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Feb 9, 2007 07:47 AM

Braising newbie question

I'm doing braised short ribs next week so I decided to do a trial run last night using Daniel Boulud's recipe ( I've been reading up on braising and reading several other sources, which leads to my question - why does the recipe call for SO MUCH STOCK? You reduce the wine by half, which leaves you with 1.5qts. But the recipe also calls for an add'l 3qts unsalted beef broth, which seems excessive - shouldn't the liquid only be 3/4 up the meat in the Dutch oven? Someone help me out. Can someone help me out? Thanks.

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  1. I've never braised ribs so may be entirely wrong but I thought I'd chip in! When I do stews and lamb shanks and things, I find that the meat above the liquid line can dry out/be less tender than the meat in the liquid.

    1 Reply
    1. re: ali patts

      That seems to make some sense, and actually my meat was completely submerged since there was more than enough liquid. They're resting in the frig and really tender! Still don't know the deal about only partially submerging though...

    2. Braising and stewing are two culinary terms that are not one and the same. When braising, the meat is usually kept in large portions, and should not be totally submerged in liquid. When making a stew, however, the meat, which is cut into smaller-sized pieces, and the vegetables are totally submerged in liquid.

      Unfortunately, I am unable to take a look at the recipe, because epicurious has "moved things around."

      1 Reply
      1. My understanding of braising is that because of the high heat and the long cook time, you need a lot of broth to ensure your meat doesn't dry out. But I've found that it's not necessarily true that you add it all in the beginning. Does the recipe say anything about checking on the meat and adding broth as needed?

        4 Replies
        1. re: singleguychef

          Braising doesn't include high heat. Good braising should be done with hardly simmering liquid over long time. And the meat doesn't dry out because you should use meat which fits nicely into your dutch oven but doesn't leave much room so that the liquid consenses easily at the lid and drips on your meat and avoiding that it is drying out. For braising you should use a minimum amount of liquid. In addition you shouldn't add new liquid during the braising because you will dilute the broth and weakening the otherwise concentrated taste of your broth. What your are describing is more stewing which is completely different from braising.

          1. re: honkman

            Stewing is not done at high heat either, however, but at the same "hardly simmering liquid over long time" as a braise.

            If you have a lot of "head room" the best solution is to place a large piece of parchment paper directly on top of the braising ingredients, making sure to totally enclose all sides of the interior of the pot with paper. The lid is applied after the parchment is put into place. Braising and stewing are always done in covered vessels.

            Braising calls for more than a minimal amount of liquid. There should be enough liquid to come about 1/2 to 2/3 up the thickness of the meat.

            1. re: FlavoursGal

              With minimal amount of liquid I meant enough liquid to come to about 2/3 of the meat but not more. I should have worded it better. And stewing is not done at high heat but at higher heat than braising. (At least I am doing it that way)
              And there is also braising done with out covered vessels, e.q. some recipes of Beef Rendang

            2. re: honkman

              you're right. Not sure why I thought of high heat.

          2. The recipe suggested 350 degrees for 2.5hrs, however I found that I had to keep them in longer and I will probably turn down the knob maybe 25 degrees. I did use too much beef broth and submerged the ribs, which I won't do next time.

            One question - do you normally take out the veggies after the braise and cool, or do you cool with the veg in and then reduce the braising liquid? I left them in and drained when cooled, but I didn't know if this was the "proper" technique.

            1. If the dutch oven seals well, you don't need a lot of liquid to compensate for condensation. Also some meats produce quite a bit of juice themselves.

              For example I used to buy seasoned pork buts ('porcheta'), wrap them in foil, and cook at 325 for 3 or so hours. The meat was tender and moist, with a cup or two of juices remaining in the foil pouch. Alton's pot roast recipe is similar.