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

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#31 Marlene

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Posted 28 February 2005 - 07:53 AM

I've discovered the Stracotto with Garlic and Pancetta recipe. This is what I'll make next. Now it needs to marinate for at least 24 hours, so depending on how soon it thaws out, this will either be tomorrow or Wed night's dinner now.
Marlene
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Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

#32 helenas

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Posted 28 February 2005 - 07:53 AM

actually before i got this book, i made sausages with plums after i found a recipe on the web.
They were quite good and more interesting than the traditional sausage-grape combination.

#33 gourmande

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Posted 28 February 2005 - 08:46 AM

My book arrived... just this minute! :smile:
Cheese: milk’s leap toward immortality – C.Fadiman

#34 Marlene

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Posted 28 February 2005 - 08:49 AM

My book arrived... just this minute!  :smile:

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Excellent! Just in time for the winter storm we're about to get!
Marlene
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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.

#35 fifi

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Posted 28 February 2005 - 02:44 PM

Thanks for mentioning the thin cut chuck steaks. Fairly frequently I see really nice ones but I have never figured out what to do with them. Well . . . DUH! Now I know. I think that will be the next thing to try.
Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

#36 Marlene

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Posted 28 February 2005 - 08:45 PM

I've discovered the Stracotto with Garlic and Pancetta recipe.  This is what I'll make next.  Now it needs to marinate for at least 24 hours, so depending on how soon it thaws out, this will either be tomorrow or Wed night's dinner now.

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I've started this, and of course, I'm taking pictures as I go. I'm figuring how can anything with a whole bottle of red wine, bacon and a full head of garlic be bad?
Marlene
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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.

#37 snowangel

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Posted 28 February 2005 - 08:50 PM

I made the chuck braised in Zinfandel yesterday for dinner tomorrow (did some serious braising yesterday!), reheated to day, to be reheated again tomorrow, on the advice of Paula Wolfert. I did take the meat out and put it in a ziplock and am storing the liquid separately, as Paula suggested.

I don't have particularly easy access to Pancetta (although I really wanted to do that recipe) and didn't feel like driving 30 minutes one way to get it.
Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"

#38 Marlene

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Posted 28 February 2005 - 08:55 PM

I didn't think I had access either, but amazingly, I found pancetta in my local Sobeys!
Marlene
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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.

#39 Madge

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Posted 01 March 2005 - 07:56 AM

I made the short ribs braised in porter with a rosemary maple syrup glaze. It was fantastic. Also the potato/leek recipe is fab.

#40 Kim WB

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Posted 01 March 2005 - 08:57 AM

has anyone taken Molly's advice and used parchment paper seals under the lid? I feel this made a big difference..In the past, I've mostly used a dutch oven for most braising recipes, and I learned that using a "too big" pot effects the finished product. I've also learned from her book that I've been using too much liquid..and while its easy enough to reduce at the end, I like her approach of reducing the liquid before the braise...that really intensifies the depth of the braising liquid, and the flavor of the finished product as well.

#41 Marlene

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Posted 01 March 2005 - 09:07 AM

I'm glad you asked this Kim, because I was going to! I have to admit I have not tried it. Of course, not having braised before, I wouldn't know the difference. I think I will try it with the braise I'm planning for today and see if I can notice any difference.
Marlene
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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.

#42 bakezoid

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Posted 01 March 2005 - 09:26 AM

has anyone taken Molly's advice and used parchment paper seals under the lid?  I feel this made a big difference..In the past, I've mostly used a dutch oven for most braising recipes, and I learned that using a "too big" pot  effects the finished product.  I've also learned from her book that I've been using too much liquid..and while its easy enough to reduce at the end, I like her approach of reducing the liquid before the braise...that really intensifies the depth of the braising liquid, and the flavor of the finished product as well.

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Kim, I have used the parchment paper whenever she has put it in a recipe most recently for Osso Bucco and it seems to work great. It makes the pot fit "just right"( I think, however, that I will have to excercise great restraint and not go nuts buying all sorts of pots for braising).
If more of us valued food & cheer & song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world. - J.R.R. Tolkien

#43 fifi

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Posted 01 March 2005 - 10:32 AM

Try looking for pancetta at the grocery that has a deli counter with good stuff. I was surprised to find it there and took note for when I get around to trying that recipe. I think what I saw was Boar's Head brand. Of course, not being a big user of panchetta and certainly not an expert, I have no idea how good that is.
Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

#44 Madge

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Posted 01 March 2005 - 10:35 AM

I used the parchment paper for the first time with the short ribs. I think it made a big difference as the sauce was quite rich. Now that I am paying attention to all these details (amount of liquid, size and type of pot etc) it helps to explain why I have been disappointed with my braises in the past.

#45 fifi

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Posted 01 March 2005 - 10:38 AM

Ok . . . Parchment paper has been added to the shopping list.
Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

#46 mamster

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Posted 01 March 2005 - 11:02 AM

My supermarket also carries Boar's Head pancetta (after I requested it!) and the quality is just fine. The only pancetta I wouldn't recommend is the nitrate-free stuff from Whole Foods, which is very fatty and doesn't taste right to me.
Matthew Amster-Burton, aka "mamster"
Author, Hungry Monkey, coming in May

#47 gourmande

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Posted 01 March 2005 - 12:32 PM

In the past two weeks I've made two beef braises, one pork and two chicken, so I think the first recipe I'll try from the book will be the Morrocan lamb shoulder chops. Just reading the list of spices in the rub makes my knees buckle! As long as my butcher has the lamb chops I'm in business.

I'm of two minds regarding the cooking vessel. She recommends a shallow braiser, which I don't have, or a sauté pan which I do have and could use to keep with her shallow foods shallow pan theory. However, I've always used my deep Le Creuset pots for all braises and feel more comfortable with them. So, I might just stick with one of them but be sure to cover the food with parchment to minimize the head space.

If I can remember, I'll try to take pictures of the process and the results.
Cheese: milk’s leap toward immortality – C.Fadiman

#48 Marlene

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Posted 01 March 2005 - 12:42 PM

I've got the pot roast in the oven, and I'm testing the parchment paper theory. Two things come to mind right now:

1) I have more trouble ensuring the lid is on properly, and I've had to double check it a couple of times.

2). Normally, I've found with Molly's recipes so far that I have needed to reduce the cooking temperature by 25 or 50 degrees, otherwise it's bubbling to much. So I set the temp for 250 to start, after 20 mintes, I increased it to 275 and now I've increased it again to the original temp of 300. Is the parchment paper preventing it from bubbling?
Marlene
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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.

#49 snowangel

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Posted 01 March 2005 - 12:55 PM

Marlene, I did the parchment paper thing on Sunday with the Zinfandel roast. ANd, again, yesterday when I reheated the thing (I'll reheat once again tonight for dinner).

Once I got the lid seated properly, no problems.

As to the temp. It seemed to take longer to get to the bubble/simmer, but once it was there, I had to lower the oven temp to about 240 to keep it from simmering too vigorously.

I also felt like there was less moisture on the paper than there is on the lid.

I think maybe I'll PM Paula and have her chime in.
Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"

#50 Wolfert

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Posted 01 March 2005 - 01:30 PM

felt like there was less moisture on the paper than there is on the lid.


Susan\snowangel, I received your pm.

Please explain what you mean by dry parchment. I always crumble parchment paper under running water then place it directly on top of the food. This works best for me because it helps allow the braise to breathe. Also, I like to think it simulates the old clay daubiere\tagine\cazuela type pot which was the pot of choice years ago when a cook wanted to braise.

I'll get back to you after lunch.

Edited by Varmint, 01 March 2005 - 02:01 PM.

“C’est dans les vieux pots, qu’on fait la bonne soupe!”, or ‘it is in old pots that good soup is made’.

#51 fifi

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Posted 01 March 2005 - 01:33 PM

Granted, I haven't used the parchment paper so I can't speak to that. I have rarely been able to braise at much above 275 degrees F and I have a separate oven themometer. My most common temp is 250. I pretty much stick to that since I know how things work out generally. Yes, it takes a bit longer but I like the results better.
Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

#52 snowangel

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Posted 01 March 2005 - 01:39 PM

Paula, I didn't wet the parchment. I didn't crumple it either, but rather placed it on the pot (LC oval) and pressed it down so it was almost touching the meat, with the ends of the parchment hanging over the sides of the pan, and then I put the lid on.

Now, I've only braised in this pan a couple of times, but the other two times, there was some condensation on the lid when I opened to peek.

This time, there was no condensation on the lid (which there wouldn't be because of the parchment), but when I lifted the parchment, the parchment was not wet.

There was no evaporation of the liquid in the pan. If anything, there seemed to be a bit more liquid, but perhaps the vegetables gave up some more liquid as they braised.

I have made this same braise once before. This time, when I tasted on Sunday, the meat was a succulent as before, but the liquid seemed a bit richer, a bit more concentrated. I reheated it yesterday, as per your instructions, but forgot to taste it. Tonight, we will eat this.
Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"

#53 Wolfert

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Posted 01 March 2005 - 01:50 PM

you did everything right. And I think your assumptions are correct.

The only thing I would do differently is to avoid paper hanging out the sides of the pot.

Frankly, I braise on top of the stove more often than not. I learned so many dishes from women in the Mediterranean who cook that way that I've come to believe it develops a deeper and richer dish. I call it "bottom up" braising .
“C’est dans les vieux pots, qu’on fait la bonne soupe!”, or ‘it is in old pots that good soup is made’.

#54 Marlene

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Posted 01 March 2005 - 02:11 PM

Hmmm, I've taken the parchment off halfway through. I left it hanging over the edges because that's what Molly's book says, but as I mentioned, it makes it harder to get the lid to fit properly. Next time, I'll try it not doing that.
Marlene
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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.

#55 Marlene

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Posted 01 March 2005 - 06:16 PM

Stracotto with Garlic and Pancetta, Step by Step

I started out by sauteing the vegetables:
Posted Image

Then added the garlic head, wine and fresh herbs and simmered for several minutes:
Posted Image

Put the roast and the marinade into a ziplock bag and refrigerated for 24 hours.
Today, I took the roast out and browned it all over in some oil. The recipe calls for doing this in a skillet, but I used the Le Cruset pot that I intended to use for my braise.
Posted Image

I used a bottle of this for the marinade:
Posted Image

I strained off the marinade and reserved the veggies. Put the meat aside and poured out some of the fat. Added brandy, and scraped up the brown bits and let reduce. Then I added the marinade, and let that reduce, then a cup of beef stock and let it reduce again, till it looked like this:
Posted Image


Put the roast in, the pancetta, and garlic and veggies, used parchment paper, and put it into the oven, slow braised for 4 hours:
Posted Image

I gave up on the parchment paper half way through, but the end product was still amazing:
Posted Image

Smashed the garlic into a paste:
Posted Image

Shredded the pancetta and added it to the strained sauce simmering on the stove:
Posted Image

Sliced, or more correctly shredded the roast and served with mashed potatoes and sauce:
Posted Image

Before sauce:
Posted Image


This one was great. The only comment I have is that it's a little salty, due no doubt, to the pancetta. The garlic paste on top is an absolute winner. And it truly smelled heavenly while cooking!
Marlene
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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.

#56 memesuze

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Posted 01 March 2005 - 07:14 PM

Tonight I made the country ribs with mango, ginger, chile and coconut milk - delish and I can hardly wait for the leftovers, of which I have multitudes since I'm cooking for one. I'm storing the meat and sauce separately. I do concur with snowangel's green garnish and I might have upped the chile a tad - this is Texas, after all. [I was reminded, though, that my next kitchen HAS to have an exhaust fan - despite my spatter guard, there are tiny grease globules all over my glasses....]

Last week I devoured her prune, green olive, and chicken dish - I love prunes and I'm a sucker for olives [one of my favorite easy baked chicken dishes is from Donna Hay, placing a halved garlic clove face up under each chicken piece, and strewing the pan with green olives and cherry tomatoes after coating the chicken with a mix of lemon zest, parsley, and olive oil]

I think we have a Molly Stevens fan club going here - it's my favorite new cookbook, now that I've broken in Suvir's....there's so much information leading us to success every time out.

Edited by memesuze, 01 March 2005 - 07:16 PM.


#57 snowangel

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Posted 01 March 2005 - 08:29 PM

I reheated the Zinfandel pot roast and we ate it tonight. (made on Sunday and reheated yesterday, but not eaten) To test Paula's theory/premise about it being better than ever on day 3.

As usual, kid commitments and whatever prevented me from photoing this. But, suffice to say, byday 3, the roast is not slice-able.

But, it was succulent. Positively silky. Even Heidi ate it. She never eats beef. Never. Third time is a charm (like a hat trick).

Instead of the glazed carrots (last minute preps and kids sometimes do not agree) so I roasted carrots, pearl onions and a ton of garlic. Mashed potatoes. Salad.

Dinner tonight was wonderful.

I'm looking at a couple of her suggestions for the leftovers.

Memesuze, glad you enjoyed the rib/coconut/lime/mango dish as much as I did. I, too, were I not feeding my family, have upped the chile, although the cousin who took ALL of the leftovers (that'll teach me for being generous) reported that there was more heat on day 2 and even more on day 3, but he did advise me to up it next time.
Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"

#58 Marlene

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Posted 01 March 2005 - 08:32 PM

I've got my next recipe all picked out. Honey Glazed, Five Spice Baby Back ribs.

Somebody stop me. I'm out of control. :biggrin:

Susan, I'm going to have to come down there and start taking pictures for you. Better yet, I'll send someone who actually knows how to take food pictures :blink:
Marlene
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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.

#59 snowangel

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Posted 01 March 2005 - 08:52 PM

I've got my next recipe all picked out.  Honey Glazed, Five Spice Baby Back ribs.

Somebody stop me.  I'm out of control. :biggrin:

Susan, I'm going to have to come down there and start taking pictures for you.  Better yet, I'll send someone who actually knows how to take food pictures :blink:

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Marlene, I can think of worse obsessions!

And, I will empty the card on the camera, get it charged up, and keep it in the kitchen. It's just that there is always some crisis when I put dinner on. And, I promise to be better about photoing while I'm cooking. One of the things I've been thinking about is that I need new dishes. My dishes are plain white Corelle (tough to break; thanks kids) and so everything looks so, well, plain.
Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"

#60 Marlene

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Posted 01 March 2005 - 08:53 PM

in case you haven't noticed, all my dishes are plain white corelle. :rolleyes:
Marlene
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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.





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