Braised Meats - Home Cooking Dish of the Month for November 2013
What a perfect idea for a chilly month! And what a lot of possibilities. I can't wait to read about your braised meat dishes. Please share your recipes, your techniques, your outcomes, and of course, your photos!
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OK, let's get braising!
Braising (from the French “braiser”) is a combination cooking method using both moist and dry heat; typically the food is first seared at a high temperature and then finished in a covered pot with a variable amount of liquid, resulting in a particular flavor. Braising of meat is often referred to as pot roasting, though some authors make a distinction between the two methods based on whether additional liquid is added.
Stews are similar to soups, and in some cases there may not be a clear distinction between the two. Generally, stews have less liquid than soups, are much thicker and require longer cooking over low heat. While soups are almost always served in a bowl, stews may be thick enough to be served on a plate with the gravy as a sauce over the solid ingredients.
Looks like the main difference is whether or not you brown meat first. Well, I either brown or roast before adding liquid when making soups, stews and braises. Does that mean that I only make braises even if I think of it as soup? Very confused, time for bed :)
Most recently - braised lamb neck fillet.
2 large fillets, around 400 gms in total
250 mls red wine(I used a cheap cab sav)
250 mls beef stock
2 decent sticks of rosemary*
A stick of thyme*
4 or 5 whole black peppercorns
2 dried bay leaves
2 large cloves of garlic, peeled, left whole, lightly smashed
1 red onion, peeled and quartered
Oil and salt for seasoning the meat
*What I call a "stick" of these herbs is a piece from my plants, around three - four inches long with a healthy amount of leaves. Still doesn't explain it, right?
I oiled and seasoned the lamb fillets and then seared until well browned in a deep, heavy based pan
Tucked the garlic, onion, herbs and peppercorns around the meat
Poured in around 2/3rds of each liquid
Covered and left at a gentle simmer on the hob for 2.5 - 3 hours - I did gently turn the meat 3 - 4 times during the cooking as it wasn't covered by the liquid. Topped up the liquid when I thought too much had evaporated.
When the meat was done, I removed it from the pan, strained the liquid and reduced it for the sauce. Served with mashed potatoes and creamed leeks.
I have earmarked many recipes in All About Braising by Molly Stevens
My first assignment is to read Principles of Braising.
I have the book but have not read or prepared recipe from it
My 26 year old grandson taught me a new trick in brewing chili.
I now braised chuck roast in beer at a low temperature like about 200 degrees. It braises overnight so that I can shred and chop it in the morning. The meat is very tender. The braising liquid is reserved in a jar in the fridge for a couple of hours until the fat has risen to the top of the jar. The fat is discarded.
A large cast iron Dutch oven is then used to make chili. Yes, it sounds like a lot of work, but the resulting chili is worth the effort. BTW, I'm retired. Usually there is enough chili for 5 lunches stored in 5 plastic contains and kept in the freezer.