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Cooking with "All About Braising" by Molly Stevens (Part 2)


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#1 kmcg

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Posted 19 January 2007 - 05:07 PM

[Moderator's note: The original topic, Cooking with "All About Braising" by Molly Stevens, became too large for our servers to handle efficiently, so we've divided it up; the preceding part of this discussion is here: Cooking with "All About Braising" by Molly Stevens (Part 1)]

 

 

Hi everyone - I'm a new member who has really enjoyed all the recommendations, descriptions and pictures on this forum. I love the book, and after cooking from it for several months have developed some opinions I will share.

Favorites:

Beef short ribs (using the boneless big ones from Costco, which work great!) using almost any recipe, but especially the maple and rosemary glazed ribs braised in ale, Marlene's red wine recipe, and the book's red wine and porcini mushroom recipe. All are fabulous, even if I skimp on the reduction phase. smile.gif

Chicken with artichokes and mushrooms. I use marinated artichoke hearts because I always have a big jar on hand. I don't do the lighted cognac because I never have that, but the dish is still fantastic. I make it all the time because my kids rave about it.

Braised endive with proscuitto. Yumm! It was most successful with the green endive, not the red, and cooked in a smaller quantity rather than larger. - i.e. for a Thanksgiving crowd.

Coq au vin - a modified version, without pearl onions - was very good.

Rhubarb pot roast was quite good, but so long ago that it's hard to remember and compare. Once I discovered short ribs I sort of gave up on other beef cuts.

Least successful recipe: the cider braised chicken with parsnips. Nobody liked the parsnips, although I'm sure we'd be happy with chicken braised in cider with some other veg. Any ideas?

Favorite cooking vessel: I splurged on a Le Creuset low french oven, or risotto pot, and it's fantastic because it is wide and low. I did 9 pounds of short ribs in it over the weekend, and it worked like a charm. I also like my smaller Staub french oven because of it's black interior finish - nice for browning.

I cook on a four-oven Aga cooker, so it's been interesting finding the right oven to braise in. I would have guessed the simmering oven at 250 degrees would be good, but since Mollie's recipes (the ones I've done, at least) seem to call for 325 degrees, I usually use a rack on the bottom of the baking oven (which is set at 350, but that's theoretically in the middle of the oven). Sometimes I move the pot from one to the other. All in all, it's a style of cooking perfectly suited to an Aga, which is always turned on.

Nice to meet you all, and I look forward to hearing lots more!

Kathy



#2 Jensen

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Posted 19 January 2007 - 08:14 PM

Tonight, I made the short ribs braised in porter with the maple-rosemary glaze. Although I'd talked to my beef farmer about getting English-style short ribs, the processor cut them flanken style again.

Between that and the lower fat content of grass-fed beef, I decided to brown the ribs by roasting them at 450 for 30 minutes. It worked out great; I will never again brown short ribs in a pan!

Here they are, ready for browning:

Posted Image

And the pan right before it went in the oven:

Posted Image

Just before glazing:

Posted Image

And on the plate:

Posted Image

I had read Marlene's comment about braising this recipe at 225 for 4 hours and so I started out along those lines. After an hour, I thought it wasn't simmering quite hard enough so I increased the temperature to 250 and pulled them out of the oven after a total of 3.5 hours.

Porter was no where to be found within walking distance of my house and so I substituted an oatmeal stout. I think it gave a little bitterness to the braising liquid and, although that was softened somewhat when the liquid was reduced, I won't make that substitution again. If, in the future, I can't find a porter, I'll substitute a Chimay dark ale.

I did not find the glaze too sweet but the maple syrup I started with wasn't very sweet to begin with.

Edited for wacky typo... :wacko:

Edited by Jensen, 19 January 2007 - 08:36 PM.


#3 Della

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Posted 19 January 2007 - 08:30 PM

Hi everyone - I'm a new member who has really enjoyed all the recommendations, descriptions and pictures on this forum. I love the book, and after cooking from it for several months have developed some opinions I will share. 

Favorites:

Beef short ribs (using the boneless big ones from Costco, which work great!) using almost any recipe, but especially the maple and rosemary glazed ribs braised in ale, Marlene's red wine recipe, and the book's red wine and porcini mushroom recipe. All are fabulous, even if I skimp on the reduction phase. :smile:

Chicken with artichokes and mushrooms. I use marinated artichoke hearts because I always have a big jar on hand. I don't do the lighted cognac because I never have that, but the dish is still fantastic. I make it all the time because my kids rave about it.

Braised endive with proscuitto. Yumm! It was most successful with the green endive, not the red, and cooked in a smaller quantity rather than larger. - i.e. for a Thanksgiving crowd.

Coq au vin - a modified version, without pearl onions - was very good.

Rhubarb pot roast was quite good, but so long ago that it's hard to remember and compare. Once I discovered short ribs I sort of gave up on other beef cuts.

Least successful recipe: the cider braised chicken with parsnips. Nobody liked the parsnips, although I'm sure we'd be happy with chicken braised in cider with some other veg. Any ideas?

Favorite cooking vessel: I splurged on a Le Creuset low french oven, or risotto pot, and it's fantastic because it is wide and low. I did 9 pounds of short ribs in it over the weekend, and it worked like a charm.  I also like my smaller Staub french oven because of it's black interior finish - nice for browning. 

I cook on a four-oven Aga cooker, so it's been interesting finding the right oven to braise in. I would have guessed the simmering oven at 250 degrees would be good, but since Mollie's recipes (the ones I've done, at least) seem to call for 325 degrees, I usually use a rack on the bottom of the baking oven (which is set at 350, but that's theoretically in the middle of the oven).  Sometimes I move the pot from one to the other. All in all, it's a style of cooking perfectly suited to an Aga, which is always turned on.

Nice to meet you all, and I look forward to hearing lots more!

Kathy

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Welcome Kathy!! Great review of past recipes out of the Molly book. Sounds like you love to braise much like the rest of us that frequent this thread. I'll look forward to more posts and lots of opinions/tips.
Sorry to hear no one liked the parsnips. They are a favorite in our house :smile: I am sure any root veg would work well - you could probably even skip the veg and just make some yummy mashed potatoes to go with the dish.
I haven't tried the boneless short ribs but seem to remember someone else upthread mentioning them. How do they compare to the ones with bones? I guess I just think you need the bones for the full flavor? I guess not?
I also love the chicken and artichokes but haven't done it with marinated ones......maybe I'll give it a whirl!!
Anyway - welcome!
della

#4 Della

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Posted 19 January 2007 - 08:32 PM

Tonight, I made the short ribs braised in porter with the maple-rosemary glaze. Although I'd talked to my beef farmer about getting English-style short ribs, the processor cut them flanken style again.

Between that and the lower fat content of grass-fed beef, I decided to brown the ribs by roasting them at 450 for 30 minutes. It worked out great; I will never again brown short ribs in a pan!

Here they are, ready for browning:

Posted Image

And the pan right before it went in the oven:

Posted Image

Just before glazing:

Posted Image

And on the plate:

Posted Image

I had ready Marlene's comment about braising this recipe at 225 for 4 hours and so I started out along those lines. After an hour, I thought it wasn't simmering quite hard enough so I increased the temperature to 250 and pulled them out of the oven after a total of 3.5 hours.

Porter was no where to be found within walking distance of my house and so I substituted an oatmeal stout. I think it gave a little bitterness to the braising liquid and, although that was softened somewhat when the liquid was reduced, I won't make that substitution again. If, in the future, I can't find a porter, I'll substitute a Chimay dark ale.

I did not find the glaze too sweet but the maple syrup I started with wasn't very sweet to begin with.

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Great pics! Looks delicious :rolleyes: One question - when you put them in the oven to brown at 450 for 30 minutes - did you turn them at all? Did you salt and pepper them prior? Did you put them on the middle rack? I haven't tried it before but am interested in doing it sometime - your rave review makes me want to try.

#5 Jensen

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Posted 19 January 2007 - 08:35 PM

Great pics! Looks delicious  :rolleyes:  One question - when you put them in the oven to brown at 450 for 30 minutes - did you turn them at all? Did you salt and pepper them prior? Did you put them on the middle rack? I haven't tried it before but am interested in doing it sometime - your rave review makes me want to try.

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I didn't turn them but, if you notice the "before" picture, I did put them on the tray bone side down. I did salt and pepper them and I used the middle rack.

If I had English-style short ribs, I would have roasted them longer though.

#6 Marlene

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Posted 19 January 2007 - 08:39 PM

Welcome Kathy!

Very nice Jensen! I admit, browning ribs stovetop is a major pain, but I do it because I want both the juices and the fond to develop my sauce with. The other thing i've discovered is that I'm just generally not as fond of beer braises as I am of wine. Not only do they not smell as nice while braising, I find beer braises lack a depth of flavour that I get with wine. But that's just me! :rolleyes:
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#7 Jensen

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Posted 19 January 2007 - 09:10 PM

Welcome Kathy!

Very nice Jensen!  I admit, browning ribs stovetop is a major pain, but I do it because I want both the juices and the fond to develop my sauce with.  The other thing i've discovered is that I'm just generally not as fond of beer braises as I am of wine.  Not only do they not smell as nice while braising, I find beer braises lack a depth of flavour that I get with wine.  But that's just me! :rolleyes:

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I forgot to mention...I did deglaze the pan in which I roasted the ribs with the broth called for in the recipe. Then I just set it aside until I was to add it to the braising pan.

Beer vs wine? They're different animals for me. I think the beer braises taste more of the meat whereas you can get a more complex dish using wine. Given the choice, I'd take the wine braise too but a little beer braise now and again is good as well. :biggrin:

#8 kmcg

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Posted 20 January 2007 - 02:08 PM

Thanks for the welcome!

della - the Costco boneless ribs taste great to me, but I have to confess I haven't tried ones with bones because when I've seen them, they haven't looked quite as meaty. I should try bone-in sometime - do you have a favorite place to buy them in Seattle? As for the marinated artichoke hearts, they're not what Molly recommends, but they work for us!

Jensen - I'm glad to hear of your success with browning in the oven. That sounds like a great shortcut.

I forgot in my earlier post to rave about the Lamb Shanks Provencal. An absolutely incredible dish, served over polenta. We use the leftover sauce to poach cod or snapper in - best leftovers ever!

Kathy

#9 Jean Blanchard

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Posted 29 January 2007 - 05:03 PM

So here I am in Puerto Vallarta and I forgot my recipe for Bistecca Ranchero. Anybody have the time to email me the recipe. Mucho appreciated.

Jean Blanchard

#10 santo_grace

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Posted 01 February 2007 - 11:28 AM

I made the Duck Ragu this week. Started it on Tuesday night and finished it on Wednesday night. It turned out really well and was a fairly easy recipe, but I had to make a couple of modifications on Wednesday night because even though I turned down the oven after I realized it was simmering too much after 30 minutes, I still managed to simmer away all the liquid. (That's what you get for having a sleeping cat on your lap and not wanting to get up to check on it again.)

So on Wednesday night I added enough beef broth to make it liquidy enough to throw in the blender, and a little over a tablespoon of tomato paste to give it some more tomato flavor. It was still a nice, thick sauce and I'm very glad I blended it. I mixed the shredded duck meat in. I also sauteed some mushrooms and threw those on after the ragu was spooned over the pasta.

I'd make this again and probably do the same thing. Very tasty. Sorry, no pictures.
I like cows, too. I hold buns against them. -- Bucky Cat.

#11 Della

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Posted 01 February 2007 - 06:27 PM

della - the Costco boneless ribs taste great to me, but I have to confess I haven't tried ones with bones because when I've seen them, they haven't looked quite as meaty. I should try bone-in sometime - do you have a favorite place to buy them in Seattle?  As for the marinated artichoke hearts, they're not what Molly recommends, but they work for us!

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I ususally get the Short Ribs at A & J's meats on Queen Anne.
Don and Joe's in the market is another good place.
If I don't have time to head to either of those places I'll sometimes get them at Whole Foods.
D

#12 snowangel

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Posted 01 March 2007 - 07:31 PM

Tonight was the Chicken and Dumplings. What a lot of work (probably wouldn't have been so much work if I didn't try and fit it into shoveling over a foot of snow).

This was a delicious dish, but I took no pictures, because it was sort of a visual disaster. My comments:

There is not nearly enough liquid. The dumplings stuck to the bottom of the pot, so I just added more stock.

So, as I flipped them over, bits and parts sort of fell off the dumplings, which served to thicken, although I did go ahead and add the cream/egg yolk mixture (figured it was a good idea since I added a mess more stock than the recipe called for).

The addition of the lemon zest and nutmeg to the braising liquid is brilliant, and made this a most tasty dish, although unattractive.

Would I do this again? Yes. But, I'd braise the chicken ahead of time, and just reheat when it was dumpling time.
Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"

#13 Lori in PA

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Posted 02 March 2007 - 11:41 AM

I've been thinking about braised greens and white beans since I heard Chufi and somebody else talking about them on a couple of other threads. Here is my heretical report:
WITHOUT EVEN LOOKING IN MY COOKBOOK, I threw together a supper dish last night that was fab -- and super fab reheated for lunch today.

I sauteed an onion and a few cloves of garlic in olive oil. I added 1 1/2 heads starting-to-get-tired romaine, sliced crosswise into 1" pieces. I stirred and cooked that down a bit. Into the pan with it: 2 cans cannelini beans, undrained; about 2 c. cubed leftover pork loin, salt and pepper. I braised on the stovetop for about 20 minutes and served it in bowls with olive oil drizzled on top and sprinkles of coarse sea salt over all.
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#14 tamiam

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Posted 05 March 2007 - 12:10 PM

Mmmmm. Did the Braised Shortribs with Porcini and Rosemary, using pork rib end cuts instead of beef, and it was easy (like all these recipes) and delish. I saw that some folks were less than excited about this, but we loved it. Tender, intriguing, would easily serve to a guest, especially over creamy polenta.

I wonder if people's varying reactions have much to do with the kind of wine they chose, or with the quality of their mushrooms.
Oil and potatoes both grow underground so french fries may have eventually invented themselves had they not been invented -- J. Esther

#15 Pontormo

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Posted 09 March 2007 - 10:23 AM

I finally got around to consulting this cookbook given the number of extraordinary photographs and recommendations. Actually, Ling was kind enough to share the recipe for braised pork belly after Henry's pictures tempted me to try such a fatty meat and I adored it even without his mother's sesame rolls. Klary's recent photograph of white beans and escarole, though, is more along the lines of what I am eating these days.

Since I had half a head of cauliflower in the refrigerator and cook Italian or Italianate dishes all the time, I selected the Indian-style braised cauliflower, potatoes and peas to serve in a simple meal with a spicy banana raita and long-grain rice cooked with minced mushrooms, red onion and cumin; no dahl since I discovered I was out of the red lentils I was sure I had.

It's a quick dish to put together and the contrast between the white vegetables electrified by tumeric and the green peas saved the meal from the category of White Food for Picky Children. Otherwise, I was totally underwhelmed. I was surprised that there was neither garlic nor onion in the dish, an omission that is in keeping with tradition, judging by what Madhur Jaffrey offers in a similar recipe for something mothers put in their children's packed lunches. Subtlety has its uses, but you need to be sniffle-free and in the mood for it.

I also discovered that untoasted cumin seeds, left intact, evoke my former life as a participating member of a food co-op. Not a source of shame. To the contrary. However, some of the things we used to cook out of books bound with sheets of unbleached, light brown paper... :sad:
"Viciousness in the kitchen.
The potatoes hiss." --Sylvia Plath

#16 katbert

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Posted 11 March 2007 - 09:08 AM

I'm doing the short ribs in wine, and I tried to brown my short ribs in the oven by roasting at 450F. Unfortunately, I think I've overdone them by 10min in the browning process. Am I screwed or is there any rescue for possibly having overcooked them already? doh.

#17 RobinKateB

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Posted 11 March 2007 - 11:11 AM

Katbert, as you are braising these they will probably still be delicious. Braising allows tough cuts of meat to be moist, tender and juicy so I think it will be fine. Although am sure there will be a slight difference.

Last night I made the Salmon Braised with bacon and mushrooms and I will not be making it again. This and the eggplant are my only failures form this book.

Made the Red Pine Chicken several weeks ago and it was amazing. I have had it in the restaurant where the recipe came from and DH and I agree it is better at home. Less salty and moister.

Robin

#18 Chufi

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Posted 11 March 2007 - 01:05 PM

Made the end of summer green beans again, but with runner beans cut into pieces because they were cheaper and looked better at the market.
My husband said, on tasting the beans: "you can make anything taste good" (he doesn't really like runner beans) and I said, "no give the credit to Molly" :laugh:
It really is now my favorite way to prepare green beans and runner beans!

#19 Pontormo

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Posted 12 March 2007 - 08:51 AM

I'm tempted to start two new threads based on the following musings, but I'll just start here and see if anyone posts replies. If not, new threads.

I plan to make the braised chicken with artichokes and mushrooms with thighs I've retained after replenishing my supply of chicken stock this week.

I. Cooking with Spirits
One of the attractions of the dish is the fact that the ingredients include cognac which I bought for a dish I made at Christmas even though it's not something I drink on its own.

Here's the thing: I have a narrow, compact kitchen with one of those metal hoods over the stove and wooden cabinets right above that. The stove is quite broad, fitting snuggly against more wood with a fraction of an inch between it and the painted wall to the right and to the left, counter space and low-hanging cabinets.

"How about a little fire, Scarecrow?"

The Wicked Witch of the West's taunt could have been directed to me. I am terrified of kitchen fires. I know the lid routine and have had to put out a few, but not enough to feel optimistic about the outcome.

Molly Stevens is hardly reassuring when she instructs you to ignite the cognac, but be careful because it could be quite dangerous, so stand back for 2 minutes.

TWO MINUTES???!!! :shock:

I might faint. Or burn down the building. Advice? :unsure:


II. Modifying for calories
Undermining concept given intentions to use cognac. However, one thing a number of people do to eliminate calories is to skip the step of dredging poultry or meat in flour before searing or browning it. Is this really a significant change? Just how much of a benefit are you gaining by eliminating a step that I assume is there to help thicken the sauce of the braise?

This question about dredging may be moot since I am not a fan of chicken skin in braises, especially when it comes to reheated leftovers. Roasted skin, definitely, but not soft, pimply poultry epidermis.

(I am also subbing a very good "Light" sour cream for the creme fraiche Stevens substitutes for the traditional egg-finishing of a fricassee.)
"Viciousness in the kitchen.
The potatoes hiss." --Sylvia Plath

#20 snowangel

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Posted 12 March 2007 - 09:15 AM

When I did this dish, I had the same concern about a kitchen fire, so I just let it cook, figuring that the result would be the same as igniting it (but, I could be all wrong, but given that you don't ignite wine...).

I did not flour the chicken. What I did was browned the chicken a bit -- enough so that the flesh under the skin wasn't raw looking. Remove from pan, remove skin, and then just brown. IMHO, whenever I dredge something in flour prior to browning (fried chicken being an exception), the flour ends up burning and then I have to wash the pan before moving onto the braising step.
Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"

#21 Dianne

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Posted 12 March 2007 - 10:28 AM

If I am doing a chicken braise to-day for eating tomorrow, I leave the skin on. Sometimes I flour; sometimes not. But when the braise is done, I remove the chicken and skin it before returning it to the pot for storage. Sometimes I even remove the bone . Somewhere I got the idea that the skin (and bones) would enrich the flavour of the sauce, but I too dislike the flabby nature of the skin after braising.

#22 RobinKateB

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Posted 12 March 2007 - 12:02 PM

When I made this braise the cognac lighting was a little terrifying. It lit with an audible woosh and was quite a flame. I don't have a hood (yet!!) and there is a window directly behind the stove (now my lack of hood makes sense). There was no fire, however in my momentary terror I did blow out the flames or something before they went out on their own.

I also did not flour the thighs before browning. I browned them and then removed the skin as a cooks snack. :blush: Also I could not find the artichoke bottoms so I used 2 cans of hearts and removed the choke and leaves. The dish would not have been as good if I left them on. The frustrating thing is Molly Stevens lives in my area and I have checked all the stores. Where is she getting artichoke bottoms!!

-Robin

#23 santo_grace

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Posted 13 March 2007 - 11:11 AM

Hi All,

I made the chicken and pork abodabo a couple of nights ago. It was good, but probably my least favorite that I've done from the book. I did go through all the pages on this thread to see if others have made it before. The few people that had recommended cooking it a little longer. I did that and the pork was a little drier than I would have liked. I'm a little confused because the recipe calls for boneless country ribs, but yet Molly's side bar about the ribs says she prefers them with bones. So I stood in the grocery store holding both, staring back and forth at them...for probably too long. I think the butcher looked at me funny. Finally went with the boneless and at the end I think I would have preferred bone-in.
I like cows, too. I hold buns against them. -- Bucky Cat.

#24 Pontormo

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Posted 13 March 2007 - 07:09 PM

Thank you Susan, Dianne and Robin for responding and for suggestions based on experience. It's funny, I often comb through all the recipes when I first look at a new cookbook, but the recipe for the chicken with artichokes and mushrooms just sounded so appealing, I kind of did the open-the-cookbook-and-choose type of selection that Daniel advocated some time ago in selecting an under-used book from one's shelves.

Everything worked out well, including the decision not to dredge and to leave the skin on for flavor until after the completion of the dish. My eyebrows are still on my face and kitchen intact, in part because I had forgotten I turned off the burner before pouring in the cognac and lighting it. The alcohol started burning out even before I turned the flame back on to a conservative degree. Only a few seconds of dramatic flare, mostly contained by steep walls of the Dutch oven. Substitutions of a natural but lower-fat sour cream for creme fraiche was fine as was stock for part of the white wine.

First taste of the reduced sauce after cream fully incorporated and all reduced some more was memorable. I love the combination and simple seasonings.

Frozen artichoke hearts (Trader Joe's or Bird's Eye) are a good substitution for canned bottoms (sold at Whole Foods? Maybe hearts, but I noticed someone buying a couple of displayed cans during a recent shopping trip).

I skimmed the EGCI thread on braising with interest, especially Fifi's excellent summary. I ended up not following sound advice about switching from a cast iron skillet to the Dutch oven even though I agree that browning within the latter is sometimes a problem, especially since mine seems to have a hot spot where burning occurs a bit too easily if I get distracted. I just wanted to have the sticky bits for the sauce and avoid igniting Cognac in such a broad, relatively shallow pan. All was fine.

The only thing I would change is the amount of time chicken cooks in oven. An hour seems a bit excessive for the chicken parts I used. I did pre-salt them for over 24 hours, though. A little drier than I would have liked for meat as moist as thighs tend to be. Minor, though.
"Viciousness in the kitchen.
The potatoes hiss." --Sylvia Plath

#25 snowangel

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Posted 13 March 2007 - 07:50 PM

Santo, I've discovered that I quite prefer using a butt (bone in or boneless) to the country ribs, which are often not nearly as well marbled.

Pontermo, glad it was a success. I actually prefer the frozen artichokes, as them seem less salty, and for some odd reason, seem fresher. Chicken is tricky to braise because just a bit too long can leave it a bit too dry. What temp was the oven?
Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"

#26 santo_grace

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Posted 14 March 2007 - 09:39 AM

Santo, I've discovered that I quite prefer using a butt (bone in or boneless) to the country ribs, which are often not nearly as well marbled.

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Thanks Snowangel. I'll do that next time. I should probably pull the book out and make a note in it.
I like cows, too. I hold buns against them. -- Bucky Cat.

#27 Chufi

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Posted 25 March 2007 - 06:27 AM

Posted Image

I made the veal polpettone with ricotta yesterday.
While they were good, or even great, they were not as enchanting as I would have hoped after reading the recipe introduction. The meatballs are not fried, but braised/poached in a tomato-y braising liquid. They come out very fragile and soft, almost too soft textured for my liking.
The braising liquid that you end up with is very thin. Because I was working ahaed, I reduced the liquid by half to make a more substantial sauce, and reheated balls & sauce in the oven at dinner time.

#28 Della

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Posted 25 March 2007 - 05:11 PM

This weekend I made the World's Best Cabbage.  I wouldn't go as far as calling it the best, but it was certainly very good.

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I made this recipe a couple days ago and while I don't love cabbage I thought this was quite good. I added the balsamic at the end and I'd definatly make this again.

#29 paulraphael

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Posted 26 March 2007 - 08:16 AM

I got this book a couple of weeks ago and I have to say I'm disappointed in it. The recipes look pretty good, but in a book title "all about ... " I expect to learn a lot about technique. Besides discussing every imaginable shape and color of pan, there's very little technique in this book. And some of what she describes does not follow the laws of physics, at least not the ones that govern the planet where I do most of my cooking.

I've found much more detailed (and credible) advice on braising technique in Peterson's Sauce's cookbook, and in Harold McGhee's On Food and Cooking.

Has anyone examined MgGhee's braising advice? Here's a summary, from memory:

1) Brown the meat as quickly as possible in a very hot pan. Go fast and hot to keep the layer of well-done meat as thin as possible

2) start the braise UNCOVERED in a cold oven. Set the thermostat to 200 degrees, and give the braise at least 2 hours to get warm in the center. The idea here is to give the meat a lot of time in the magic range between 120 and 140 degrees, where enzyme activity is most intense. This tenderizes and develops the flavor of the meat without drying.

3) turn the meat, cover it, and turn up the oven to 250 degrees. periodically turn the meat and check the temperature inside the pan. Do not let it get anywhere NEAR a boil. Meat will toughen and dry out if it gets above 180 degrees, no matter what its surrounding conditions. 160 degrees or a bit higher is ideal for slow cooking and breaking down the collagen.

Aparently one of the signs of meat cooked like this is that it will remain a deep red in the middle, even though it's well done. It will also maintain much more moisture than meat that's been allowed to simmer.

Any thoughts? I braised some berkshire pork shoulder this weekend, using methods like what Stevens advocates, and was not impressed. The results were dryer than I would have liked. I'm going to try the other half of the shoulder this weekend using the above method, and will report back.

#30 Marlene

Marlene
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Posted 26 March 2007 - 09:25 AM

That's an interesting technique and not one I've heard before. I know that most of us agree that Molly's braising temps are way to high. I never braise at higher than 250 and sometimes lower depending on how much the liquid is bubbling. But I can't say I've had any problems with dry meat using her recipes, as long as I don't follow her braising temps!
Marlene
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Practice. Do it over. Get it right.
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