious, indeed.

                                                        1. re: JoanN

                                                          That looks delicious, Joan. My family would gobble that up in about 5 seconds. I have trouble with tomato sauce (it repeats on me) but I LOVE it. Wonder if I could just make it for them and not feel incredibly sad if I couldn't eat it. :)

                                                          1. re: isadorasmama

                                                            As Rubee describes it, it's really a very light, brothy sauce since it's made half and half with tomato juice and stock. Don't know how sensitive you are to tomatoes, but this might not be quite as bad as a traditional Italian sauce would be. But even if you couldn't have the sauce, couldn't you just have the meatballs? They're really, really good, and not very much work.

                                                          2. re: JoanN

                                                            Polpettone Braised in Tomato Sauce (Giant Veal & Ricotta Meatballs Braised in Tomato Sauce) – p. 331

                                                            Our turn to give these a try tonight and our expectations were high based on the positive reviews and beautiful photos above! Needless to say, this recipe did not disappoint. The meatballs are super-tender, light and subtly flavoured. Likewise the tomato juice/chicken stock sauce is also light and, gently infused w onion and garlic w a hint of sweetness from the celery. If I were to change anything in the future, I would add some more garlic to the sauce and put a little in the meatballs as well but that’s just for our tastes. So glad we gave this a try and, can’t wait to explore this book further.

                                                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                Thanks Linda, I think what's pretty amazing about these is the short amount of time it takes to pull such a great dish together. The end result would have you think they'd required a day's worth of effort!

                                                              2. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                Polpettone Braised in Tomato Sauce (Giant Veal & Ricotta Meatballs Braised in Tomato Sauce) – p. 331 (great photos)
                                                                I made these today with ground turkey instead of veal. Love them. I was wondering about if garlic would be good (I made two recipes today without garlic maybe I'm just jonsing, because this was great as is).
                                                                I really liked that these were poached not fried.

                                                                1. re: mscoffee1

                                                                  So glad these turned out for you mscoffee1 and thanks for the reminder of how good they were. I'll have to make them again real soon!

                                                          3. It looks like a lot of people have made the short ribs with porter. I made the other short ribs recipe once, with wine and porcini mushrooms. It was very good, and I'm thinking of making it again this weekend. I'm curious, has anyone made both short ribs recipes? And if so do you prefer one over the other?

                                                            5 Replies
                                                            1. re: NYCkaren

                                                              I'm making the Red Wine-Braised Short Ribs with Rosemary and Porcini today...the house smells very good! I used half a 28-oz. can of Muir Glen fire-roasted whole tomatoes chopped up and, unfortunately, I didn't realize I didn't have allspice berries when I made the marinade last night. I *thought* about adding a pinch of ground allspice, but thought I'd better do without the first go-round instead of perhaps overpowering the ribs with the allspice.

                                                              The recipe with porter ale and maple syrup is definitely on my to-make list!

                                                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                Well, the house smelled better than the the ribs ended up tasting. They were good, just not *WOW!* good. I don't think it was because the allspice berries weren't in the spice sachet; I just don't think this recipe is as good as I think the other braised short ribs in her cookbook might be (and based on reviews here!) are definitely more to my taste. But I won't throw away the leftovers of the red wine/porcini short ribs, that's for sure!

                                                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                  Linda, thank you for sharing. I have short ribs for nextweek and wondered which one. Sorry to hear that the red wine braise did not do a trick. Sometimes, very small amount of herb makes big difference. Also, braising dish tastes almost always better a day later. So let's see how you feel tomorrow with the leftover:)

                                                                  Another thing, Molley's recipe instructs to marinade the "fresh/raw" meat with cooked aromatics(vegis and hearbs) and let it sit; then brown meat and braise. On the other hand, Martha Stewart recipe instructs to marinade "Browned" meat with cooked aromatics and leave it overnight, then braise. I do not know which way is better but I made martha's recipe a couple of times in the past and it is really great - almost fail proof. That was why I was a bit hesitant to try the wine braised recipe in this book.

                                                                  I guess the difference of the process makes difference in flavor... I went to MS web site and looked for the specific recipe I am talking about, but I cannot find it at her website. There are a couple of wine braised short-ribs recipes there but they are not the one I mentioned. I have it here in the "Martha Stewart's Cooking School" book. If you are interested, you can check it at your local library or Barns and Noble:) We love this one in page 188!

                                                                  1. re: hobbybaker

                                                                    Yes, I will be looking forward to seeing how they taste tomorrow. There wasn't a lot of liquid left but enough to work with the onions and the beef.

                                                              2. re: NYCkaren

                                                                I made the Rosemary and Porcini short ribs for dinner last night, and on the whole, I was pleased with the recipe. I found the instructions easy enough to follow (though I used the broiler method for browning the short ribs and found flipping back and forth between the main recipe and the alternate to be a bit confusing) and I liked the result. I undersalted it a bit, but that was my fault, not the recipe's as the recipe clearly states that you're supposed to taste the sauce for salt and pepper in the last step, and I did not.

                                                                If I had a complaint it would be that then end result really had no discernible porcininess about it. There aren't that many mushrooms in the dish, and they pretty much vanish into the sauce. It's still good, but when a recipe mentions mushrooms in the title, I'd like it to actually taste like mushrooms.

                                                              3. Zinfandel Pot Roast with Glazed Carrots and Fresh Sage, pg 264

                                                                I had a small dinner party last night and had bought a piece of organic rolled brisket from the famer's market and was looking for something to do with it. First of all, Mr GG was NOT happy when I told him we were having brisket for dinner - too many memories of badly cooked brisket from his childhood, I think!

                                                                Anyway, it was a choice between this recipe (which actually calls for chuck roast, but I reckoned I could substitute brisket, and a Goin recipe for brisket. I plumped for this one because it was less work, and because I didn't have time to marinate and braise ahead, as Goin suggests.

                                                                Stevens says this is a dinner party pot roast, and my guests certainly loved it. I used a robust French red instead of Zinfandel, because that's what we had, and a good quality beef stock. The method is similar to most braised beef dishes - you brown the meat first, then add aromatics (onion, carrot, celery, garlic), herbs (sage and parsley and peppercorns) and the liquid (wine and beef stock). Cover with parchment paper and a lid and braise for three hours. Easy peasy.

                                                                What makes this a nice dish for company is the garnish. You cut a pound and a half of carrots into batons and cook in butter and oil unti nicely glazed. Then add half a cup of the degreased cooking liquid from the braise and simmer until tender. Add vinegar, sugar, sage and parseley and cook until the liquid is reduced to a glaze. This gave very tasty, nicely cooked carrots. I sliced the meat and arranged it on a platter with the carrots, which looked pretty.

                                                                For the sauce, simply remove the fat from the braising liquid, and boil for a few minutes to concentrate the flavour.

                                                                I served this with a potato and parsnip puree from Sunday Suppers. People raved, even Mr GG the brisket-averse. The meat was fork tender, and had a lovely depth of flavour. The accompanying gravy had nicely balanced flavours. The carrots were gorgeous, and the flavour of the sage and parsley really came through. I liked this a lot, and it's great for dinner parties because a lot of the work can be done ahead. It was also very weather-appropriate, as it was blowing a storm here last night. Oh, and my roof sprung a leak - but that's another story!

                                                                3 Replies
                                                                1. re: greedygirl

                                                                  Zinfandel Pot Roast with Glazed Carrots and Fresh Sage, pg 264

                                                                  I'm making this right now for tomorrow night's dinner. My piece of brisket is only a bit over a lb. (Steven's brisket is 3-4 lbs).

                                                                  Any suggestions as to how to re-heat the brisket for dinner tomorrow night? The liquid is going to be used for the carrots and there isn't much to begin with. I may add more liquids in to the pot during the braise itself.

                                                                  1. re: beetlebug

                                                                    In the brisket recipe on the next page, she says to reheat it in the braising liquid. I had plenty of liquid, using the amounts stated in the recipe. Maybe add a bit of water, or more stock? (You only need half a cup for the carrots.)

                                                                    1. re: greedygirl

                                                                      Zinfandel Pot Roast with Glazed Carrots and Fresh Sage, pg 264

                                                                      It is a very stright foward recipe. I used smaller 2 LB chuck roast so adjusted other ingredience. I did not have any fresh sage handy so used dried. I also made grazed carrot, too.

                                                                      We definitely like it. I especially like the carrot but will reduce fat (butter) a bit next time.

                                                                      Overall, simple recipe and great result. Keeper recipe for a pot roast.

                                                                2. Bisteces Rancheros, from pg. 222

                                                                  This was my first recipe from the book and I was very excited to give it a go. I made such I enough time for braising on a Sunday afternoon and I stopped by Whole Foods to get a chuck roast. Overall I thought it was fairly easy, not a lot of prep, roasting the chiles, browning the onions, adding tomatoes and potatoes to the beef and braising the oven for an hour and a half.

                                                                  The end result was very good but not amazing. The blend of spices and flavors were delicious but it was the meat that I was not thrilled about. My boyfriend thought it was stringy and he "doesn't like that kind of meat." I suppose that texture is somewhat to be expected with chuck but perhaps I was expecting something miraculous to happen while it was in the oven. Overall I liked the flavors and would make it again but perhaps with a different cut of beef.

                                                                  1. Sauerbraten, p. 282

                                                                    Am I really the first to make sauerbraten? Or at least the first to report on it, I guess. Well, it was great, and I will gladly follow this recipe again. I like an assertively sour flavor, which this one had (many restaurant versions are too mild, imho).

                                                                    I used two slightly smaller roasts instead of 1 large one, which worked out fine, giving lots of surface area to marinade, though I did need to brown them separately, so that took a little more time. I was generous with the spices, and I gave it 4 days to marinate instead of just 2-3, because I was serving it on the 26th, so it was easier to get it started earlier. I turned them once a day.

                                                                    The meat was tender (although I think the extra day of marinating may have detracted a bit from the texture, because there were occasional chalky bits), and the gravy was nicely sour, the way I like it. I only put sour cream in half of the gravy, partly because I suspected I would prefer it without (she claims it adds a rich tang, but I thought it mellowed it instead) and also because we had a lactose intolerant person eating. Most everyone else liked the sour cream version, and my dad was surprised to hear that there were sauerbraten recipes that DIDN'T call for sour cream.

                                                                    I served it with red cabbage (my recipe, not hers, although not that different) and homemade spaetzle (which worked out in the end, but what a mess! I tripled my usual recipe and I think my eggs were too big, so tripling them made the dough WAY too runny).

                                                                    1. One of the best decisions I ever made was getting All About Braising for a Christmas gift for my SO a few years ago. He's started doing more and more of our cooking and everything out of this book has been great. He makes the asian chicken thighes and a pot roast, but one of the best things he makes is the beef birds. It looks like noone has reviewed that recipe yet.

                                                                      It is a good amount of work - but oh so so good! You take top round or flank steak cut into strips and pounded. Then fill with a mixture of bread crumbs, pinenuts, parmesan, golden raisins, prosciutto, parsley, mint and nutmeg. Roll up and tie with string. Then braise in a mixture of tomatoes, onion, carrots, thyme, bay leaves and parsley. We serve it with some rustic noodles to sop up the incredible juices.

                                                                      It is a good amount of work. So we make a bunch and then freeze them. They are great reheated too.

                                                                      All those great flavors meld together, the prosciutto, the raisins, the tomato, the pinenuts, the herbs. Sensational. We've been having it for New Years Eve the last few years. This Eve looks busy for him, but this weekend or next for sure it's on our docket. I commend this recipe to you!

                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                      1. re: karykat

                                                                        Just a quick note about the beef birds. My SO made this last week to bring to a friend's for a special dinner. We were mixed up about the day we were invited, so he accidentally made it a day ahead. So we just reheated it the next day. And I think it was even better done that way. The flavors meld when it sits for a day.

                                                                        When we make this again, we'll plan to make it a day ahead and then just reheat.

                                                                      2. Yankee Pot Roast Redux, p. 251

                                                                        Made this last week, I think. Something like that. My mind is a sieve since our whole family got slammed with head colds.

                                                                        My first attempt at tying meat was a big FAIL. It looked ridiculous and clearly I need to find an online tutorial. That said, it held the meat together so no harm no foul, or whatever the cliché is.

                                                                        I had a beautiful piece of meat -- the recommended top blade roast. I made a few modifications....added parsnips and Sauvignon Blanc rather than cider.

                                                                        As I mentioned in another review from this book I found it super hard to keep the braise at a simmer. My oven/stove is either a ferocious boil or nothing it all. No in between. Didn't seem to matter. Everything was tender and flavorful. The tying kept the meat from turning into a dodgy mess.

                                                                        I ADORE pot roast. It warms me to the bone. So, yes....this was good. Very good. But mind blowing, no. As is the case for most braises, this was better the next day and even better still the following day. The taste was subtle and the Sauvignon Blanc simply highlighted the natural flavors of the meat and vegetables rather than overwhelming like a red wine might have.

                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                        1. re: isadorasmama

                                                                          Made last knight. It was fine. Nothing very spectacular, but better than the one I made before based on the recipe downloaded at "Fincooking.com". I totally love the tast of parsinip (Yam) and potatos and now thinking about braising parsinip only using the leftover liquid. I used 2.8 LB chuck roast, a bit smaller than her recipe says but adjusted cookingtime accordingly. Surprisingly, the meat and all the vegis perfectly fit to my 3.5 qt round LC. I was so glad as my 3.5 qt was not that often used for braising a chunk of meat as the pot is a bit small although it is useful for Noknead bread.

                                                                          1. re: isadorasmama

                                                                            Yankee Pot Roast Redux
                                                                            I thought this was great, but I did make it with the hard cider. I think it made a significant difference. The taste was lighter than with the red wine I usually use. It also had a slight sweetness that was really nice. I used chuck roast about 1.5 inches thick and did not tie it. I only had potatoes and carrots. I have an induction stove and so it is much easier than it used to be to braise.

                                                                          2. Breast of Veal Braised with Garlic, Parsley & lemon (Page 313)
                                                                            First time to cook Breast of Veal (3.3 LB). It fits perfectly to my 6.5 qt Oval LC and 6.0 qt All-Clad stockpot. This time I used All-Clad 6.0qt because I was lazy and do not want to use a big skillet to brown meat separately and I did everything with this stockpot. (one messy pot less! ) Also, as this stockpot has a simlar shape to a Rondeau pot, I want to use it for braising.

                                                                            Worket out beautifully. Nice browning. Since this cut is very fatty, I think good browning is a key for a success. The recipe are simple and ingredience needed is very simple. 2.0 hour braising is a bit long but I made a potato and leek braising in the same book at the same time, so that is fine. After braising, the lid was removed and 30 minutes grilling follows.

                                                                            Taste delicious and flavorful, but very fatty. In this sense, lemon zest works very well to neutralize the fat. As a side dish, maybe simple mashed potato or simple steamed/boiled vegitables are better, not potato gratins, etc, as this cut has a lot of fat. I will make it probably again as Breast of veal is sometimes very affordable and this recipe is very simple.

                                                                            6 Replies
                                                                            1. re: hobbybaker

                                                                              So glad you posted about this. It's a dish I've been meaning to try. Sounds as though it needs to rest overnight in the fridge to be able to remove some of the fat more easily. Do you think that might have helped?

                                                                              1. re: JoanN

                                                                                Hi, Joan - Resting overnaight in the fridge helps remove some fat? This technique is new to me. I want to know more of that. Could you tell me when/what to do? All I can think about to remove fat is trim it away at the beginning or after the dish is done.
                                                                                I bought 3.3 pound but we ate only a half last night and will finish the leftover today as the cut is really rich.

                                                                                1. re: hobbybaker

                                                                                  I don't have the book here so I can't speak to the specifics of that particular recipe. But nearly all braises benefit from overnight refrigeration since the flavor of the meat intensifies from having sat in the cooked braising liquid an additional 12 to 24 hours. In addition, the fat in the sauce rises to the top of the pot and solidifies, making it much easier to remove.

                                                                                  Since the leftovers have now been sitting at least overnight in the fridge, you should see quite a bit of congealed fat on top that is easy to remove with a spoon. I'll bet the flavor of the dish will have improved somewhat as well. I'll be curious to hear whether or not you think so.

                                                                                  1. re: JoanN

                                                                                    Now I understand what you meant. The fat was on top and become solid (white) and very easy to get rid of. As you mentioned, the flavor improved, too. Tasted better than last night! DH also agreed. Next time I make it, I will let it stand overnight. Also, I forgot to mention it yesterday but I used a red bojolais neuvou instead of white wine because I was running out of it. Thank you for your insight. I bet you'll like this dish.

                                                                              2. re: hobbybaker

                                                                                Breast of Veal Braised with Garlic, Parsley & Lemon (Page 313)

                                                                                Made this day before yesterday to serve last night. With hobbybaker’s report very much in mind, here were my minor emendations to the recipe to try to cut down on some of the fat.

                                                                                After the last half hour of uncovered braising, and after resting the veal long enough to be able to handle it, I removed the bones and gristle as directed. It was easy to see that there was still quite a bit of fat on the meat, so while I was slicing/chunking the meat, I sliced/scraped off as much fat as possible. Meanwhile, I had put the sauce in a glass measuring cup in the fridge to solidify the fat. Within a couple of hours I could easily scrape all the fat off the sauce and then poured the remaining sauce over the meat and refrigerated it overnight.

                                                                                Last night I heated it up in a 350 degree oven for about 25 minutes and served it over Dutch egg noodles, since that’s what was in the house and the snow was a serious deterrent to shopping.

                                                                                Really good. And not at all fatty. Fresh flavors, with all that lemon zest, but still heady with garlic. It helped, I am sure, that having sent my brother on the meat-buying errand, he chose a Kosher butcher and paid $10/lb for it. So much for what is supposed to be a cheap cut. But it was a beautiful hunk of meat.

                                                                                Two quibbles: First, the dish was too salty for me (brother said I was just being a perfectionist; guilty as charged) which is odd since I used homemade stock with no added salt. The only salt in the dish was the coarse sea salt I mixed with the garlic to make a paste. Guess I used too much, but it certainly didn’t seem so at the time. Could it possibly have been the kosher meat? Second, the recipe calls for a 3 to 4 lb bone-in breast of veal to serve 4 to 6. Mine was 3-1/2 lbs and it would have been stretching a bit to try to serve 3. When I make a dish like this, it is with the intention of freezing leftovers. Would have liked to have had enough for a dinner for two, not lunch for one. Will have to adjust next time.

                                                                                1. re: hobbybaker

                                                                                  My veal breast is just in the oven. I made it once before last year, and we liked it very well, but I forgot to make notes about what flavors/sides etc. Am thinking of serving it with simply cooked home-made noodles. A mistake?

                                                                                  Also for veg, something bitter like a chicory/endive, or something sweetish like snap peas?

                                                                                  Advice welcome!

                                                                                2. Pot Roast Brisket with Rhubarb and Honey (used alternative apple suggestion) pg 267

                                                                                  Last weekend I made Braised beef short ribs with potato purée, Swiss chard and horseradish cream from Sunday Suppers at Lucques: Seasonal Recipes From Market to Table by Suzanne Goin and Teri Gelber pg 301. Disappointed. 6 short ribs, 1 1/2 c port, 2 1/2 c red wine, 6 c stock. Braised for 3 hours....too much liquid...thin and weak tasting.
                                                                                  So, not to be deterred, bought the Mollie Stevens book and attempted the brisket pot roast...4 lbs brisket 3/4 c wine and 1 c home made veal stock. 3 hours at 300....no liquid....great flavor.

                                                                                  Is there a proper meat/stock ratio? What am I doing wrong?

                                                                                  8 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: ldubois2

                                                                                    I had the exact opposite experience! Was ho hum on Molly Stevens short ribs but was blown away by the recipe from Suzanne Goin.
                                                                                    Did you serve them the same night as you cooked them or did you let them sit overnight?

                                                                                    I have always thought that the All About Braising recipes don't call for enough liquid for an adequate amount of sauce. I think the issue might be that you do want too much liquid in a braise -- just enough to cover the meat half way up. I've found that there are recipes in this book that don't even use that much liquid...sometimes it's more like a puddle under the protein rather than half way up the sides. If you like a lot of sauce to go along with your meat, you might want to play around with ratios and just use the book as a guide rather than a hard and fast rule. Maybe double up whatever the combination of liquids she calls for? I don't know. I'm interested in hearing other ideas because I've had the same issue!

                                                                                    1. re: isadorasmama

                                                                                      I've never had any liquid issues with either book. I find that Stevens is incredibly exacting in her measurements and timing. If there isn't enough liquid, maybe your pan is too large? I had that issue once when I used too large of a pot.

                                                                                      1. re: beetlebug

                                                                                        Could be pot size. I have a 6 qt LC dutch oven and a 5 qt braiser. Those are the only two I've been using for her recipes.

                                                                                        1. re: isadorasmama

                                                                                          Your pot sizes may be too big. With most of her recipes, I've used a 4.5 quart LC or something smaller. I think she lists the pot size and type for each recipe.

                                                                                          1. re: beetlebug

                                                                                            Well then I might be screwed for the time being since more LC or other gear is not in the budget. Unless I get lucky and find some for super cheap at HomeGoods, looks like I need to reconfigure the ratios.

                                                                                            1. re: isadorasmama

                                                                                              I only have one LC (the 4.5 quart). I just make do with my regular stainless steel cookware (the stuff I bought 20 years ago) since I have more sizes to choose from.

                                                                                              ETA: most of Steven's recipes, I use either the 4.5 LC or a 12 inch skillet (the sides go up about 3"). There is nothing special about this skillet other than it's the size that she calls for in the recipes.

                                                                                    2. re: ldubois2

                                                                                      Really hard to believe you found Goin's Braised Beef Short Rib recipe disappointing. Quite a few of us have made it and most of us thought it was a great dish. You can see some of the reviews here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/3970... . Did you reduce the liquid after first adding it to the vegetables? Did you reduce the sauce as directed after removing the ribs and straining the vegetables? Even if the braising liquid had been thin and weak during the braising (which mine most definitely was not), reducing it should have concentrated the flavor considerably.

                                                                                      In the introduction to her book, Stevens says the liquid should come "less than one third of the way up the sides of the main ingredients." She says that might not look like much, but that foods release moisture as they simmer, adding their own juices to the pot. But if you follow the comments in the link above, you'll see that one of the posters actually called the restaurant to ask for advice regarding the Goin recipe and was told that the liquid should almost cover the meat.

                                                                                      I guess the answer is that if you want a rule, go with Stevens. But when I've had as much success with a book as I have with Sunday Suppers at Lucques, I'll try the directions as written first before making my own adjustments. Since you didn't care for it her way, maybe you try reducing the liquid by half next time.

                                                                                      1. re: JoanN

                                                                                        Goin's recipe....the flavor of the meat was wonderful and the ribs looked great until I placed them in the oven at 400 as suggested (10 Min). At that point the shriveled up .....not pretty, but still tasty. I did reduce after the vegetables and again after I took them out of the oven. Used a skillet (stainless) for the ribs....plastic wrap and foil as suggested. There was just enough room for them to fit "comfortably". The liquid clearly was greater than 1/3 as Stevens would have suggested and may have covered them....need to remember to take pics.

                                                                                        The Mollie Stevens brisket was wonderful....just no liquid in the sauce. I believe the braising pan, LC 2.25 qt, was the correct size for the meat. I made one error and that was adding all the apples at once rather than 50/50. I am not sure that would matter with the amount of liquid in the sauce.

                                                                                        I am going to try the short ribs from Goin again in two weeks....cooking for vegetarians next weekend. I made it because of the reviews you mention JoanN. Will re-read before I attempt again.

                                                                                    3. So glad to see this thread. I gave my oldest this cookbook, his first one since he'll be going to college. I'm sure he won't use it right away but if he never learns any other method I thought he might appreciate this for a lifetime. Also preparing my own "tastebook" for him, an easy-peasy one. We'll be picking out a dish to make next week from the braising cookbook since I'm trying to train him a little in the kitchen before he goes.

                                                                                      1. I'd forgotten about this thread and ended up picking the bisteces rancheros. I kinda wish that I had reread this, because I would have liked to report back on a dish that hadn't been tried.

                                                                                        I won't be making this one again. It was definitely more than okay, but I think this recipe reads better than it tastes. I love dishes that are well spiced and well seasoned, but not dishes that are overpowered by certain flavors.

                                                                                        I wish I could agree on this one but will keep trying, I'm thinking of doing the cauliflower that looks very nice. The veal with the almonds and raisins sounds good too, but I'll go with something that hasn't been tried yet.

                                                                                        1. Veal Shanks Braised with Honey & Rosemary, p. 327

                                                                                          I'm astonished that no one has reported on this dish yet, in either the original or revisted periods. So I made it tonight, and it was delicious!

                                                                                          Quick summary: Brown veal shanks & remove. Brown chopped onion, deglaze with 1 c. white wine and reduce. Add 2 c. veal/chicken stock, 2 tbsp honey, zest & juice of orange, zest of lemon, rosemary sprigs, 2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar. Braise at 300 w/parchment paper per usual, for 2 hrs. There's only 2 tbsp of honey and 2 tbsp of balsamic vinegar, but the flavor they added was wonderful.

                                                                                          She calls for a carrot & shallot garnish to be sauteed then added halfway through. I was out of carrots so I subbed chopped up golden beets instead. Then I lost the courage of my convictions and decided to mix the beets/scallions with kamut (like farro) as a side dish rather than adding it to the braise, and that worked quite well. For the braise, I instead added some leftover roasted fennel, which also worked very well indeed.

                                                                                          My only hesitation is that I'm so used to the robustness of lamb shanks that the veal shanks seemed a bit too delicate. I think this recipe could easily stand up to lamb shanks. In any case, we loved it, and I will happily make it again, veal or lamb.

                                                                                          1. Considering making the Veal Shanks with Gremolata recipe tomorrow here in Mexico City. I've made it before at home in Canada. My issues are:

                                                                                            I won't have a dutch oven, or anything else suitable of cooking this in the oven. I'd have to cook it on the stovetop, likely in a thin aluminium stock pot on a gas stove, with a diffuser of sorts. Possible? Conceivable?

                                                                                            Also my veal shanks won't be flat... They'd look like this: http://a2.img.mobypicture.com/d63972d...

                                                                                            Worth attempting or am I asking for trouble?

                                                                                            4 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: SocksManly

                                                                                              I think it’s doable if you proceed with caution. First, those shanks. They look lovely. My guess is that they are whole foreshanks rather than sliced hindshanks which is what you’re probably referring to when you call the veal pieces “flat.”

                                                                                              The real problem is going to be maintaining even heat distribution over a long time using a thin aluminum stock pot. You’re going to want to keep the liquid at a slow simmer, trying to avoid hot spots at the bottom of the pot. A diffuser sounds like a good idea. And although it’s not usually necessary when you braise in an oven, I’d turn the shanks regularly to make certain that they cook evenly. And of course the timing is going to be tricky. But then, braises always benefit from sitting overnight in the fridge so you might consider making them the day before so you have the flexibility of cooking them an hour or two longer than you may have originally anticipated in case that turns out to be necessary.

                                                                                              1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                Thanks! I'll see what kind of pot I can buy when I get to the other house. I bought 10 of those shanks at the market today... Guess how much? :)

                                                                                                Won't have fennel, but whatever.. Did find marjoram. I'll do my best to keep it at a stock pot style simmer, and see if I can find something suitable for the oven but I doubt it.

                                                                                                1. re: SocksManly

                                                                                                  I just returned from 10 weeks in a rental apartment in Guatemala so am fully cognizant of what it’s like trying to cook with unfamiliar equipment in an unfamiliar oven. My rental apartment had a Pyrex baking dish. Do you have something similar? Maybe you could cover that with foil to make it work as a substitute for a Dutch oven?

                                                                                                  1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                    Yes good point. They do have some pyrex but nothing close to large enough. Probably much like in Guatamala, it's very uncommon here to cook things inside an oven. In fact in their main house all of their ovens are just used as storage, rammed to the brim with flat stuff. I'm going to a Sams Club tomorrow so hopefully I can score something there, otherwise I'll have to try to find something else, and I'm sure all I'll find is a flimsy stock pot. I did find out cast iron is called "hierro fondida" here, so at least I can ask right.

                                                                                                    10 of those shanks like in the picture... $22. I'd be lucky to get 3 of those at home for that price.

                                                                                            2. Nonna's Braciole:

                                                                                              I have never had beef made this way and really liked the results in terms of texture and presentation. The stuffing didn't work for me. The mint and Prosciuto were overpowered by the beef. I think a spicier ham would work better and the addition of some garlic or I think substituting the beef with veal or chicken would highlight the filling as the recipe is written. The sauce OTOH was wonderful on pasta. I love this cookbook for technique, but sometimes the seasonings fall short, fortunately there are a lot of other sources to help adapt her recipes. I might make the leftover steak into sandwiches.

                                                                                              1. TOP BLADE STEAKS SMOTHERED IN MUSHROOMS & ONIONS
                                                                                                I love this dish and have made it several times and it tastes even better the next day. The recipe is on the web at several sites. I forgot to pound the steaks the last time I made this and I could tell, but it was still wonderful. The braising transforms these steaks and melts the connective tissue that runs down the center.
                                                                                                Steaks are pounded, seasoned, floured and browned. Then the mushrooms are browned and then the onions are cooked some with added paprika and thyme. Then sherry is added to onions and mushrooms added back. The steaks are tucked into the mixture and braised for about 1.5 hours. Beef is removed and cream added and sauce is boiled until thickened. A little lemon juice is added at the end with parsley. Rice is great with this.

                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: mscoffee1

                                                                                                  That sounds like a great winter dish. We love top blade, but usually in the summer on the grill. I'll have to look into this dish.

                                                                                                  1. re: qianning

                                                                                                    Yes, I have my braising groove on.