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.
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.
I made a braised lamb stew last weekend after I saw gorgeous and quite meaty lamb bones for stock at the butcher counter as well as nice lamb shoulder for the stew. Started by high heat roasting those meaty bones until nicely browned, then simmered them with veggies for 6 hours to make a rich lamb stock. Then I browned the cubed-up shoulder, sauteed aromatics together with a couple of anchovy fillets for umami, deglazed with red wine, added the lamb stock to almost cover, along with some fresh thyme, and simmered till nice and tender. I had two goals: 4 freezer meals for my father plus dinner for a friend and me. Hence the fairly basic lamb stew. For two freezer meals I added baby lima beans and roasted carrots. For the other two I added oven roasted tomatoes and sauteed artichoke hearts (they taste so much better once browned a bit). I will tell him to add a few frozen baby peas for color when he heats them up, and to serve with mashed potatoes. The remainder of the stew got loads of veggies: oven-roasted carrots, sauteed artichoke hearts, haricots verts, 3 colors of fingerling potatoes, baby peas and a gremolata of chopped fresh parsley, lemon zest and finely chopped garlic on top. Very tasty, if I do say so myself.
Braised Boneless Short Ribs
This is a recipe I adapted from the "Balthazar" cookbook. I made it last weekend and served it with garlic mashed potatoes, green beans and piping hot popovers. To me, this is the quintessential comfort food meal.
4 to 5 pounds beef short ribs, cut flanken-style, if possible, OR boneless short ribs (I get mine at Costco)
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 sprigs rosemary
6 sprigs thyme
2 bay leaves
1/2 ounce dried porcini mushrooms, soaked for 30 minutes in warm water, drained, chopped, liquid reserved.
2 celery stalks, cut into 1-inch pieces
3 carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
4 shallots, peeled and sliced
5 garlic cloves, peeled and halved
3 tablespoons tomato paste
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 bottle full-bodied red wine such as cabernet or zinfandel
4 cups veal stock or beef stock
Preheat the oven to 325°
Dry the meat with paper towels. Season with salt and pepper.
Tie the rosemary, thyme and bay leaves with kitchen twine into a bouquet garni.
Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat until the oil is hot. In 2-3 batches, brown the short ribs well on all sides, about 3 minutes per side, pouring off all but 3 tablespoons of oil between batches. Remove the ribs and set aside when done.
Lower the heat to medium. Add the celery, carrots, onion, shallots and garlic to the pot. Sauté for 5-10 minutes, until the onion is soft and light brown. Stir in the tomato paste and cook for 2 minutes. Add the flour and stir well to combine. Cook for two minutes.
Add the red wine, chopped mushrooms and bouquet garni. Raise heat to medium-high and deglaze, scraping brown bits from the bottom of the pot. Cook until the liquid is reduced by about a third.
Add the stock and strained, reserved mushroom liquid to the pot and stir to mix. Taste and add salt, as necessary. Return the ribs and any accumulated juices to the pot. Ribs may be layered, if necessary. If the liquid in the pot doesn’t cover the ribs by at least 1 inch, add water up to that level.
Bring to a gentle simmer. Place a sheet of parchment paper over the contents of the pot, with the edges of the paper extending over the edges of the pot, and place pot cover on top of the parchment (a Molly Stevens tip for reinforcing the seal of the lid of the pot). Transfer pot to preheated oven and braise for 3 hours. The meat is done when it is fork-tender.
Transfer the ribs to a large platter. Remove the bouquet garni. Skim any fat from the surface of the sauce. Using an immersion blender, puree the gravy.
Return the ribs to the pot, simmer to reheat, and serve.
I made the Chicken Fricassee with mushrooms and fresh baby artichokes from Molly Stevens. This is the first time with the baby artichokes and they are wonderful. Already paraphrase in the thread for this book.
As with all the recipes, from this book that I have made, the low temperature cooking works well. I have learned from this book especially about technique.
I have also made Julia Childs fricassee and it was good too. She had a some variations like adding curry and paprika to the sauce that were excellent.
I made CH femmevox's fabulous braised country-style ribs and greens, first posted here (read comments too): http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7655...
This is one of my favorite braises of all time, with 4 meaty ribs I used 1 bunch collards, 2 bunches kale, 1 bunch scallions and two head of garlic slivered up. I had it last night with yellow rice and lots of chipotle tabasco -- yum! This freezes well so I have 3 more dinners wrapped up in the freezer, waiting....
Braised Pork Shoulder
After selecting ingredients and reading several recipes yesterday, I ended up feeling a bit too tired and under-the-weather to execute it. So Mr. Nightshade actually did all the work on this dish.
The pork was first tied and seared over high heat. Then removed from the pan for searing of onions, carrots, chiles, and garlic. Paprika, cloves, thyme, and oregano went into the onion mixture. When the meat went back into the pot, tomatoes and fresh ginger were added, plus a little bit of Mr. NS's "manly demi-glace." A bit later parsnips were added into the pot, and even later, green beans.
The meat cooked for a bit over two hours total, and came out perfect and delicious. Side benefit, the entire house smelled heavenly!
i actually braise quite a bit, regularly, but i've been remiss. for my first entry on this thread, i went with a pork tenderloin braise. started it last night, searing the tenderloin, removing it, wrapping it in bacon, then braising it in apple brandy and chicken stock. i painted molasses on the bacon slices, added sliced apples to the braising liquid, sprinkled the whole thing with cumin. tonight, heated it up gently then stuck the CI under the broiler to crisp up the bacon.
unfortunately, it was a tad underwhelming. pork wrapped in bacon, painted with molasses, sprinkled with cumin? shouldn't flavor be a given? i think that pork tenderloin is just my least favorite of the pork cuts. it was nice and pink inside still, and juicy, but somehow missing something. bacon gave it a slightly smokey taste, but only slight.... it was tasty enough, but a little blah. i'll stick to pork shoulders from now on.
i've also got some beef short ribs in the freezer i'll braise this weekend.
A Moroccan butcher's near me usually has veal cheeks, for a good price. Obviously, given the amount of chewing bovines do, they'd certainly be chewy (sorry) and tough, but the butcher said they were delicious as a slowly-braised tajine. Any ideas?
They always have lamb neck too, but it is usually pre-sliced horizontally, as that is usually how it is used for tajines and couscous. I'll definitely try the lamb neck meat recipe higher up here.
The other night I made this recipe, which I've made a few times before. http://ellysaysopa.com/2010/08/13/bra... I only had boneless thighs so that's what I used, and just reduced the braising time. I served this time with egg noodles, but it's the best with mashed potatoes. It's quick enough for a weeknight too!
Braised Lamb Shanks in Fennel & Cumin Broth from 660 Curries, pg 186.
This recipe interested me as in the Tip section, the author suggests it is ideal for slow cooker although I ended up cooking it on stove top.
Started with marinating a couple lbs of lamb in yoghurt, ginger, garlic pastes, cayenne, salt & turmeric for a few hours. Heated 2 tbspns (1/4 cup seemed too much) mustard oil and browned the meat for 8-9 minutes, reduced heat, added marinate and cooked further till oil separates. The lamb is removed from the pan, onions added & sautéed in the same pan till soft. Spice blend of coarsely ground fennel, cumin, black cumin, star anise and ground ginger is added. Couple cups of water is added to deglaze the pan. Lamb is returned to the pan. After a boil, the heat is lowered, the lamb is covered with the onion mixture, the pan covered and braised for couple hours, by which time the lamb was tender and falling off the bone. I skipped adding the tbspn of rice flour to thicken the sauce, as I thought it was already perfect consistency to me. I then garnished the lamb with finely chopped mint & cilantro.
The dish was perfect with chapattis as well as rice. so Yum and perfect for this chill weather.
Sorry to be so late to the party, but on Saturday, I did my version of braised short ribs. Dredged short ribs in flour, then browned in DO until brown and crunchy on all sides (took two batches to get this done). Removed and added a little more oil/butter and then sauteed onion and quartered mushrooms till tender. Used 1/2 c. white wine to de-glaze the pan. Added back in the short ribs along with 4 cups beef broth (for some reason, I don't like red wine in this dish). Added a bundle of Thyme, Rosemary, Bay Leaf, tied up. Cooked at 350 in the oven for 2 hours. Added quartered Yukon Gold potatoes and baby carrots. Simmered for another hour in the oven. Removed all from oven and made a flour/water slurry to make some amazing gravy. Oh, dinner was wonderful. Wished I'd have remembered to take a picture. !!!!!! Had leftovers tonight! Nothing left. :)
Ha! I didn't even see that this was the DotM but last night I made an almost painfully easy short-rib braise. Some onions and carrots, herbs de Provence, red wine and stock, a diced tomato and a bay leaf, reduced to gravy thickness after the short ribs were done and some pitted Nicoise olives stirred in right before serving.