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All About Braising: Pork and Lamb Recipe Reviews

October 2006 Cookbook of the Month: Please post your full-length reviews of pork and lamb 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. Sirloin Pork Chops Braised with Hot Cherry Peppers (p. 344)

    This recipe turned out very good. I was skeptical because the boneless sirloin chop looked, well, a little lean, for my taste. Also, when I stuck a fork in it, the meat didn't fall apart and I was worried about the short braising time (about 40 minutes). But the meat was tender and flavorful.

    Part of why this recipe was so good was because of the sauce. I followed the recipe pretty closely. I started off with 1/4 lb of chorizo, chopped into little bits and then browned. I removed the chorizo, drained the fat and softened onions. Threw in garlic and then dry vermouth. I boiled to reduce the vermouth and added the white wine vinegar and chicken stock.

    After the aromatics, this is when I put in the seasoned pork chops. But the great part of this recipe comes from the pickled hot cherry peppers. I shredded the 3 peppers up (by hand over the pot) and added a few teaspoons of the pepper juice. What was also nice is that it gave the meal a bit of color. Everything else in this pork dish is a shade of brown or beige. The pork braised in these juices for about 45 minutes and the house smelled wonderful.

    After the braise, I removed the pork and thickened up the sauce. After the sauce thickened, I threw the chorizo back in and spooned the sauce over the pork.

    I served this with braised potatoes with rosemary and a salad.

    Picture of meal:


    5 Replies
    1. re: beetlebug

      That looks and sounds fantastic. How spicy did it end up? How do you shred the cherry peppers by hand? Do you just break them up, or did you actually use some kind of grater?

      1. re: BKchompchomp

        Not that spicy. But, I can eat a lot of spice with little or no effect. These were homemade pickled peppers and I had de-seeded them prior to pickling. Next time, I will either use more cherry peppers or mix it up with habaneros and jalapenos.

        I ripped the peppers with my fingers. The pieces were not as small as I would have liked, but whatever.

      2. re: beetlebug

        I love those chops - one of my favorite recipes from the book. Sometimes I use the boneless country style ribs instead of chops. I also like the variation she suggests where you add 2 tablespoons of heavy cream to the sauce. Great picture!

        1. re: beetlebug

          I made this tonight w/ local, humane loin chops. When I found pickled peppers in the store I knew which pork dish was for dinner!
          Interesting flavors -- the chorizo and pickled peppers -- and not alot of work or time. But it didn't work well for me -- the chops were tough. I pretty much followed the recipe -- used pickled jalapenos and banana pepper pieces from a jar, substituted red wine vinegar for the white ('cause I couldn't find or didn't have white), and added heavy cream at end, because well, that's what I call a sauce(!)
          Served w/ polenta and sauteed swiss chard, which worked well together.
          I'd recommend it to others to try -- and don't fear the peppers because it doesn't end up hot (particularly if you mellow it w/ cream), but you gotta like chorizo because that's evident in the taste and texture of the sauce (which I do). Funny, that while this dish didn't wow me, I feel increased confidence in Molly Stevens. She has very good techniques, and explains them well and nicely as to why she's saying you should do what she tells you to.

          1. re: NYchowcook

            Hmmm - that's too bad. This is one of my favorite recipes - I wonder if the changes in the ingredients (not using hot cherry peppers and a different wine vinegar) make that much of a difference? And interesting point about the chorizo. I've always used soppressata.

        2. Chengdu Braised Pork with Daikon Radish (pg. 371)

          I liked this but didn't love it. But, I did fiddle with it and make some minor substitutions. This had a great flavor and was tender, but it wasn't melt in your mouth tender. The surprising thing about this recipe was that it was braised with an *uncovered* pan. She stressed that twice under the braising instructions. To me, it's just counter intuitive to braising, having that skillet uncovered.

          Substitutions and caveats on my recipe

          Sichuan peppercorns - mine are about a year old. And, for personal preference, I should have used more than the 3T that was recommended. I did toast, grind and sift per the instructions.

          Hot Bean Paste - for some reason, I couldn't find this. For those Bostonians, I went to the Super 88 in Allston. All I saw was chili paste or variations thereof. Nothing with beans. The funny thing is that I could picture the bottle in my head. I must of seen it before or my mom must have some at home. At Whole Foods, I found bean paste (no hot). I had a great chinese chili paste at home. So, I took a 1/4 measuring cup. Filled most of it up with bean paste. Filled the last 1/4 inch with the chili paste. I should have gone more 50-50

          Chinese Rock Sugar - I did have this at home. Had no idea how much 2 oz. were, so I guestimated. I don't think I was too far off though. I used 2 one inch chunks.

          I cut the pork butt into 2 inch pieces per directions. This was much bigger than I thought so I took a ruler to test measure a couple of pieces. I was accurate, 2x2 pieces of meat are just big. They didn't shrink as much as I thought they would, either.

          After browning the meat, I poured the fat off. I added the chicken broth, brought it to a boil and scraped the gunk off the bottom. I added the scallions, sherry, bean paste mixture, sugar, soy sauce, garlic and sichuan peppercorns anda simmered until the sugar dissolved. I returned the pork back to the sauce and braised *uncovered* for 45 minutes. Then I added the daikon radish chunks and braised again *uncovered* for another hour.

          The house smelled wonderful. Just mouth watering wonderful.

          took the meat and radish out, and strained the sauce over the meat. There wasn't as much braising liquid as I would have liked, but there was enough. The dish went into the fridge overnight.

          Picture of the dish after strain:


          The next night, I pre-heated the oven to 350 degrees. I scraped the fat off the braising liquid. The directions in the book states that the re-heat time would be 20-30 minutes. That's bull. 20 minutes, the meat was still cold. I had it in the oven, covered with foil, for almost an hour. I served the dish with soft chinese egg noodles.

          The flavor of the dish was fabulous. The meat was tender and the daikon radish gave it a nice contrast. The meat had a subtle peppery flavor. At first, you wouldn't taste it, but some bites, the peppercorns came through. There weren't enough peppercorns in the dish to give it the ma la sensation that I was looking for. I also would have liked more sauce on my noodles though. But, I want a lot of sauce on my noodles period.

          I will probably re-heat this for dinner. My fear is that the noodles will dry out because they were a little dry to begin with. I don't know if I would make this dish again. I liked it, but didn't love it.

          Here is a picture of the final dish. The noodles are hiding underneath the meat.


          4 Replies
          1. re: beetlebug

            Even though you didn't love it - it looks so good, I'll have to try it. I'll try it with your modifications and tips though!

            1. re: Rubee

              Boy! It sure does look good! Do you think that if you'd covered it during the braising it would have had more of the melting tenderness you were hoping for?

              1. re: JoanN

                I think so. That cut of meat has all this lovely fat in it that would dissolve into the meat itself. And, I think I would have more liquid because it wouldn't be boiling away. I do wonder why she had this be an uncovered braise. I mean, the very definition in her book (pg. 3) says that it is a method of cooking in a *closed* container.

            2. re: beetlebug

              Whenever I've bought hot bean paste (and I usually buy it for ma po tofu), it comes in a little blue can in Asian supermarkets. Has a distinct flavor that isn't really like a chili paste.

              Even though you said you liked the dish but didn't love it, you sure made it sound appetizing.

            3. Braised lamb shanks provencal
              I’m actually not a big meat eater. Was a vegetarian for years before my husband came along 10 years ago. But there’s something about braised meat that strikes a cord in me. I never have a hankering for oh hamburgers, for instance. But the earthy bass note of braised meat – particularly beef chuck I find deeply satisfying.

              I have made lamb shanks before. Tomato-based braise; white wine tarragon braise. Sometimes I like them; other times they are just too ... well, gamey. Then I made Molly’s shanks. Wow. I’m here to encourage all who kinda like shanks to get on the bus and make Molly’s!

              I was skeptical because the braising liquid is well, not very out of the ordinary – a good amount of onions, tomatoes, garlic, white wine, chicken stock and lemon peel. She has you add a good amount of paprika to the flour in which you coat the shanks before you brown them. And she has you use the peel of an entire lemon. Before I’d used oh, maybe a 2" strip. But into the pot went the several lemon peel strips (I removed the pith underneath by running a paring knife across it. Easy as pie and I’m fanatical about no bitterness). I had fresh plum tomatoes so I used them – I readied the pot o’ water to peel them, but she didn’t say to, so I poured out the pot and merely chopped instead.

              With tomatoes, onions, garlic I wasn’t feeling all that confident that this dish would amount to much since it seemed so . . . ordinary. But I went along. I browned the shanks, made the braising liquid and braised. I made a day ahead (and made braised pork chops for dinner --quite a cooking day!), so I stopped after 2-1/2 hours to do the finish the next day (lemon, olives, parsley).
              Well, the next day I couldn’t get oil-cured olives, so I never got to the finish. I skimmed off the fat, reheated, made polenta, and chowed down! Wonderful. Maybe it was that I used local humanely-raised lamb shanks. Or maybe it was the right combo of cooking ingredients and techniques. The dish was fabulous.
              I think the finish of lemon, olives and parsley would be good, gilding the lily, I’d now say. Even without the prescribed finale, I had a fine meal indeed. I will be making this again.

              30 Replies
              1. re: NYchowcook

                This is the only recipe that I've made from the book; made it over a month ago. And yes, it was very good. Even though the ingredients are "ordinary" as you say, everything comes together well and the finishing touches brighten up the stewed flavors. I've never used paprika to season the dredging flour for lamb shanks and liked that addition very much.

                I'm going to try Molly's version of milk-braised pork tomorrow night...

                1. re: Carb Lover

                  I made this, but with three shoulder chops instead of shanks. I had gorgeous orange tomatoes and otherwise followed the recipe pretty closely, though I cut it down to match the amount of meat I had. Also, I did not flour the chops before I browned them. I didn't have fresh herbs, so when I added the bay leaves and zest, I added some dried herbs--mostly thyme, a little rosemary, and a smidge of parsely and sage. It was delicious. I paired it with a brown rice pilaf cooked with apricots and pine nuts.

                2. re: NYchowcook

                  Braised lamb shanks provencal

                  I made this last week and it was delicious. The lamb practically jumped off the bone and into my mouth, it was that tender. And, the sauce was out of this world. I didn't use oil cured olives, I just used plain old kalamata (unless those are oil cured olives). It was salty and lemony and just so many flavors popping everywhere. I had extra sauce so I gave it to a friend so she could try it and she loved it as well.

                  A slight hitch, I only had one lamb shank so I reduced all the other ingredients proportionately. When I took the pot out of the oven, most of the liquid had disappeared (and I had been adding the liquid throughout the braising time). So, I just added a bunch more water and scraped the bottom of some of the charred stuff. I wasn't able to defat it and maybe that's why the sauce was so tasty. No biggie overall and everything still turned out great.

                  I served this with polenta and sauteed rapini. Just a lovely dinner all around.

                  1. re: NYchowcook

                    Braised lamb shanks provençal

                    My local Market Basket had some lovely lamb shanks in the case this week, at a reasonable price so I grabbed 4. Each shank was in the 1.5 lb range, so a little bigger than the recipe calls for. I didn't adjust the amount of vegetable and liquid. I used canned tomatoes.

                    I chose to make this as a two-day recipe. I love lamb, but I don't love the taste of excessive lamb fat. Day 1, I did all the prep and braised for 2 1/2 hrs. Then threw the pot into the fridge. Day 2, I defatted the dish [about a cup and half of fat], braised for another hour which only brought the meat to "warm." Pulled the shanks, reduced the sauce on the stovetop and when it began to thicken, I placed the shanks back into the sauce on the stovetop, covered. I omitted the olives at the end since I am the only person here who likes them. I did add the lemon and parsley. Served over mashed potatoes.

                    I invited the kid to dinner and the three of us ate in silence only punctuated by "mmmmm, this is really good."

                    The remaining two shanks will be dinner tonight, and I am planning to make some polenta. Darn this was a delicious dish.

                    1. re: smtucker

                      Mwwwwaaaah! Thanks smtucker!

                      I went through the store ads last night, but didn't see beef or lamb shanks on sale. But I know MB usually has pretty reasonable prices, so it was either stopping there or at BJ's Wholesale Club this evening - looks like it'll be Market Basket for lamb shanks!

                      1. re: LindaWhit

                        Not on sale.... but very fairly priced. I don't usually see lamb shanks at my MB, so I snatched them up immediately. After all, if no one buys them, they won't ever put them out again. I shop at the Somerville market, in case that information is helpful.

                        1. re: smtucker

                          I'll be going to the Reading store, which is a relatively new store, so I'm hoping they'll have either that or beef shanks. I've got a craving after reading the All About Braising cookbook last night. :-)

                      2. re: smtucker

                        Braised lamb shanks provençal
                        Cooked yesterday. This is my first time to cook Lamb Shanks and I was a bit intimidated. It Turned out beautifully and now I feel I had been missing something important in my life until yesterday. I used my All-Clad 6 qt stockpot and putting 6 shanks in it was kind of very tight. Next time, I will use my 6.75qt LC if I cook 6. My DH was wordless and so thankful to me (good!). It is surely one of our favorites from the book.

                      3. re: NYchowcook

                        NYchowcook, I know this is an old thread, but I am hoping you could share this recipe.
                        I have 3 lamb shoulder chops approx. 1 inch thick and would like to braise them. Your recipe sounds lovely.
                        ....Sorry, just did an internet search and found recipe!

                        1. re: heylids

                          well this is a very late reply, but I just made the shanks again last night. David Tanis has a recipe in his new Heart of the Artichoke book that says you can cut up some boneless lamb shoulder (in 1/2 lb. pieces) in lieu of shanks.
                          basically, you season shanks, brown in dutch oven and remove. Saute chopped onion, then garlic, some canned tomatoes, bay leaves, lemon zest, paprika, S&P. Add wine (I omitted) and reduce. Add chicken stock and reduce.
                          Put shanks back in pot; put parchment paper in close to shanks, cover and braise at 325 degrees for 2-1/2 hrs. Then you can gild the lily by mixing in some lemon sections, oil cured olives and chopped parsley.
                          This is not my recipe; it's Molly Stevens "all about braising" and the *Queen* of braising to my reckoning.

                        2. re: NYchowcook

                          If any of the regular COTM crowd, or others!, happen to see this---I'm vacillating between this Molly Stevens recipe and this, http://www.saveur.com/article/Recipes..., Tom Valenti recipe. --- to use on some lamb shanks for braising tomorrow.

                          Can anyone put a thumb on the scales and help me make up my mind which recipe to use?

                          1. re: qianning

                            I really can't help you choose since I haven't cooked either recipe, but I can tell you that we've cooked 2 Valenti recipes from his one-pot meals book. 1 was terrific, 1 not so much. However I love his idea of using the foreshanks for this. OTOH, Molly Steven's recipes are always terrific. The recipe I use for braised lamb shanks is Mario Batali's. (Molto Italiano)

                            Good Luck, Q. Gung Hay Fat Choy!

                            1. re: Gio

                              Thanks for the tip Gio--I hadn't seen the Batali recipe. I did spend a ridiculous amount of time yesterday looking at lamb shank recipes, several of which involve citrus, and i just happen to have two more pieces of lamb in the freezer, so many later in February.

                              Meanwhile, I'm going to go with the Valenti version today, because I got "Welcome to My Kitchen" as a gift a while back, but have never used it, so time to give a few dishes a whirl. It also helps that I have everything his recipe requires on hand.

                              And...Gong Xi Fa Cai to you & yours.

                            2. re: qianning

                              I haven't made the Valenti recipe but re-reading my report, I loved Stevens' recipe. The thing with ABB is that nothing looks extraordinary but between the technique and the combo of flavors, it's always a hit. Plus, the big bonus is that her timing is spot on which is so helpful in meal planning.

                              1. re: qianning

                                No, I can't. I can only confuse you even more:

                                A different approach that is equally delicious. I especially love the gremolata to finish. I now use this trick for most of my braised dishes.

                                In fact, I don't believe I have ever eaten a braised lamb shank that I didn't love. Can't wait to hear what you select.

                                1. re: smtucker

                                  Agree on the general principle of gremolata. Interesting recipe you linked to, have never seen/used horseradish in a gremolata; just the more standard green herbs and citrus rind.

                                  1. re: qianning

                                    harumph! That horseradish has been added since I printed the recipe. Horseradish doesn't belong in a gremolata. Sorry to lead you astray.

                                    1. re: smtucker

                                      Funny. You know reading that makes me feel better about the humongous file book of recipes printed from the web and returned library books that takes up a good chunk of precious kitchen space. My Luddite side has a need for a physical copy.

                                2. re: qianning

                                  I can't help you choose between these recipes, but to throw another ringer into the mix, the lamb shanks from the union square cafe cookbook (the first one) are incredible!

                                  1. re: Westminstress

                                    Saw your description of that recipe on the Union Square thread during my marathon lamb shank recipe reading; it sounds awfully good too.

                                    1. re: qianning

                                      The Valenti sounds good too. Can't go wrong with wine garlic and anchovies! Let us know how you like it.

                                      1. re: Westminstress

                                        So the Valenti recipe was major hit with us. The aromas and flavors of the braising liquid really reminded me of those complex T. Keller brines, but the resulting sauce had the depth and texture of a good ragout. Straining and skimming it at the end was a bit of a pain, but doable, and oh so worth it.

                                        Looking forward to trying one of the more citrus-y (Batali or Stevens) recipes with the remaining two shanks that I stashed in the freezer.

                                        Thanks all.

                                        1. re: qianning

                                          That sounded so good to me I've bookmarked the recipe. Thanks Qianning!

                                          ETA: The recipe is in his book, "Welcome To My Kitchen". Costs $0.01 at Amazon, with several copies available. Naturally I had to buy one!

                                          1. re: Gio

                                            Oh-oh, I've turned into an enabler!

                                            The white bean puree was good too. But in making the beans, I did find he needs a better editor. There was random sentence mid-way through that made no sense. I ignored it, soldiered on and got good results anyway.

                                            1. re: qianning

                                              It doesn't take much to entice me to buy a cookbook. I actually just zipped the bean puree recipe into Pepperplate to have it handy. I pre-cooked dry large lima beans yesterday and now I can use his recipe this week instead of searching through EYB.

                                          2. re: qianning

                                            Glad you liked it. That is my go-to recipe for lamb shanks for several years now. So, so delicious.

                                            Happy for the reminder: it's about time for some lamb shanks.

                                  2. re: NYchowcook

                                    Braised Lamb Shanks Provencal.

                                    Thud. Alright having dispensed with the punch line, let me explain that it all came down to the lemon juice, for us it was just too much acid for the dish. Had I skipped the lemon segment/juice finish and just added a lemon peel/parsley/garlic gremolata, we probably would have really liked this. Sorry to be swimming against the current on this one, and was of two minds about posting, but for anyone reading this before making the dish, perhaps add a little lemon, taste and then decide about putting in the rest.

                                    1. re: qianning

                                      Oh no! Next time (next winter? though it seems it will never end....) try the version from Union Square Cafe. Selfishly, I'd really like to have a comparison of that vs. the Valenti.

                                      1. re: qianning

                                        Reverse Thud; or quick post in which I eat my words more or less.

                                        So the second lamb shank had been languishing in the fridge for some time because we were dreading it, but I was darned if I'd waste it. Anyhow, stumbled home late, cold and tired with nothing planned for dinner one night this week. Time to do the deed. Wow, talk about 180 degrees, this was so good. The intense sour lemon flavor from the first go round was gone, replaced by a light and lovely citrus note, and the olives melded into the tomato in a really pleasing way. Served over a buttered rice, with endive salad on the side, made for a more or less perfect winter meal. Go figure.

                                    2. Milk Braised Pork (too lazy to run downstairs for page number)

                                      Looks like the exact recipe is spelled out here:

                                      I've certainly heard tales of this dish popularized by Marcella Hazan, but I've never made it before. Molly gives credit to Marcella in her intro for the recipe, but has made her own tweaks. I'll have to look at Marcella's recipe, but I'm assuming that Molly's has more garlic and seasonings for a more intense flavor. Molly suggests a pork blade or loin roast whereas Marcella uses shoulder, IIRC.

                                      Overall, the dish was incredible! The seasonings work so well together, and I would def. use fresh sage. I used a 2.5 lb. loin roast and was surprised at how flavorful and moist the meat remained after nearly 1.5 hrs. in the oven. I confess that I totally spaced on the part that says it should be taken out when the meat reaches 150F, so by the time I checked, the internal temp. was about 170F! Thought I had ruined it, but the method seemed forgiving enough after tasting.

                                      The appearance is def. unusual, but I liked the rustic look and the fluffy curds of coagulated milk. The caramel-hued sauce is deeply nutty and savory w/ a salty edge. The addition of lemon juice to finish beautifully brightens. Molly has a variation to blitz the lumpy sauce w/ cream in a blender for those who would prefer a smooth consistency. Has anyone tried this method?

                                      I look forward to comparing to Marcella's and Tony Bourdain's versions.

                                      Photo of finished roast in sauce:

                                      Photo of plated slices w/ modified version of her braised fennel (recommended by her as a good pairing):

                                      Some tips that I will remember for next time:

                                      1. Season at least 8 hrs. ahead if possible. I only did right before, but think it would be even better pre-seasoned.

                                      2. Try to insert all garlic into slits deeply enough so that no garlic is on surface of meat such that garlic won't burn while searing. I might use a little less garlic next time.

                                      3. Add more milk. I like a good amount of sauce and will use at least 2 cups next time.

                                      4. While the braised fennel dish was good, it also had strong flavors that made for too much intensity on one plate for me. Would make a more basic, subtler version for next time.

                                      8 Replies
                                      1. re: Carb Lover

                                        The texture of the sauce looks very similar to the Joy of Cooking version, which claims it's really an adaptation of Marcella's version. I'm relieved .. I always wondered if my curds were supposed to get more firm than that, but this seems to be the texture. I think it's delicious, but I only serve it to company that doesn't mind the way it looks.

                                        1. re: Carb Lover

                                          Made this milk-braised pork as well. Verdict: we are enjoying the pork (lots of leftovers), but I think we would enjoy a simple roasted pork better.

                                          Thanks for the pics Carb Lover, now I know for sure that something went wrong with mine... I didn't get any big curds like that, although there were smaller ones. Maybe I should have reduced more as well.

                                          Not sure what happened here. I did use 3/4 cup extra of milk because the sauce did not come 1/3 of the way up the meat the way she describes elsewhere in the book (even with the extra liquid it was less than a quarter the way up). I actually think she could add *more* detail to the recipes on how far the liquid should come up the meat: if the cook doesn't have the specified pan (an oval one in this case), or halves/doubles the recipe, there will be discrepancies. Because she gives so many details I get nervous when the detail isn't there.

                                          I also had to turn the oven up to 300 because I had no simmer happening. I cooked my 3 lb roast 10 minutes past 150. I think, well I know, that my spices were old (I think I've had those fennel seeds longer than I've had my husband!). If I made it again, and I'm not sure I like the concept enough to do so, I would definitely use fresh sage. Neither the pork or the sauce are doing much for me beyond the fact that nice fatty pork is in itself delicious!

                                          1. re: julesrules

                                            Thanks for your report. Sorry to hear it didn't wow you.

                                            Exactly what kind of braising vessel did you use? I used my Le Creuset oven and it did well at 250F.

                                            Did you use old fennel seed and dried sage (or fresh)? I can't really stand dried sage but love the fresh stuff.

                                            I know what you mean about holes in detail. I've found this across a few recipes, but am generally confident about filling in the blanks. I generally find the recipes easy to follow and thorough though.

                                            1. re: Carb Lover

                                              I used a round Le Creuset dutch oven (not sure what size it is, but there was about 2 inches minimum around the roast). Did you use parchment paper at all? My roast seemed tall enough that it wouldn't have made much difference.
                                              I also used a shoulder blade roast, while she specifies that she prefers rib (?) blade for its greater delicacy.
                                              I used old dried sage that didn't have much odour (bad sign I know - time to clean out the spice drawer). I love fresh sage, but my sage plant isn't doing well and my husband says I can't ask the neighbours for some of theirs!
                                              The recipes are pretty thorough, making the holes stand out more to me!

                                              1. re: julesrules

                                                Sounds like we used similar enough vessels. I did not use parchment and confess I've ignored this in some recipes. I used pork loin, which is relatively lean.

                                                Old dried sage is the worst; don't listen to your husband and knock on the neighbors' door next time! :-)

                                          2. re: Carb Lover

                                            So I ran across this thread looking for something to do with a very lean pork roast (which had me looking at it, thinking: why did I buy this? I never buy lean pork).

                                            For once, I followed the recipe (Carb Lover's link) exactly, down to pouring out the fat after browning and measuring it back in, and it came out very well, I thought. I also didn't catch it at 150 -- it was actually 160 or a bit more, but it was still moist (I think I might have liked it a little better if I'd managed to get it earlier, though). The texture was not what I was expecting: I always think of braised meats as being "fork tender" and this was a little firmer than that -- actually, I really liked the texture: tender but still al dente. I served it sliced on a bed of sweet potato pappadelle that was tossed with a little of the sauce, and then drizzled the sauce over the slices, which made for a nice enough presentation. Looking at Carb Lover's photos, my sauce was much darker and more caramelized, and my curds were much smaller -- in fact, there weren't any large curds when I took it out of the oven, although some formed as the sauce reduced. I think maybe I didn't let the sauce reduce enough in the oven.

                                            I think Carb Lover may have "seared" instead of "browned" (the recipe said over medium-high heat and that it should take 12-14 minutes, which mine did), because except for a couple of slivers of garlic that fell out into the oil, I didn't have any problem with the garlic burning (which was something I was also worried about).

                                            I'll probably make this recipe again, as the ratio of effort to deliciousness was pretty low. I'm sure my pork-and-sage loving Dad will enjoy it. And I loved the fact that everything is done in one pot: I managed to finally achieve my goal of having a dinner party -- three courses plus a cheese board -- where the kitchen wasn't covered with dirty pots and pans and dishes halfway through (which it always has been, even when I clean along the way).

                                            1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                              I did in fact make this again today -- I had another of those roasts (I'd bought a 3-pack at Costco) that I'd thawed to cook for Xmas and then not cooked. It really is very easy -- after making it once I only had to check the recipe a couple of times to get the measurements and oven temp right. I managed to catch it at 155, and its a little more succulent, so it's worth it, I think, to monitor it closely after the first hour and try to get it at 150, although as Carb Lover found, it won't be ruined if it goes longer. I didn't reduce the sauce as much this time, and I still didn't get big curds, but the sauce is delicious.

                                              1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                Pork Loin Braised in Milk: pg. 347

                                                I made a go at this last night.....one big caveat here though: I tried to adopt the recipe for a pork tenderloin. This wasn't entirely intentional, I really had set out to make the World's Best Braised Green Cabbage and while at the store I selected tenderloin to go with the cabbage and when I got home, I thought "Oh, I'll just look at the pork recipes and see if I can find anything to do with this tenderloin..."

                                                Well, the first big problem/challenge was that I have only one oven and the cabbage cooks at 325, while the pork calls for 275. Okay, reduce the cooking time for the pork...and check carefully with the digital thermometer. Even so, after just 25 minutes in the oven, that baby was 174 degrees, internally. Woe is me I thought and quickly took it out. Dang it, I didn't even get to turn it over. However, the meat didn't seem TOO firm, and it all smelled so good that I still had high hopes. The chowpup kept saying "when do we get to eat this deliciousness?" And she is a self-proclaimes fennel seed hater. Didn't tell her it was in there...

                                                And those hopes were rewarded. The meat was not at all tough, the sauce didn't curdle (though it started to when I went to reduce it). I would definately make this again either with a more appropriate cut of pork, or use a slower oven and allow three hours instead of two for the cabbage. Because, all in all the combo was great.

                                          3. Spaghetti alla Carbonara with Braised Slab Bacon (pg. 392)

                                            Yummy. Bacon. The house smelled positively scrumptious and filled with subtle bacon smell. This was not a short recipe. The bacon basically cooked or cooled all day. But, it was worth it.

                                            I followed the recipe pretty closely and the end result was delicious. I blanched 3/4 lb of slab bacon in water. The bacon, cut up carrot, chopped up onion, bay leaf and peppercorns went into a small pot with chicken broth and wine. After bringing the broth to a boil, I put parchment paper over the meat, put the lid on and put it in the oven for about 2.5 hours. I flipped the bacon every hour. After two hours, the bacon was fork tender. The fork slid right into the meat. But, the bacon still looked a bit pale, so I put it back in for another half hour. At this point, one of the pieces of bacon was so tender that the bacon started to disintergrate stopped the braising process and turned the broiler on. I placed the pot with the bacon and braising liquid under the broiler until I could hear the snap, crackle and pops of the fat browning. After I browned both sides, I removed the bacon from the broth and cooled it to room temperature.


                                            My piece of bacon was very fatty. I think it was fattier than most because the braising liquid was not that fatty. To the eye, I could see all the fat, still on the bacon. When I cut the bacon into "cubes" into wasn't really cubes. The fat kind of clumped together in an unappetizing mess.

                                            I heated evoo into a skillet and put the bacon in. Now, the fat started to melt off the bacon. As the bacon got nice and crispy, a lot of fat started accumulating in the pan. Not in the book - I poured off a lot of the fat. I just couldn't fathom eating the fat with the pasta. I added wine to the bacon and simmered it down.


                                            As the pasta water was cooking, I beat three eggs in a small bowl. When the pasta finished cooking, I removed pasta water and put it with the eggs. I frantically whipped the eggs and pasta water, added pecorino cheese and parmesan cheese and parsley. I tossed the sauce with the pasta and added the bacon mixture on top. It was delicious and unfortunately, there were no leftovers.


                                            2 Replies
                                            1. re: beetlebug

                                              Sounds delicious - I'll have to try that one!

                                              1. re: beetlebug

                                                Spaghetti alla carbonara is Mr GG's all-time favourite dish, but he hardly ever gets to eat it, poor man, because it's "too simple". So I was excited to try this recipe to see how it compared to the classic dish, and so was he.

                                                Sadly, this didn't really work for me and it was proof that you don't need to mess with the classics. One caveat though - perhaps my bacon wasn't the right type (I bought a smoked, cured pork belly joint thinking that would be pretty much the same as slab bacon, which you rarely see here other than as pancetta). Anyway, I fail to see how this can be as good as simply using lardons of good quality pancetta, as blanching and then braising the bacon seemed to remove all of the smoky, salty, bacony flavour. It was fork tender, but kind of just fell apart (that may have been because I didn't have time to let it cool completely before slicing it - caveat no 2), and had very little flavour. It was also a lot of work for a mediocre result, when you can knock up a great classic carbonara in less than half an hour. Also in my book wine has no place in a carbonara. I'll be sticking to my tried and tested method from "The Silver Spoon" in future.

                                              2. Sausages & Plums braised in red wine (p. 396)

                                                Great and easy!
                                                A while back a chef opened a restaurant with an ambitious kitchen and I went to dinner. I ordered a pork chop. I got a big fat chop, which I didn’t care for – dry, uninteresting. The chef/owner came by to ask about my dinner and to offer me something else. I said: I guess I just didn’t order well, declined a substitute and ate the very yummy sides. I thought: it wasn’t the chef’s fault; I don’t really *like* pork chops. Some times I do, most times not.

                                                That’s the way I think about sausage. An occasional side w/ morning eggs, but those big fat sausages for dinner never appealed to me. Too gamy perhaps. But then I got some sausage in my pork share from my CSA, so I figured I might as well dive in and make Molly’s sausage. Delicious!

                                                Brown the sausages in a large pan in oil, remove, and saute shallot, garlic and fresh sage, add red grapes (I substituted for plums), S&P, red wine, return sausages to pan and braise for 30 minutes. Not a big deal to cook, and fairly quick for a braise.

                                                I followed the recipe closely – actually the variation w/ organic red grapes since plums are not in season. I used a fruity wine as Molly instructed – Goats do Roam from South Africa. The grapes melted down into the sauce. It was all very yummy – the sausage, the sauce and everything together was flavorful and pleasing. I would say the fruity-ness of the grapes and wine really brightened up yet complemented the sausage.

                                                Served w/ braised cabbage. An arugula salad and bread would be good, as Molly suggests.

                                                I’m glad I still have some sausages in the freezer, ‘cause winter is coming and I will make this again!

                                                15 Replies
                                                1. re: NYchowcook

                                                  made the sausages last night. what a treat! simple, delicious. i also served it with the braised cabbage. such a great winter meal.

                                                  1. re: ceeceee

                                                    yup. And like most braises, they're fine (and sweet!) reheated.

                                                  2. re: NYchowcook

                                                    I had high hopes for this recipe but it didn't do it for me. My plums were not so great, but even with better ingredients, I just don't think sausages are flattered by the braise. I would rather have eaten the sausages pan-fried plump & juicy with a plum/red wine compote. Maybe because I actually like plain sausages for dinner and consider them a weeknight standby - pan-friend sausages housemade by my local Italian grocer, some interesting mustard or chutney, mashed potatoes and a steamed or sauteed green veg and we're all happy, in under half an hour.

                                                    1. re: NYchowcook

                                                      I made this tonight, with the grapes, and we loved it. I actually used venison sausages from the farmer's market, which are delicious on their own, and ordinary red table grapes. The only thing I changed was that I didn't prick the sausages, which is sacrilege to me. I never, ever prick sausages, because it stops them from swelling, and becoming deliciously juicy and plump. And I didn't have any shallots, so used half an onion instead. For the braising liquid, I used a light red wine from Anjou.

                                                      We thought this was just gorgeous, and a nice change from simple, pan-fried sausages. I served it with mashed potato, because sausage goes with mash and it's finally getting a little chilly here after an amazingly mild October, and brussel sprouts, the first of the season. And the rest ofr the red wine! Yummy.

                                                      1. re: NYchowcook

                                                        I'd been eager to try this recipe since you first posted about it NYchowcook. Yesterday was cold, nasty, and rainy and I had a hankering for The World's Best Cabbage so the stars were aligned--except for my current location. It's a long drive for anything other than standard supermarket fare and I knew as I was buying those no-name, no provenance "sweet Italian sausages" that I was probably making a mistake. I made the dish with black grapes and probably added more fresh sage than called for. The supermarket sausages were dry and almost flavorless, but the grapes and sauce were wonderful with the cabbage and I could tell how good this would be with decent ingredients. I easily see this becoming a guilty winter pleasure once I get my hands on quality sausages.

                                                        1. re: JoanN

                                                          JoanN - you can have some of mine. ;-) Mr GG came back from the farmer's market on Sunday with three packs of sausages to add to the one already in the freezer. Left to his own devices, he always buys sausages. They're made by a lady who first started looking after pigs in prison!


                                                          Anyway, I'd forgotten about this recipe. Thanks for reminding me of ways to use up my sausage surplus.

                                                          1. re: greedygirl

                                                            OK, now that's a GREAT name for a company! And I love the tag line: "No fat or crap in our sausages!" LOL

                                                            1. re: LindaWhit

                                                              When we were in the States in September, I was obsessed with Piggly Wiggly trucks. We actually parked outside a Piggly Wiggly store once, in Beaufort SC, to go to a BBQ place, and I really wished I'd sneaked inside to take a look!

                                                              But yeah, the sausages are good. Definitely no fat or crap! And their bacon's great too.

                                                          2. re: JoanN

                                                            Okay. Got my hands on some decent butcher-made sausages (unfortunately, stopping by GGs for her gracious offer to share her overabundance not an option just now) and tried it again. What a world of difference. Served it this time with mashed potatoes and much as I love the braised cabbage, thought this a better pairing. When we get around to listing our all-time favorite COTMs, this book is going to be high on the list.

                                                          3. re: NYchowcook

                                                            Sausages & Plums braised in red wine (p. 396)

                                                            I made it last week, but it did not do the trick to us. I guess the main reason is:
                                                            - I used German Wurst Sausages of Trader Joes, which might have less fat than the Italian sausages. The Sausages were kind of tough because of lesser fat or overcooked. I did not adjust cooking time at all, so it might be the sausages.
                                                            - I used red table grapes in stead of plum. I think I should have used less grapes. I used the same weight as the plums required, but it made the dish sooooo sweet.

                                                            I do not know if I will make this one again, but based on the rave reviews of others, I would like to give it a try one more time maybe next fall when fresh plums are available. Also I will use Italian Sausages!

                                                            1. re: hobbybaker

                                                              As I noted above, the wrong sausages can really ruin this dish. The first time I made it I felt about it as you did, but I suspected when I bought the sausages that that was going to be true. The second time, with good sausages, it seemed like a different dish. I was telling my friends in Guatemala about it because they have such good pork there. I sent them the recipe and they made it for a pot luck New Year's Day buffet. They said it was the first dish to be cleaned out and people were complaining that they hadn't made enough of it.

                                                              1. re: JoanN

                                                                I agree. I've made this dish three times because we love the flavors, but have always used very good Italian sausage from a butcher. Link to recipe report (posted under the wrong category):

                                                                I'll repost pics too since the ones linked above have shrunk:


                                                                and after braising:

                                                                1. re: Rubee

                                                                  Joan - Agreed. Next time, I will buy fresh Italian Sausages from the polish butcher in our neighborhood. I understand what you mean by "different dish".
                                                                  I knew that German sausages are meant to be grilled not boiled. There are only two sorts (Frankfurter and Weisswurst/White Sausage) are meant to be boiled. I should have followed this principle.

                                                                  Rubee - Your photos are fabulous! I am motivated to give it a try again. As the recipe is really simple, more than important to use quality of sausages.

                                                                  By the way, this weekend, I will make Lamb shank provencal. Let's see how it goes! I really love this book. It is really a must book for winter.

                                                                  1. re: hobbybaker

                                                                    "It is really a must book for winter."

                                                                    Indeed! And that's why we're all still trying new recipes and posting about them more than 3 years later is testament to how wonderful this book truly is.

                                                                    1. re: JoanN

                                                                      Strongly agreed! I got mine at LC outlet when I was puzzled which one I should buy. I learned so much from this book . Which LC I should pick. What is the all sort of beef cuts, which had overwhelmed me. I have never braised lamb before and through this book, I really like it as much as roasted. Also, cabbages. I did not know how tasty it can be. It has a diversity of the origin of country, that is why I make a couple of meals per week these days from this book and it always makes me so motivated by thinking about "What is next!"

                                                          4. "Country-Style Pork Ribs Braised With Mango, Lime and Coconut" page 363
                                                            This was a very easy and tasty dish- with some adjustments for personal taste..I made the following adjustments....I had powdered cardamom not whole..(to be pulverised), and had powdered cinnamon, not a stick....I also did not have light rum, only dark...other than that I followed the recipe exactly except goosed it a bit at the final tasting of the sauce to give it more balance for my taste (I added a little sugar, as I found the sauce too tart having not gotten enough sweetness from the mango...it felt a little unbalanced)
                                                            The meat was succulent, and I really loved the sauce and couln't get enough of it over rice....The next day I added a couple tblspoons of heavy cream to the sauce just to see what that was like...also really good...I would definitely make this again..!

                                                            5 Replies
                                                            1. re: ChowFun_derek

                                                              My son made this recipe a couple of months ago, and I thought it was incredibly delicious. It must be a fairly easy and foolproof recipe, since he's only been cooking for a bit over a year. It was for my birthday, so he did it all without any advice or help from me. As you say, the sauce is incredible.

                                                              1. re: Anne H

                                                                Do you think this dish would appropriate in summer? I want to make something from her book but I know braising isn't ideal during the summer months.

                                                                1. re: nissenpa

                                                                  Sorry, nissenpa, I didn't apparently look back at this for six months! But I have the answer easily for you, because my birthday is in late June, and we thought this dish was perfectly reasonable. (Perhaps part of my son's lack of experience, that he chose a braised dish in the middle of June, but as I say, we loved it -- not especially seasonal, though, I admit.)

                                                              2. re: ChowFun_derek

                                                                Country-Style Pork Ribs Braised With Mango, Lime and Coconut, page 363

                                                                Delicious sauce, but not nearly enough of it for our tastes! I commented elsewhere that I've usually been using half the amount of meat called for but the full amount of braising liquid. In this case, though, my ribs were slightly MORE than called for, and even though I increased the liquid ingredients a bit, it wasn't enough.

                                                                My big substitution was using persimmons instead of a mango. Yes, shocking, but I had all these persimmons just waiting to be used. I'm sure it would be even more delicious with mango, but it was certainly tasty as it was.

                                                                Oh, my other change was to stick it in the oven at 300 rather than cooking it on the stovetop. Maybe that evaporated more liquid? But I love the carefree aspect of oven braising: no worries about it sticking to the bottom or needing to stir it.

                                                                Bottom line: I'll gladly make it again, but will double the liquids or maybe add stock to increase it.

                                                                1. re: Karen_Schaffer

                                                                  I did make this again, although I had recipes slightly confused in my brain, so I bought pork shoulder instead of ribs. But I'm here to say that it worked just as well. I simply braised it (in the oven, not stovetop) for a bit longer, more like 2 - 2 1/2 hours. I was also generous with all the liquids, and use a whole can of coconut milk, because I wanted to have a goodly amount of sauce. Delicious.

                                                                  Btw, I did manage to use mangoes this time, though I also think that the mango flavor gets a bit lost and that one could make this with almost any other fruits to good effect (apples would be nice). Or, to get more mango flavor, hold back some and just add at the end. Hmm, I might try that next time.

                                                                  Edited to add: Okay, I take it back about the mangoes. We just had the leftovers for lunch, and there is definitely mango flavor still there. Though I do think other fruits could work as well.

                                                                  I must say that this particular pork shoulder seemed to have a lot more internal fat than some others. I just shredded the last of the pork and picked out a lot of the fatty bits while doing so. I guess I'll have to learn to select my pork shoulder more carefully, or edit them better before cooking.

                                                              3. Lamb Shanks Braised with Lentils and Curry. Page 419

                                                                This is a marvellous dish to serve for a dinner party on a winter evening; that said, here we are in Los Angeles and we had the air on today and served hors d'oeuvres outside in the evening sun, it was that warm. Now to the grub: Bought ten lamb shanks to serve 8 people including one 7 year old boy who ate mainly kale. Mme ZoeZ and I browned the meaty shanks (chosen by Roberto the meat person at the Santa Monica Albertsons - no fat and no caul or gristle. He did not crack the bones. We were very careful to give a good browning as per receipe. Dug out Aunt Agnate's iron casserole which made it from the old farm in North Dakota - good as ever. Prepared the sauce - uses red onion (thought it would be too mild but no). Followed receipe exactly; prepared Le Puy green lentils and pulled them out half cooked and then added them to the meat. Just as the Author said - the lentils were formed, crunchy and gave great texture to the dish instead of a mushy mess. Passed lemon wedges when we served lamb together with steamed kale, baked asparagus, french bread, salad. Just served the lamb and lentils on a plate, not in a bowl as author suggested. Did a receipe and a half for the sauce part of the ingredients. Best hint here was the used of a piece of parchment paper over the cocotte and under the lid.

                                                                Starter was eggplant dip with goat cheese and a dash of mayonaisse (a Chowpup invention) with lime flavored corn chips (very tasty when the bag is just opened). Wine was a Carico, Trevigne 2002 from Barbera D'Alba bought from Wally's Wine Shop in Westwood.

                                                                Dessert was Opera frozen pastry (brought by guests who are friends of the pastry chef, Amerline Pastries) sold in Bristol Farms and Gelsons - absolutely A+ Almond Sponge cake soaked in coffee with coffee cream and chocolate mousse (I am reading from the label).

                                                                We celebrated Chowpuplet getting the job of her dreams so this was a great occasion for a great dish and Yes, we have plenty of leftovers. Goody says Mme.Z.

                                                                Lot of fun doing this and reporting in.

                                                                1. Braised Pork Chops & Creamy Cabbage

                                                                  Actually, I came to this thread not to report but to see what others' experiences with this recipe had been and was surprised to see no posts on it.

                                                                  I wasn't going to report because I cut way down on the fat (Post-Thanksgiving and all that.) so I'm not sure it's a completely fair evaluation. Also, this was a last-minute decision and was made with what was on hand, so green onions instead of shallots and no heavy cream (which I actually had, but didn't want to use). Because Stevens doesn't call for it, I didn't brine the chops--something I always do. And I think that was a mistake. Even braised, I thought the chops were dry and rather flavorless. The problem may have been my chops and not the recipe (I pulled them out of the freezer and suspect these were supermarket chops on sale rather than the Berkshire Pork chops I usually buy). The cabbage was good but not great; certainly not transcendental as is her World's Best Braised Green Cabbage.

                                                                  I think this is the first recipe from the book that I have no particular desire to repeat. I'm curious if anyone else tried it but didn't post either. Would it be a different dish if it were the full fat version with better chops? Can someone talk me into trying it again?

                                                                  11 Replies
                                                                  1. re: JoanN

                                                                    Wow, I KNOW I've posted about this exact recipe before, drat Chowhound's search function...used to be pretty good with the words you are searching for highlighted in yellow...but that's gone now, horrible. You know, I almost always look for ways to cut saturated fats in recipes but NOT this one...I didn't do it and am glad. Not a big pork fan anyway, but I thought the cabbage was to die for...I think the mixture of caraway seeds and mustard seeds was so unusual and delicious...even though I didn't yum all over the pork chop, I still think that this recipe requires pork in it for the flavor and heck, we all know that cabbage and pork go hand in hand. I made a notation on the recipe to try dark pork meat next time rather than the way-too-lean loin chop. I think you should try it again, written as is, just my 2 cents!
                                                                    Oh, JoanN...have you tried Alton Brown's Slow Cooked Pepper Pork Chops? Very very awesome, includes brined pork chops, dried apples, onions, black pepper and really is a stellar pork dish in case you are interested. We tried it recently and loved it; recipe calls for adding salt--big no no!--doesn't need it with the pork chops being brined.

                                                                    1. re: Val

                                                                      Thanks, Val. Just based on other recipes I've made from this book I suspected there was something here I just wasn't getting. I'll keep your message in mind and try it again when I'm ready for the full-fat version. And next time, I'll brine what I know to be good chops rather than play mystery grab-bag out of the freezer.

                                                                      The Alton Brown recipe looks terrific--but I've never owned a slow cooker and it's difficult for me to figure out how one might convert a slow-cooker recipe to the oven. Any ideas?

                                                                    2. re: JoanN

                                                                      Braised Pork Chops & Creamy Cabbage

                                                                      I pretty much concur with JoanN: It was a pleasant enough dish, and pretty quick to put together, but I wouldn't go out of my way to make it again. I even used rather nice, well-marbled organic chops and creme fraiche. Actually, the cabbage and sauce, with the creme fraiche, was pretty tasty, I'd almost be inclined to make the cabbage by itself. Or maybe use thinner chops. The thick chops were so unseasoned in the center that I kept salting them as I ate.

                                                                      Changes: I'm not a caraway fan, so I subbed cumin seed. Didn't have a bouillon cube, but used a packet of Trader Joe's equivalent paste, that comes in little foil wrappers. I sauteed the cabbage in the same pan I used for the chops (round, shallow Creuset). Not really sure why she calls for frying pan for the chops then switching to a Dutch oven for the cabbage, but not deglazing the chops pan. I was only doing 2 chops, so I used my small Creuset, but if I were doing 4, I would have used a larger pan (to accomodate more cabbag) for both tasks.

                                                                      1. re: Karen_Schaffer

                                                                        Braised Pork Chops and Creamy Cabbage

                                                                        Great to read all the feed-back on this dish! And I'm glad I did before trying it out for myself. Noted that Karen Schaeffer's chops "were so unseasoned in the center" so I seasoned mine a good half hour before cooking, with garlic salt (heresy in a bottle, I know...) and cayenne. Also, I made sure to check the temp of the meat BEFORE the allotted cooking time was up. I did use the type of chops called for but mine were about 3/4 of an inch, not one. And, it occurred to me that the browning time may have been too long, so I upped the temp and tried to just get a sear. This resulted in a really fine, tender and tasty chop, although the flour coating was more gummy than crisp.

                                                                        On to the cabbage....well, mine just didn't seem cooked enough. I did cook it a bit more after removing the by-then done chops, and should have cooked it even more, but by then the Chowpup was starving. As for the flavor? Thought it was just "meh."

                                                                        I was tempted to sub fennel seed for the caraway, thinking that the Chowpup wouldn't like the caraway. Of course she doesn't think she likes fennel either.....and whew, she lifted the lid while it was cooking and said "those aren't fennel seeds are they?" When I said "no," fortunately she didn't ask what kind of seeds they were. And I didn't volunteer any more info....

                                                                        1. re: clamscasino

                                                                          LOL at "those aren't fennel seeds, are they?"

                                                                          I agree that the cabbage could be cooked more. In fact, I took my chops out and let the cabbage go longer. If I ever make it again, I think I'll cook the cabbage for a while (better go make a note in my book!), maybe 20 minutes, before adding the chops.

                                                                          Great idea to season the chops in advance. Of course, the reason I chose this recipe was precisely because I WASN'T planning ahead. Oh well, I'll make a note anyhow.

                                                                          I must say the leftovers (these were massive chops, so we didn't finish them in one sitting) were delicious.

                                                                          1. re: clamscasino

                                                                            Braised Pork Chops and Creamy Cabbage - variation on the theme....

                                                                            We really liked these chops the first go round, but weren't crazy about the cabbage, so last night I played around with this recipe. First, I skipped the mustard and caraway seeds. Then I subbed dry sherry for the white wine, because I had run out of that. And if I do have chicken bouillon cubes, I can't find them. So just water. And, I used two very small red onions instead of shallots. BUT, (and here's what made these really good) I added two carrots, cut into sticks to the cabbage in an attempt to meld the World's Best Braised Cabbage recipe with this one. Oh, and I sprinkled on some dill weed.

                                                                            Also, I made sure to cook the cabbage and carrots until they were "wilted," before adding the chops back into the pan. Yeah it worked!

                                                                            1. re: clamscasino

                                                                              Braised Pork Chops and Creamy Cabbage

                                                                              We love the Cabbage and aroma of caraway seeds and mustard seeds. Pork chops are a bit plain in the center, but does not matter to us as we eat them with the creamy sauce. I made simple bolied potatos. I will make it again.

                                                                            2. re: Karen_Schaffer

                                                                              I actually make this recipe a lot. we love the cabbage. I typically use brats instead of pork chops when I make it as i agree it's not the best way to show of nice chops. with the brats however the cabbage is quite delicious.

                                                                              1. re: ziggylu

                                                                                Using bratwurst instead of chops is a great idea. I have thick organic pork chops in the freezer and will simply grill them when the time comes. But with your suggestion will make braised cabbage recipe with brats. I love cabbage and always have some in the fridge,

                                                                                1. re: Gio

                                                                                  it's a really delicious combination, especially with the caraway and mustard seed in the cabbage. I make this a lot because both are inexpensive and this recipe is one of our favorite ways to make cabbage. I just bought some cream to make this for dinner tomorrow night actually.

                                                                              2. re: Karen_Schaffer

                                                                                Braised Pork Chops and Creamy Cabbage

                                                                                I thought these were ok. Unlike clams casino, I liked the cabbage way more than the chops. The flour left a funny gummy texture on the pork chop itself. My chops weren't flavorless because it did have a nice layer of fat on the end, but it did need more salt. But mainly, I didn't like the texture of a braised pork chop. I prefer pork chops pan fried.

                                                                                I did like the cabbage. I made some slight substitutions. Brown mustard seeds for yellow and leeks for the shallots.

                                                                                A quick dish but not worth revisiting in my house.

                                                                            3. Some leftover Ras-al-hanout languishing in my spice cabinet inspired me to try the moroccan spice-rubbed lamb shoulder chops. I departed from the recipe a bit by using my pre-prepared spice mix instead of making her suggested mix. Then I worried that my spice rub had lost a bit of its punch so I added some sliced fresh ginger and additional whole spices to the broth. It smelled amazing while it was cooking. It tasted good, too, although the lamb was not quite as tender and succulent as I could have wished. This may have been the lamb itself -- I couldn't find shoulder chops so I got something called "arm chops" and I think they were a bit too lean. We had the leftovers the next day and the sauce was amazing -- it really improved after a night in the fridge. Served with whole wheat couscous (mark bittman's basic recipe with some chopped dried apricots thrown in) and the combo was great. I've had this book for a while but this was the first time I've cooked from it. I found the experience relaxing and the instructions easy to follow. I really enjoyed the good smells floating through the house during the long, slow braising process. Perfect on a cold night.

                                                                              10 Replies
                                                                              1. re: Westminstress

                                                                                I've gotten this book from the library and really enjoyed reading through it, and this spice rubbed chop recipe sealed the deal that this will be on my Xmas cookbook request list:)

                                                                                This was a default dinner, as the chops were meant to go on the grill but the grill is not working....last night I broiled a couple of the same chops, and they were a bit tough, so I had my doubts.....this dish smelled delicious and was easy to prepare, her writing style for this recipe at least was very easy to follow. The only real change was that I did not have any of the whole spices so I just used everything else minus those. The final dish was excellent, the meat was very tender and the onion sauce was excellent, next time I will double the onions and make a bit more sauce so I have extra for leftovers. I also threw in last nights leftover chop, and they improved quite a bit. This would be a great company dish as you can pretty much put it in the oven and walkaway, minus one or two turns of the meat. This is definitely on my make again list!

                                                                                1. re: Westminstress

                                                                                  Moroccan Spice-Rubbed Lamb Shoulder Chops, p. 416

                                                                                  Rave reviews! I made it with boneless lamb shoulder cut into pieces instead of lamb shoulder chops (because that's what I bought at the store, without having a specific recipe in mind). I made her spice mix exactly as directed, toasted whole spices and all, but then worried that I didn't have enough, since I had a lot of surface area with the shoulder cut into stew pieces, so I sprinkled the chunks with an additional tablespoon or so of a commercial ras el hanout mix.

                                                                                  I was cooking for a guest who can't have dairy or onions, so I used olive oil instead of the butter, and a bunch of chopped celery and carrots for the onion. After browning, etc., I let it braise for about 1 1/2 hrs. The three of us consumed almost the entire 2 lbs of lamb -- yum!

                                                                                  I do adore this cookbook!

                                                                                  1. re: Karen_Schaffer

                                                                                    So excited to read this. Just this afternoon I bookmarked this recipe and made a note to see if I could get the butcher to cut shoulder chops to the minimum 3/4" thickness she recommends. But it seems to work with just about any inexpensive (I know; I mean comparatively) cut of lamb. What did you serve it with? Couscous?

                                                                                    1. re: JoanN

                                                                                      Since my guest was also wheat sensitive (poor guy, he's a major foodie with a multitude of sensitivities, drives him crazy!), I served it with some porcini brown rice, which was lovely. But yes, couscous, or any grainy starch, would have been great. Lots of yummy juices that need to be captured.

                                                                                    2. re: Karen_Schaffer

                                                                                      mmm...i've never made this recipe though I use this book a lot. I have some shoulder chops in the freezer that I've taken out to make this for dinner tonight. Thanks for resurrecting this thread and giving me a dinner idea!

                                                                                      1. re: ziggylu

                                                                                        I hope you like it, I am looking forward to making it again! This was only the second recipe I made from this book, other was the braised cabbage, but what a success as well! Glad you all picked this book....:)

                                                                                        1. re: geminigirl

                                                                                          Yes, we enjoyed it a lot. I made it with an eggplant and tomato salad from the Arabesque cookbook and some couscous with almonds and apricots.

                                                                                          I confess to adapting the recipe a bit however. I have ras-al-hanout in my kitchen so i used that rather than making the spice rub in the recipe. I also didn't let the rub sit for 12 hours so I put a little extra of the spice blend in with the onions to boost the flavor some. It was a delicious dish! (I order my ras-al-hanout from World Spice in Seattle if anyone is looking for some).

                                                                                          I also liked how little prep on this recipe....perfect for the "busy" days!

                                                                                          1. re: ziggylu

                                                                                            Oh, right, I totally forgot the bit about letting spice-rubbed meat sit for hours! I don't think my meat got more that 30 minutes, tops. Yet it was still delicious. Had the leftovers tonight, yum!

                                                                                      2. re: Karen_Schaffer

                                                                                        I adore this book as well. Even when I don't make her recipes exactly as she printed them, I use them often for inspiration. Since I modify the recipes pretty freely, I haven't been posting reviews, but this is one of my most used cookbooks during the winter months.

                                                                                      3. re: Westminstress

                                                                                        Moroccan Spice-Rubbed Lamb Shoulder Chops, p. 416

                                                                                        So. Am I going to be the first person to have made the recipe exactly as written? ;-)

                                                                                        I found really beautiful--and expensive--inch-thick blade chops at Fairway (Yes, Westminstress, arm chops are indeed shoulder chops as are blade chops, since both are cut from the shoulder.) and marinated them for a full 24 hours. I'm a total sucker for lamb of any kind and I thought these were just marvelous. Very definitely going to make them again.

                                                                                        I will not, however, serve them with the "100% natural" (are tocopherols natural?) "cooks in five minutes" "roasted garlic & olive oil" couscous "mix" that someone who stayed in my apartment for a while left behind. Gack! Vile stuff. I should have known better.

                                                                                      4. Chicken and Pork Adobado pg. 144

                                                                                        While this recipe is technically in the poultry chapter, Stevens say that one may make this with either all chicken or all pork, and since I made this with all pork, here goes!

                                                                                        This recipe calls for country-style pork ribs and that is what I used. They are marinated for either one hour at room temperature or 2 hours in the fridge. The marinade is fairly simple: garlic, white wine vinegar, water, soy sauce, lime zest, brown sugar and salt and pepper. I didn't have white wine vinegar and couldn't find it in our local grocery, so substituted regular white with a bit of cider. (Had slighlty less white than called for.) The marinade and the ribs go into a gallon zip-lock bag, and should be turned every 20 minutes.

                                                                                        Then you dump the contents of the bag into your pan, bring it to a bubble and then cover and braise on the stove. Every 10 to 15 minutes you turn the meat over so it will braise evenly. The braising time is actually quite short - only 45 to 50 minutes. Based on my previous experiences with country-style ribs, this didn't seem long enough, but it was.

                                                                                        After the initial braise, the ribs are removed to a platter and the sauce skimmed of fat. There was a whole lot of fat! I removed 3/4 cup and so there wasn't much sauce left to reduce. While the sauce is reducing, the ribs are dried off and then browned in a bit of oil. They are then returned to the reduced sauce to coat them.

                                                                                        When the ribs first came out of the braising pan, they looked pretty gray, but the final browning really prettied them up.

                                                                                        These smelled delicious while cooking. The lime really came through nicely and the flavor was wonderful, although the ribs themselves weren't as "falling apart " and tender as with other methods I've used. But this was a nice change for us and fairly quick and simple to make for a weeknight. The chowpup thought they were delicious. the chowpup is eating really well this week...

                                                                                        1. Pork Pot Roast with Apricots, Cardamom, & Ginger, p. 350

                                                                                          OMG, delicious! Pork shoulder is braised with leek, carrots, onion, cardamom, turmeric, cayenne, ginger, garlic, orange zest, bay leaves, cognac, white wine, stock, and apricots.

                                                                                          Pork shoulder is seasoned with S&P then browned in olive oil in a leisurely manner, taking 15- 20 minutes. This means around 4-5 on my electric range. I used a 2 1/2 lb piece instead of the 4 1/2 - 5 lb called for, but used the full amount of the remainder of the ingredients.

                                                                                          Remove the pork, remove some fat if needed (I left it all, not that much there), then add 1 medium leek chopped, 2 carrots chopped, 1 onion chopped, 6 cardamom pods hulled and seeds crushed, 1/2 tsp ground turmeric, and 1/4 tsp gr cayenne. Cook until softened but before they take on color, which is a pretty funny instruction since there's turmeric and cayenne involved, but I know what she meant. Then add ginger, garlic, orange zest, garlic, and bay leaf/leaves (I used 2 fresh leaves), and cook for a couple more minutes.

                                                                                          Add 1 tbsp of brandy (she says apricot brandy or cognac, but all I had was cheap brandy) and "boil until reduced by half." WTF!?! That tbsp was gone as soon as it hit the pan. Whatever. Then add 1/2 c dry white wine and boil for 4 min, add stock (I used vegetable stock with a touch of beef stock instead of chicken), bring to boil, add apricots (I cut them in halves), boil 2 min.

                                                                                          Braise at 325 (I set my oven for 300 because I don't trust it), with parchment paper over the meat. She says turn the pork every 30 minutes, but I only turned it once, about midway. Braise for 2 hrs, let rest. Reduce sauce if needed, but mine was fine as it was.

                                                                                          Yum, yum, absolutely delicious. It was hard to slice it into 1/2 inch slice as directed because it simply collapsed under the knife. I might increase the cardamom just a bit, but the flavors were lovely as they were. The cayenne created a faint kick in the back, not enough to call hot, just a little nudge. I would totally make this for a company dinner sometime. I served it with wheat berries and a green salad.

                                                                                          And I'm looking forward to the leftovers!

                                                                                          5 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: Karen_Schaffer

                                                                                            Oh - you just added that to my list! I've been so behind with COTM, but this week made the Filipino Pork and Chicken Adobo (report to follow).

                                                                                            Now I'm planning on your pork pot roast after Thanksgiving. Sounds delicious!

                                                                                            1. re: Karen_Schaffer

                                                                                              Sounds really good. No apricots at this time of year though for me - could you make it without?

                                                                                              1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                Sorry, I left out that they're dried apricots, so any time of the year will do. Have at it!

                                                                                              2. re: Karen_Schaffer

                                                                                                I made Pork Pot Roast with Apricots, Cardamom, & Ginger last night and it was amazing. A little spicier than I had imagined it would be -- just fyi.

                                                                                                I used a pork loin roast I had bought at Trader Joe's and I didn't bother tying it. I was worried it would be dry (you know how loin can be) but it was moist and wonderful in the braise. I swapped out dried apricots and used apricot preserves instead. Also used chicken stock and a water combination.

                                                                                                I did flip and spoon some sauce over the top every 30 minutes. But even at 300 degrees mine was still bubbling pretty ferociously. I was going to lower the stove even still but didn't. I have found that it's damn near impossible to get a gentle simmer going on my stovetop or in the oven, like she recommends, yet still everything turns out delish.

                                                                                                Served with jasmine rice a boston bibb salad. Definitely recommend.

                                                                                                1. re: isadorasmama

                                                                                                  Wow. That sounds wonderful. I'll have to bookmark that page.

                                                                                              3. Country-Style Pork Ribs Braised with Chipotle, Roasted Tomatoes & Red Peppers (pg 367)

                                                                                                This recipe was delicious. I like hot & spicy so used 3 chipotles. Cut back to 2 or even 1 if you don't. I did take Molly's advice and added a teaspoon of sugar to compensate for just okay supermarket tomatoes. I used bone-in ribs; my experience has been that boneless tend to dry out.

                                                                                                The downside to the recipe was it took some time. It calls for roasting the red pepper, garlic and tomatoes; then making a puree with chipotles; followed by browning the ribs, softening chopped onions, simmering the puree in the onions. All this before braising.

                                                                                                Then roasting the ribs in a 350 degree oven uncovered for another 30 minutes so don't be misled by the 1 1/4 hour braising time listed. Roasting did a nice job caramelizing the meat. Next time I'll add more than a 1/4 of water into the puree cause I would have liked a thinner sauce.

                                                                                                Anyway, fall-off-the-bone tender. Today pork tacos with the leftovers. Country-style ribs have proven to be a good inexpensive cut that I used to ignore before I learned to braise.

                                                                                                6 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: bizkat

                                                                                                  I've been wondering what the equivalent of "country-style pork ribs" are in the UK but have yet to find an answer. Does anyone happen to know what I should ask my butcher for?

                                                                                                  1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                    They aren't really ribs but come from the pork shoulder. Here's a recent thread that discusses them:


                                                                                                    1. re: bizkat

                                                                                                      Very helpful, thanks. I suspect they're what we call shoulder steaks.

                                                                                                  2. re: bizkat

                                                                                                    This was my first recipe from the book, and it was a keeper. I also used 3 chipotles and thought the heat was perfect, but anyone with less spice tolerance should respect those spicy little chipotles and go with 1 or 2 as suggested in the recipe.

                                                                                                    Next time I make this, I am going to use Muir Glen fire roasted tomatoes and TJ's jarred roasted peppers to see if it makes that much of a difference -- I think the roasting vegetables step is a bit time consuming for a weeknight meal. As it was my first time using this book, I followed every step exactly. Except for the part where it says to move the ribs into a gratin dish covered with parchment and foil for braising. My braising pot is 12" across so I did everything in that one pot -- the three ribs fit comfortably in one layer. I did not use parchment or foil, just slapped the lid on top. The pot is only 4" high, so I figured the "headroom" issue was not such a big deal. (It is a 6.75 LC wide round)

                                                                                                    I checked the ribs after 1 hr 15 min -- not fork tender. The liquid was at a rather furious boil, so I dropped the temp 10 degrees and let it go for another 20 minutes. Magic! Fall off the bone goodness.

                                                                                                    We went with the pork tacos option (with homemade pickled cabbage, homemade salsa, roasted red pepper, and cilantro). Between two hungry adults we managed to get through only one of the 3 ribs that made up the 2.5 lbs total. This stuff is pretty rich. So we have plenty of leftovers.

                                                                                                    Very happy with this book; all the stellar reviews seem more than justified. Plan to make the famous Porter short ribs dish for Christmas!

                                                                                                    1. re: crimcard

                                                                                                      I made these country style ribs tonight, and crimcard, I did "cheat" and used jarred roasted red peppers and a can of fire roasted tomatoes. It was still delicious! I think the robust chipotle flavor masked my "cheat", you should try it and let me know how they compare since I'm not going to bother ever doing the long way when the easy way came out so well.

                                                                                                      I used the liquid from the can of tomatoes, so pureeing was easy and didn't require the addition of water. Also, since I didn't roast the veggies, I sauteed the garlic with the onion after browning the meat.

                                                                                                      I served this with cuban style black beans and rice and it was divine. DH and I ate 3 of the 5 ribs, we're usually not gluttons, but it was THAT good. Here's some pics during and after cooking.

                                                                                                    2. re: bizkat

                                                                                                      Country-Style Pork Ribs Braised with Chipotle, Roasted Tomatoes & Red Peppers (pg 367)
                                                                                                      I used canned tomatoes and no need for sugar. I roasted the red pepper, garlic and even attempted to roast the drained tomatoes. I gave up on the tomatoes.
                                                                                                      Wonderful ribs and sauce. I liked it with just rice, but loved it with rice, lettuce, chopped fresh tomatoes with pita bread (no tortillas around).

                                                                                                    3. Pork Braised in Milk, p. 346

                                                                                                      I made this for friends the other night, and all at the table loved it. I will definitely do this again. I had made pork braised in milk before, using other recipes--Hazan's as well as a sim ilar one by Gabrielle Hamilton--but this was definitely the most successful--well-seasoned, succulent, tender, and the caramelly milk sauce, divine.

                                                                                                      I followed the recipe pretty much to a tee: used a pork loin roast of just under 2 1/2 lbs, stuffed it with garlic slivers and seasoned with the fresh sage, fennel seed, salt, and pepper mixture, browned it well in an oval enameled cast iron dutch oven, and transferred to plate, poured off exceess oil, sauteed a smashed garlic clove briefly and added 1 1/4 c. milk--and a fresh sage leaf for good measure--,brought it all to a boil and then lowered it to a simmer for 5 minutes. I then returned the meat to the pot, covered it, and transferred it to a 275-degree oven, where it braised for 45 minutes. Then I turned the meat, basted w/the lovely sauce, and put the cover on, slightly ajar as directed, and continued to cook for another 35 minutes, when I realized it was already at 158 internal temp--earlier than I expected--so I removed it from the oven and tented it separately while I finished the rest of the meal. (Next time, I'll check it earlier and remove it at 150; I wouldn't have minded if the meat were just barely pink in the middle.) The sauce in the bottom of the dutch oven was still very liquidy, with lots of curd, so I reduced it stovetop for about five minutes. I then added one or two T. of cream, squeezed half a small lemon over it, and used my immersion blender to smooth out the sauce (a step that isn't necessary, but we liked the result).
                                                                                                      Even though I thought the pork very slightly overcooked, it was delicious; the sauce had beautiful flavor; everfyone had seconds. I served this with a fabulous bread stuffing made w/chanterelles, leeks, and pear, glazed baby brussels sprouts, and a green salad featuring radishes, beets, and blue cheese.

                                                                                                      This recipe is perfect for a dinner party as almost the meat is prepared ahead, and the meat can braise w/little attention as guests are settling in and having drinks and hors d'ouevres.

                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                      1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                                                        Pork Braised in Milk, p. 346
                                                                                                        I pre salted and seasoned the pork and used a peeler to slice garlic. I used dried sage. I am sure it would have been even better with fresh. I left out fennel because I don't always like it. This turned out really well and I used the warmed leftovers for sandwiches with cole slaw - always love a great sandwich and lunch.

                                                                                                      2. Chicken and Pork Adobo - Philippine-style Braised Chicken & Pork, p. 143

                                                                                                        I love adobo and make it a couple of times a year (always trying to recreate a friend's chicken and okra adobo which I can never replicate). This was a good one, though I like it with a bit more vinegar. (See clamscasino's post above for recipe details - I meant to attach this review to hers).

                                                                                                        I especially liked the tip of frying the braised pieces of meat in oil for a crispy crust. I used chicken thighs and thick meaty country-style ribs from the local Mexican market that I cut into chunks, and braised for a bit longer, maybe an hour and 15 minutes.

                                                                                                        I reduced the sauce too much, to more of a glaze. I like my adobo with more sauce, so for lunches (with steamed rice and spicy cucumber salad), I heated up the pieces in more vinegar and soy.

                                                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                                                        1. re: Rubee

                                                                                                          Rubee, I very much concur that THERE SHOULD BE MORE SAUCE! i can't wait to make this again, this time with all chicken thighs. I would think that merely adding more vinegar would throw off the delicate balance of flavors in this recipe. I think that next time I will simply increase the quantity of the marinade.

                                                                                                          Since the thread "Obsessed with Chicken Adobo" appeared here this summer, I have been making it about every six weeks. Steven's recipe is quite different than the OP's of that thread. I'll have to go find that thread again...I feel a quest coming on. I want to try lots of variations, as long as they are all more or less "authentic." Too bad I really don't know what that means,

                                                                                                          1. re: clamscasino

                                                                                                            Here's that thread - I have it bookmarked. : ) I'll have to read it through again - any favorites?

                                                                                                            When I was younger, I had a Filipino friend who was a fantastic cook. She also had a restaurant (not Filipino). One night she had me over for dinner and made the best chicken adobo with okra. We've lost touch over the years, and I've tried to figure it out - it had just the right blend of soy and vinegar, and I loved the addition of okra. I haven't tried it with palm vinegar yet, though. I've Googled to try to figure it out, but adobo with okra doesn't seem to be very common. One of these days...

                                                                                                            1. re: Rubee

                                                                                                              Thanks for the link. i did actually find and re-read it after posting that this morning. Also, I perused the Wikiedia entry that Caitlin McGrath linked to. In the section on Wiki on "External Links" there are some interesting variations and the "classic."

                                                                                                              Conclusions based on research: the ratio of vinegar to soy sauce should more classically be one to one. (I found there to be a bit too much soy in the OP's recipe - so far the only other one I've tried.)

                                                                                                              Most recipes include ginger. The OP's did not.

                                                                                                              There appear to many differences in the amounts of garlic used. Also the volume of the liquid varies.

                                                                                                              And, it appears that the sauce is very commonly reduced to just a "glaze." But I love having that sauce over rice....

                                                                                                              Didn't note okra anywhere....but that's okay. Heck, I add peas to mine. Makes for a lovely one-dish meal.

                                                                                                        2. Herb-Stuffed Leg of Lamb Braised in Red Wine, p. 419

                                                                                                          Boneless leg of lamb is spread with chopped herbs, shallot, garlic, and allspice, then rolled back up. Braised with onion, carrots, tomato paste, bay leaves, red wine, and stock in the usual way.

                                                                                                          I served this for a dinner party last night, and it was a hit. Not a scrap left. The sauce was particularly nice. The meat was totally tender -- once again, it was hard to cut into slices because it was so tender. I ended up partly cutting and partly just letting it fall into chunks as it pleased, then I poured the sauce over the top. Lovely.

                                                                                                          She calls for a 5 lb boneless leg, but mine was not quite 3 lbs. I used the full amounts of the herb and sauce ingredients anyhow. It made the herb stuffing generous, but I liked it, and every lick of the sauce got eaten. If I made a 5 lb leg, I think I would increase all of the sauce ingredients at least half again.

                                                                                                          For herbs I used mostly sage & mint, with a single sprig of rosemary, plus the parsley. I was generous with the sage & mint even though my piece of meat was smaller than called for, but no matter, it came out fine. I didn't bother adding the extra teaspoon of herbs called for in the braise section because there was excess that dribbled out of the leg, so I just added that when I put the leg back in the pot. I guess if you're really neat about rolling your leg, you'd need to explicitly reserve a teaspoon.

                                                                                                          I prepared it the day before as she says can be done, because I figured it would give the flavors a chance to penetrate, but mostly because it made my life easier. I used my *new* round Creuset (early xmas present) for it, which was a perfect size. I forgot to baste or turn the lamb at all, but it came out okay anyhow.

                                                                                                          She calls for straining the juices before reducing them, but the chunks of carrot looked so pretty, I left them in and just removed the parsley stems and bay leaves (next time I should tie the parsley stems together to make them easier to remove). She also says to remove the excess fat because there will be a lot, but there didn't seem to be, curiously. (I just asked DH, who does the dishes, and he doesn't think the Creuset or serving platter were particularly greasy.) I poured sauce, with carrot chunks, over the sliced/chunked meat, which wasn't as elegant as pouring a little strained juices and passing the rest, but made it easy, and the sliced carrots were very festive.

                                                                                                          I served it with a Trader Joe's rice medley and the Gujerati grated carrot salad from Jaffrey (which everyone also loved).

                                                                                                          11 Replies
                                                                                                          1. re: Karen_Schaffer

                                                                                                            :::Sigh:::: I've bookmarked this thread, as I recently picked up this cookbook, and so many of these recipes sound wonderful!

                                                                                                            Problem is, most of these recipes serve upwards of 6-8 people, which is just too much for little ol' me that I'm cooking for.

                                                                                                            So I will have to continue to virtually eat through your reviews, as I won't be able to make the dishes as often as I want - otherwise, I'll be eating leftovers for weeks and months! But I'm determined to choose something from this cookbook for some Sunday cooking this weekend.

                                                                                                            1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                              Linda... Just halve the recipe. I've been doing that right along for just the 2 of us and if there are any leftovers, you get double enjoyment.

                                                                                                              1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                I'm usually good at halving recipes, Gio....I guess I just think of braised/stewed dishes as always being larger cuts of meat which tends to put me off making them. Perhaps if I go directly to the meat guy at the counter and ask for a roast of X lbs. instead of trying to find the smallest one available in the case.

                                                                                                                I'm determined to sit down tonight and choose something to make. It's just beginning to be the "right" weather for it. :-)

                                                                                                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                  Oh I knew you'd be good at adjusting recipes as soon as I hit Reply. Yesterday at Tendercrop we bought some wonderful chicken thighs and then I saw a lean pork roast I wanted but it looked too big. The fellow at the meat counter offered to slice it in half and now it's 1.35 lbs. (that's one of the perks for shmoosing the butcher and fish monger...) Perfect for the Chicken and Pork Adobo I'm dying to try. Good luck with your foray into the braising book!!

                                                                                                                  1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                    NICE schmooze! (My mother love Tendercrop as well!) Drat - I'd rather be home going through the cookbook then here at work! LOL

                                                                                                              2. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                Linda, I have been making most of the recipes with half the meat for the 2 of us, which means one main meal, another leftovers meal, and maybe some to put in the freezer for later (I don't think we eat as much meat as her recipes allocate). Though I don't halve the liquid ingredients usually, or maybe just cut it down a little. I figure if I have leftover sauce, I can use it with something else, like mushrooms, vegetables, or chicken breast, for a new dish. But we usually eat it all with the main anyhow. Guess we like it saucy.

                                                                                                                The trick to cutting the recipes down is to have a small enough braising pot so that the meat is fairly closely confined and the braising liquid comes about halfway up. You'd have to watch the timing and check that not too much liquid has evaporated, but the recipes are forgiving. Do experiment!

                                                                                                                1. re: Karen_Schaffer

                                                                                                                  Thanks, Karen! I do have a Le Crueset braiser (or another brand *very* similar) that I've never used (bought on deep discount from Amazon) that might fit the bill...I'll have to check it at home, but I think it's a 2-1/4 qt. braising pot like this:


                                                                                                                  Thanks again - don't know why I was so reticent. I just think "roasts" and think of what my Mom used to cook to feed five of us and then have at least one round of leftovers for everyone. I've done that in the past, but there's only so much pot roast one can eat in a week. :-)

                                                                                                                  1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                    Also, many of the vegetable recipes can be easily halved or consumed as is. I can easily eat eat the World's Best Cabbage by myself over 2 days.

                                                                                                                    1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                      Heh, I grew up in a family of seven, so I know what you mean. It took me years to figure out how to cook for just one or two. I also had no experience with cuts of meat, since what we kids cooked were daily meals usually involving hamburger or tuna (many casseroles), and my parents were in charge if actual chunks of meat (even chicken) were involved.

                                                                                                                      I have a braising pot like that one (maybe a size or two up), and it's great for chicken pieces or cuts that are wider than tall. You might want something like the round French oven, though, for some recipes, because it's taller but not as wide. I've been using a large oval for a lot of recipes, but I could tell that it really was wider than ideal for some. So I just got a smaller round (from an outlet store, because I don't care about cosmetic imperfections), and I love it.


                                                                                                                      1. re: Karen_Schaffer

                                                                                                                        I have a Farberware dutch oven that's slightly larger (both taller and rounder) than the linked Le Creuset that I noted above, so I'm good there for when I do want to make more.

                                                                                                                  2. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                    I bet you could make the pear stuffed chicken with a Cornish Game Hen. That would be a lovely Sunday dinner for one. But do make the pear garnish with two pears as called for. They are reeeeaaaaallly gooood!

                                                                                                                2. "Country-Style Pork Ribs Braised With Mango, Lime and Coconut" page 363
                                                                                                                  Just finished dinner with DH:) He is smiling (good sign! ) and one of my fav from this book. Used 3.7 pounds of boneless ribs left us (two) well enough leftovers for tomorrow. The amount of the ingredience nicely fit to my 3.5 qt LC buffet/casserole. Garnished with minced Cilantro to add refleshness and served with steamed rice. Perfect! I will cook this again when I invite friends.

                                                                                                                  1. Country-style boneless pork ribs from Costco

                                                                                                                    This isn't a recipe review, but I wanted to add a comment about country-style boneless pork ribs. She says she's had bad luck with them, that they get dry no matter what she does. I have a suspicion that different stores sell different cuts as 'country-style boneless pork ribs.' I bought a package at Costco the other day, because the fine print said they were from the shoulder. Pork shoulder + braising = yum, I figured. And indeed, they were! So don't swear off all country-style boneless pork ribs. There might be a treat in store.

                                                                                                                    Btw, since I was cooking for a crowd, I decided to brown the meat in the oven rather than having to do multiple batches in my Creuset. That worked beautifully too! I think I'm going to use that trick a lot in the future. I rendered a bit of the trimmed fat to saute the onions in while the meat browned, so I still got some fond.

                                                                                                                    1. Cabbage Rolls Stuffed with Pork and Sauerkraut p. 399

                                                                                                                      I made this because I had a lot of cabbage. Not a fast dish, but not difficult. It was great even though I screwed up by partially cooking the rice in plain water instead of with onion, butter (both I added after the partial cooking) and chicken broth (I added several Tablespoons of stock to filling). After making the filling of ground pork and beef, the rice, egg, salt, nutmeg, thyme, I cooked a little and tasted it and so added some salt and the paprika she has as a variation.
                                                                                                                      The vegetable sauce of onions, carrots, celery, remaining cabbage, sauerkraut, tomatoes, pepper, paprika, and bacon is wonderful. Vegetables are cooked in the rendered bacon fat in stages. I added salt maybe because I used uncured bacon. I felt it was needed.

                                                                                                                      Fill the cabbage leaves removed from the whole cabbage and layer the stuffed cabbages with the vegetable sauce and braise for 1.5 hours (I needed two baking containers and I really don't know what I did wrong.) Mine took 2 hours because I felt the sauce was not quite done at 1.5. I it is great dish and it microwaves beautifully.

                                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                                      1. re: mscoffee1

                                                                                                                        Thanks for reporting on this. It sounds like a dish from my childhood. Adding it to the ever-growing "to try" list.

                                                                                                                        1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                          From my childhood too.
                                                                                                                          I remember making stuffed cabbage with my mother when I could not yet reach the counter and I liked it then, but this is more. We stand on the shoulders ....