New takes on simple braising meals
One of my favorite and deceptively simple meals is a braised chicken breast with a thyme cream sauce.
I take a skinless, boneless chicken breast (sometimes I add chicken gizzards for a twist)seasoned with salt and pepper and sear it in oil in a hot dutch oven until it turns brown on both sides. I then add a shallot and mushrooms and cook them about five minutes (you can leave the breast in the pot if you have room).
I deglaze with a splash of white wine and then add about a cup of chicken stock. Throw it into a 350-degree oven for about thirty minutes. Take the dutch oven out and remove the breast to rest. I put the leftover stock and mushrooms on a high heat burner. Add a tablespoon of dijon mustard, some fresh thyme leaves, and a splash of half-and-half. Reduce and pour over the breast.
The prep time is minimal and once the breast is done...you just have to reduce the sauce. It always comes out tender and the sauce is lick your plate good.
The problem is I've been cooking this too often and getting kind of bored with it. Does anyone have any other braising type recipes using any kind of meat (pork, veal, beef, etc.) that are as simple as this? I love to come home from work, do a little quick prep--throw it in the oven while I go through the mail, feed the pets, etc. and then--voila--a nice simple dinner.
Basically, I'm looking for a sear--cook in oven--reduce stock type of equation. Thanks!
I just braised a boneless pork shoulder and that came out very well. I just cut the thing in about 4 pieces, browned them in a dutch oven, then put them in the oven at about 350 for maybe 3 or 4 hours with half a can of crushed tomatoes, some bay leaf, oregano, onion, celery. If I had had a bunch of mushrooms I would have tossed them in as well.
I like to eat it with pasta...
I think the real question is how much other prep you want to do -- chicken Cacciatore is much more of the classic braise, where the extended cooking time helps make the bone-in thighs fall apart tender -- http://www.foodnetwork.com/food/recipes/recipe/0,1977,FOOD_9936_28252,00.html
For something much faster switch to a protein that cooks far more quickly: http://dine52.com/blog/archives/braised-talapia-with-scallions
The cuts of beef/pork that one typically would braise are not going to cook in 30 minutes. And if you were substitute the tender, quick cooking cuts of beef or pork you'd be both doing them a disservice by over cooking them AND not getting as flavorful a sauce as would result from the longer cooking and partial decomposition of the meat's collagen into gelatin (and you'd give up the meat thickened sauce too).
While you can call what you are doing braising,by using skinless boneless breasts you are not using the technique to tenderize the meat & thicken the sauce, which I would argue is the whole magic of braising.
I'm sure that the sauce you make is quite good, but that is largely due to the additions of mustard and dairy. Classic braised beef or pork dishes generally rely on the meat to cook a long time (2-3 hrs...) and start with only thin liquids such a osso bucco in wine or pork shoulder in cider...
Wow, those are some great looking recipes. The tilapia is perfect for a quick after work meal and the pork and osso bucco sound delicious for a Sunday dinner. I'll pass on the chicken Cacciatore as my grandmother would never forgive me for not using her old school Italian recipe.