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Jun 15, 2011 07:04 PM

Braising Technique

I'm looking at Thomas Keller's Pot-Au-Feu (Braised beef short ribs) from TFL and his Braised Short ribs from Bouchon and Ad Hoc (essentially the same recipe) and I noticed a big difference and would like to know why this is.

TFL - Beef is marinated in the wine and aromatics (alcohol cooked off of course) overnight. This marinade is then used in the braising liquid as is.

Ad Hoc/Bouchon - Red wine is reduced to a glaze with aromatics, then beef stock is added to make the braising liquid.

Why is one reduced and mixed with beef stock, where the other is left at standard consistency and mixed with beef stock?

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  1. Well, they are not the same. The first is a marinade which ultimately becomes the braising liquid, the other is a reduction that is blended with stock to form a braising liquid. Two very different flavor profiles and two very different methods for handling the beef. The lengthy marinate in the wine (which is too long IMO) tenderizes the meat by chemically cooking it in the alcohol. The marinate becomes a blend of meat juices and wine (the liquids balance themselves throughout the marinating period) and the wine therefore becomes a more dominant factor in the flavor of the beef. The other method relies less on the wine flavoring the meet, relying on the stock to combine with the wine - a very different flavor profile.

    2 Replies
    1. re: todao

      I see what you're saying about the flavor profiles, it makes sense. The only thing is that all the alcohol is cooked off in the marinade first. If this weren't done the alcohol would "cook" the exterior of the meat and prevent the marinade from penetrating it very far.

      1. re: schoenfelderp

        This link has the relevant quote from TLC on the effect of alcohol in a marinade