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Cooking with "All About Braising" by Molly Stevens (Part 1)

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#541 Eilen

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Posted 17 October 2006 - 04:19 PM

I decided last week to do the short ribs with wine and porcini. I'm thinking now that I should have read through this thread before starting. The result was good, but not great for the amount of work/time put into the recipe. I did change a few things, I put crumpled parchment inside the pot directly over the meat, tied the ribs in case they fell apart, and started about fifteen degrees lower than called for. I had a heck of a time keeping the simmering constant. Sometimes the liquid wouldn't be moving at all, so I turned the heat up only to check twenty minutes later and it was simmering too quickly.
Oh, and I soaked the porcini for a few hours instead of the half hour called for, which may have been a mistake as the flavor overpowered anything else. I think next time, I'll just use Marlene's recipe, which I've done a few times and has been so far my favorite.

Would anyone say the chicken and pork dishes are better, in general, than the beef braises?

#542 Bella S.F.

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Posted 17 October 2006 - 05:49 PM

We made Marlene's short ribs on Sunday. The flavor was amazing. We tasted the gravy before we added the mustard and it was so rich and yummy that we did not add the mustard. It was wonderful over garlic mashed potatoes. The only thing I wasn't thrilled with was the texture of the meat. One of the times that We checked the pot and turned the ribs, it was boiling a little too strongly. I don't know if that could have anything to do with the meat ending up a little chewy. Now I want to adapt the same recipe to something else, perhaps a roast or a stew.

Thanks Marlene! By the way... where did that recipe come from?
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#543 Marlene

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Posted 17 October 2006 - 06:02 PM

We made Marlene's short ribs on Sunday. The flavor was amazing. We tasted the gravy before we added the mustard and it was so rich and yummy that we did not add the mustard. It was wonderful over garlic mashed potatoes. The only thing I wasn't thrilled with was the texture of the meat. One of the times that We checked the pot and turned the ribs, it was boiling a little too strongly. I don't know if that could have anything to do with the meat ending up a little chewy. Now I want to adapt the same recipe to something else, perhaps a roast or a stew.

  Thanks Marlene! By the way... where did that recipe come from?

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The recipe originally came from Bon Appetit, but they had so much liquid in their's I had to cut it way back and I made a couple of other changes. I think the boiling strongly will contribute to a chewier meat. It's really important to braise so that the liquid is barely bubbling. :smile:
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#544 snowangel

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Posted 17 October 2006 - 08:58 PM

Yep, Marlene's right. Barely burbling, and since I think most ovens cycle on and off, if it's not really burbling, don't worry, unless that continues for quite some time. Plus, the more peeking you do, the less burbling you'll see. Remember, every time you open the oven, and haul the LC out and open the lid, you are losing heat!
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#545 C. sapidus

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Posted 19 October 2006 - 09:48 PM

I made the soy-braised chicken thighs with star anise and orange peel. We had ketjap manis around so we used it. The chicken was tender and juicy, and the sauce was very nice if a bit bland for my taste. Next time I’ll use a few more chilies and perhaps reduce the sauce further.

I had to increase the temperature from 325F to 350F before the braising liquid started bubbling. Our oven seems to run cooler compared with others who have cooked from this book. For what it is worth, the oven thermostat and a separate oven thermometer agree exactly.

Anyway, here is what it looked like.

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#546 snowangel

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Posted 19 October 2006 - 10:12 PM

I made the soy-braised chicken thighs with star anise and orange peel. We had ketjap manis around so we used it. The chicken was tender and juicy, and the sauce was very nice if a bit bland for my taste. Next time I’ll use a few more chilies and perhaps reduce the sauce further.

I had to increase the temperature from 325F to 350F before the braising liquid started bubbling. Our oven seems to run cooler compared with others who have cooked from this book. For what it is worth, the oven thermostat and a separate oven thermometer agree exactly.

Anyway, here is what it looked like.

Posted Image

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Beautiful, Bruce!

But you remind me that when I did this dish, I did up the chilies. One other recipe that I found "lacking" was the bisteccas, where she calls for the roasted poblanos (and please, forget the potatoes, and opt for another starch, please!), in which the amount called for is clearly inadequate. You mentioned that you needed to up the heat (which I didn't when I made this dish), but aside from the temp issues, I do think that Molly could be upping the umfh factor on some of these dishes. A bit more of the chilies, a couple more poblanoes, a bit more lime...just a bit more of what can make these dishes so spectactular.
Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"

#547 artisan02

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Posted 19 October 2006 - 10:18 PM

I made Chicken and Pork Adobado tonight. Delicious, though the pork didn't get as tender as I would have liked in the amount of time given. Next time I would start the pork simmering first, giving it about a 15-20 minute head start on the chicken and braising for an hour and fifteen minutes instead of the 40-50 minutes suggested. This one is a keeper, with slight modification.

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I made that tonight and found out the pork took much longer to cook. I think I ended up cooking the entire dish about twice as long... Part of that may be due to the fact that I am at about 6000 or more feet elevation.

Christine

#548 Eilen

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Posted 22 October 2006 - 01:29 PM

On Thursday, I decided to make the Chicken Breasts braised with Hard Cider and Parsnips--it turned out wonderful! I didn't change much of the original recipe; just dropped the hard cider to 1 1/2 cups and substituted a cup of light chicken stock for a bit more balance--I felt all cider would have been a bit too sweet. It felt like a very autumnal dish with the cider and the sweet parsnips and a bit of bacon to even out the sweetness. I really recommend this dish.

Tomorrow night, it's Molly's braised game hens with sage stuffing! Can you tell I'm pleased to finally have this book? :smile:

#549 santo_grace

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Posted 23 October 2006 - 08:13 AM

I made the Braised Pork Chops with Creamy Cabbage. While I was very pleased with cabbage and the taste of the pork chops, they chops were not as tender as I would have liked. They were a bit thicker than the 1" she called for. Do you think I should have let them braise longer?

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#550 meredithla

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Posted 23 October 2006 - 09:51 AM

I'm trying to catch up with this thread. I've gotten the book from the library and made the braised endive with prosciutto-LOVED IT! I made Marlene's short ribs instead of an ABB recipe. They were wonderful and my husband asked for a loaf of bread to sop up the delicious sauce. I'm making it again this week.

I've also made the sausages with plums, a good fall/winter combo (although my plums were not very good). :sad:

Then tried with Whole Chicken Braised with Pears and Rosemary. We didn't love it. The pear and the rosemary didn't really come through. I'd rather have a roasted chicken. However, a few days later I took the leftover chicken and the stock/sauce and simmered quinoa in it until it was absorbed, added the extra chicken and scallions. Bingo! The flavor of the stock was so rich. I also peeled the skin off the chicken and crisped it up to cracklings. Rave reviews.

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#551 BekkiM

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Posted 23 October 2006 - 11:51 AM

I decided last week to do the short ribs with wine and porcini.  I'm thinking now that I should have read through this thread before starting.  The result was good, but not great for the amount of work/time put into the recipe.  I did change a few things, I put crumpled parchment inside the pot directly over the meat, tied the ribs in case they fell apart, and started about fifteen degrees lower than called for.  I had a heck of a time keeping the simmering constant.  Sometimes the liquid wouldn't be moving at all, so I turned the heat up only to check twenty minutes later and it was simmering too quickly.
Oh, and I soaked the porcini for a few hours instead of the half hour called for, which may have been a mistake as the flavor overpowered anything else.  I think next time, I'll just use Marlene's recipe, which I've done a few times and has been so far my favorite.

Would anyone say the chicken and pork dishes are better, in general, than the beef braises?

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I made the short ribs this weekend for a dinner party and was extremely pleased with the results. However, I did adjust the recipe a bit based on reading through this topic (thanks everyone, for being my guinea pigs!) and reading Thomas Keller's instructions in the French Laundry. So I reduced the heat to 275 (way below Molly's level) and cooked the ribs (bone in) for nearly 3 hours. I didn't bother with the parchment paper as I didn't have a covered pan big enough for doubling the recipe, so I used my large roaster and covered whole thing with aluminum foil, with the foil nearly touching the meat. I made them the day before, allowed them to cool in their cooking liquid, and refrigerated them until the next day.

As for the mushroom flavor, I couldn't find porcinis (there appeared to be a Denver-wide shortage of dried porcinis and fresh rosemary--I tried FIVE different grocery stores and finally gave up in disgust), so I used mixed wild mushrooms from Cost Plus--definitely not an overwhelming mushroom flavor.

The only issue I had with the recipe is that it didn't make nearly as much as I thought it would. I doubled the recipe (and then some), using nearly 10 lbs of short ribs (4"--maybe 3" would have been better) and, while you would think I could count to 24, apparently my elementary education was faulty, because I was short by at least one rib by the time I got to serving. So her estimate of serving 6 seemed off to me--but maybe I misread it and it only served 4? (Mental note, since it shouldn't be that hard to count out 2 ribs per person, or even three, next time I'll order by quantity not by weight.) Also, I was very disappointed not to have leftovers because what I remember of dinner was that my few bits of braised short rib were heavenly.

I also augmented the ribs with the root vegetables from the French Laundry recipe because it seemed like there should be vegetables. I know that's another thread, but I have to say I really like the vegetables cooked separately and then reheated in the braising liquid--they kept their individual flavors and textures, but still married well with the flavors of the braise.

All-in-all, I was extremely pleased with her recipe and I want to thank you all for turning me on to her book! :wub:
Feast then thy heart, for what the heart has had, the hand of no heir shall ever hold.

#552 MelissaH

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Posted 26 October 2006 - 08:54 AM

I have a batch of Marlene's short ribs about ready to go. I browned the ribs in the oven Tuesday evening, sauteed the onions, carrots, etc. on the stove and then added the liquids and boiled that for a bit. When the ribs were done (and a frightening amount of fat had rendered out!), I put them in my crockpot, added the liquid etc. and turned the crockpot on low. Then yesterday I pulled the ribs out of the crockpot (the string made that part easier than I would have thought), strained and degreased the remaining liquid, and refrigerated the two parts separately. My plan for dinner tonight is to finish the sauce with mustard and thickener and reheat the ribs through.

The kicker: I'll be eating early, because I have band practice tonight. My husband, on the other hand, has meetings all afternoon, and he won't even be home until after I've left. What's going to be the best way to manage a two-shift schedule for keeping the short ribs tasty and the sauce thick? My initial thought was to finish the sauce on the stove, add the ribs and heat through, and then put sauce and ribs back into the crockpot for the duration. Will the beurre manie thickening hold up through what could potentially be three hours in a crockpot? Is there a better option? I'm not comfortable leaving stuff on the stove if nobody's around to keep an eye on it.

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#553 Marlene

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Posted 26 October 2006 - 09:15 AM

YOu could hold this in a braising pot at 200 in the oven, covered if you want and it will be fine. I've never done these in a crockpot so I don't know if it will hold in there
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#554 MelissaH

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Posted 26 October 2006 - 10:04 AM

I guess I could do that. The oven's electric, and I'm not generally as apprehensive about leaving electric appliances on while I'm not around. The cooktop's gas, and therefore out of the question.

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#555 Marlene

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Posted 26 October 2006 - 10:08 AM

I would never hold this on top of the stove, gas or not. I frequently do hold this in the oven for 2-3 hours at a time, since my husband is always home well after we've eaten, during the week. Actually, if you're oven goes low enough, hold it at 180. Otherwise, 200 is fine. But I like holding things at 180. They stay hot, but don't seem to cook any more.

Edited by Marlene, 26 October 2006 - 10:09 AM.

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#556 MelissaH

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Posted 27 October 2006 - 06:52 AM

I did as Marlene suggested, and held it in a barely warm oven. It worked fine, and both of us definitely enjoyed the results. I think this one's going to be a "keeper" for us. Thanks!

MelissaH
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#557 snowangel

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Posted 28 October 2006 - 08:26 PM

Some days ago, I did the braised whole chicken with stuffing with baon on the top. Wow. What a great way to do a big chicken (6+ pounds). I riffed the stuffing from Paula's great Cooking of the Southwester France book and merely stuffed bread slices, coated with a mixture of walnut oil, garlic and thyme. The leftovers made a mighty tasty chicken pot pie, topped with biscuits (thanks Ann, for the recipe!).
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#558 tejon

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Posted 29 October 2006 - 10:34 AM

I had been eyeing that whole chicken recipe. I was thinking of doing that in lieu of turkey so we have plenty of leftovers. First Thanksgiving in a long time at someone else's house, so I'm planning a simplified holiday meal at home first so we have plenty to nosh on later :smile:.
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#559 snowangel

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Posted 09 November 2006 - 10:19 PM

I'm working on unloading my camera and getting caught up. But, a few days ago, I espied a package of nice country-style pork ribs in the freezer, and I'd been to the farmer's market, where there wasn't much but root crops, and that daikon radish just spoke to me (partly because I remembered that Pork and Daikon braise in the book).

This was another wonderful dish, although I might tone down the sugar a bit next time.

But, very popular, and probably the most photogenic braise I've ever done!

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#560 Jamieson22

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Posted 10 November 2006 - 02:04 PM

I should have had this cookbook overnighted to me, as the wait for it was excruciating! Thanks to all the thread contributors that sold me on it!

Having more bone-in skin-on chicken breast in my freezer than anyone should (thanks to a B1G1 free sale at CostCo) and realizing I had everything else need except for hard cider, I decided to make Chicken Breast Braised with Hard Cider & Parsnips on my virgin voyage into this book.

I used 4 oz of my homemade maple-cured smoked bacon and Woodchuck Amber Hard Cider. I can say that I wish I had more options for Hard Cider as I would have liked something a bit more dry than sweet, but the store I went to had a limited selection But that is such a small complaint as the dish was incredible!

You will have to forgive the lackluster presentation, as this was made just for fun for lunch, and was only served to me :)

Can't wait to pick a second thing to make from it!

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#561 snowangel

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Posted 10 November 2006 - 02:15 PM

Beautiful, Janie! Oh, and braises just don't seem to photo very well.

Any reason not to use thighs with this and just adjust the time? I'm long on thighs...
Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"

#562 Jamieson22

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Posted 10 November 2006 - 02:26 PM

Beautiful, Janie!  Oh, and braises just don't seem to photo very well.

Any reason not to use thighs with this and just adjust the time?  I'm long on thighs...

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I can't see why thighs wouldn't work out well, or even better.
Jamie

#563 mamster

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Posted 12 November 2006 - 05:55 AM

Snowangel, I've made this recipe with thighs, and it was great.
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#564 I_call_the_duck

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Posted 13 November 2006 - 11:23 AM

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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#565 santo_grace

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Posted 14 November 2006 - 09:51 AM

Made the Osso Buco on Sunday, which we didn't eat until Monday. I didn't want to spend $16/lb for veal shanks, so I used beef. I'm sure the veal would have been just as good, but we didn't have any complaints with the beef. Very, very tasty. Followed the recipe pretty much exactly, and I don't think I would change a thing. Also, made some risotto, but didn't have any saffron on hand, so it was risotto with parm-reg.

Made the creamy brussel sprouts last week - I love brussel sprouts, and I love cream, so this one is a keeper.

Sorry no pictures of either one.
I like cows, too. I hold buns against them. -- Bucky Cat.

#566 Della

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Posted 18 November 2006 - 06:02 PM

We are thinking of making the Caribbean Pork Shoulder for the family on Friday so we are going to do a practice run tomorrow. Greg is in the other room getting the spice rub together right now. My local store didn't have a pork roast with the fat/skin on so we are just using the pork shoulder (boston butt) w/out. It is just shy of 4 lbs.
I went through the whole thread and read comments/opinions. There doesn't seem to be any hints other than maybe using pork stock rather than water as a change to the recipe. Oh - other than lower braising temp but I tend to do that anyway.

SO - Any extra tips or hints as far as this dish before we cook it tomorrow?
What side dishes go really really well? I saw baked beans mentioned a couple times............ THANKS!!

More tomorrow........Della

#567 kellycolorado

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Posted 18 November 2006 - 06:55 PM

I made the Caribbean Pork Shoulder for the first time last night. I just used water and it tasted great! Molly suggested serving it with braised cabbage, so I just put in thick wedges of cabbage in the pot the last half hour and they turned out great too.

Next time I'll see if I can find a shoulder with the skin on. Definitely a keeper.

#568 Marlene

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Posted 20 November 2006 - 05:48 AM

We are thinking of making the Caribbean Pork Shoulder for the family on Friday so we are going to do a practice run tomorrow. Greg is in the other room getting the spice rub together right now. My local store didn't have a pork roast with the fat/skin on so we are just using the pork shoulder (boston butt) w/out. It is just shy of 4 lbs.
I went through the whole thread and read comments/opinions. There doesn't seem to be any hints other than maybe using pork stock rather than water as a change to the recipe. Oh - other than lower braising temp but I tend to do that anyway.

SO - Any extra tips or hints as far as this dish before we cook it tomorrow?
What side dishes go really really well? I saw baked beans mentioned a couple times............  THANKS!!

More tomorrow........Della

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Although Molly doesn't really call for it, I always reduce the liquid in this particular recipe. You could add a tablespoon of butter and flour mixed together if you want to thicken it a bit more. I tend to serve rice with this and of course, baked beans are always a good side for pork braised or smoked! I'm also the one who uses pork stock, just because I tend to have some around usually!
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Practice. Do it over. Get it right.
Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

#569 Della

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Posted 03 December 2006 - 08:29 PM

We are thinking of making the Caribbean Pork Shoulder for the family on Friday so we are going to do a practice run tomorrow. Greg is in the other room getting the spice rub together right now. My local store didn't have a pork roast with the fat/skin on so we are just using the pork shoulder (boston butt) w/out. It is just shy of 4 lbs.
I went through the whole thread and read comments/opinions. There doesn't seem to be any hints other than maybe using pork stock rather than water as a change to the recipe. Oh - other than lower braising temp but I tend to do that anyway.

SO - Any extra tips or hints as far as this dish before we cook it tomorrow?
What side dishes go really really well? I saw baked beans mentioned a couple times............  THANKS!!

More tomorrow........Della

View Post



Although Molly doesn't really call for it, I always reduce the liquid in this particular recipe. You could add a tablespoon of butter and flour mixed together if you want to thicken it a bit more. I tend to serve rice with this and of course, baked beans are always a good side for pork braised or smoked! I'm also the one who uses pork stock, just because I tend to have some around usually!

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Well, we made the dish and didn't LOVE it - it was "ok" but nothing special. Maybe I did something wrong?

So - we ended up making the Jerry Traunfeld Herbfarm Braised Short Ribs and they were great.

I'll try the dish again another time

#570 Della

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Posted 03 December 2006 - 08:31 PM

Making the Bisteces Rancheros right now.........should be done in about 15 minutes.
Really easy - I hope it tastes great! Others have posted that is it good.
I'll report back.
Side note - when you skin the peppers and de-seed them DO NOT RUB UPPER LIP for any reason. OUCH!!!!! :wink:





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