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Cooking with "All About Braising" by Molly Stevens

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#1 Marlene

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Posted 18 February 2005 - 02:33 PM

Snowangel and I decided that with all the braising going on here and with the knowledge gained from Fat Guy's excellent eGCI Braising course, we should start a braise of the month. In this case we'll be using recipes from Molly Steven's excellent All about Braising book.

I'll kick this month's braise off with a short rib braise I did from her book last night.

Short Ribs in Porter Ale with Maple Rosemary infused Glaze

I picked up some nice meaty short ribs. Who knew though that "sliced short ribs" meant the bone had already been sliced away from the meat? What you see here is my clumsy attempt to tie them back together again. The recipe calls for them to be sprinkled with salt a day or two before. Since I forgot that part, I managed an hour before:
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The ribs are browned, then the carrots and onion are added and browned. The recipe called for Porter Ale, and after Brooks filled me in on what that was, I had Don snag some from the LCBO for me.

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I found the Le Crueset braisier perfect for short ribs application.
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The ribs are braised in a combination of porter ale and beef stock. The recipe calls for 2 1/2 to 3 hours at 300, but I did mine for 4 hours at 225.

Once the ribs are done, remove them from the oven, transfer them to a flameproof dish and cover and keep them warm. Then remove the veggies and strain the liquid into a pot and reduce by about a half I guess.

Ribs just out of the oven.
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Somewhere along the way, you've taken the maple syrup, heated it, and added a sprig of fresh rosemary. Cover and let it infuse for an hour or so.

When the liquid is reduced, take it off the heat. In the meantime, some squeezed prepared horseradish is added to the maple syrup and rosemary. Take the rosemary out and brush the ribs with the glaze. Pour the reduced liquid around the ribs and stick under the broiler until the ribs are carmelized.

Ribs out from the broiler.
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You'd have thought the glaze would have been sweet, but with the rosemary infusion and the addition of the horseradish, it was not. I might be tempted to add a bit more horseradish next time though.

These were damn fine ribs, I have to say. So come on, braise along with us. If you don't have Molly's book, I strongly urge you to get it, because it's amazing.

Snowangel gets to pick the next recipe. :biggrin:
Marlene
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#2 gourmande

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Posted 18 February 2005 - 03:05 PM

That looks and sounds fabulous Marlene. Now I wish you had posted this before I started on my port and wine braised short ribs this afternoon :wink:

In your opinion, how does it compare with wine braised short ribs?
Cheese: milk’s leap toward immortality – C.Fadiman

#3 Marlene

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Posted 18 February 2005 - 03:10 PM

Lise,

Since this was my first ever short rib braise, I can't make a comparison yet, but you can bet that I'll be trying wine next.

I did do a pot roast not long ago in wine, and the one thing I noticed was the difference in smell. The pot roast just smelled more heavenly when it was braising!
Marlene
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#4 gourmande

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Posted 18 February 2005 - 03:46 PM

I have to admit, the intoxicating aroma was indeed the first thing Dale commented on when when he came home after work.

However, you've made a good point, one I've never thought too much about before, and you're right, braising or stewing in beer, ale, etc. doesn't seem to perfume the house as much. I had Steak and Guinness stewing for a few hours this week and a carbonade flammande two weeks ago, and neither aromatized the house the way a wine based braise or stew does. That's not to say that beer braised foods are less flavourful because they certainly are, just that the aromas don't seem as intense. Very interesting.
Cheese: milk’s leap toward immortality – C.Fadiman

#5 snowangel

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Posted 19 February 2005 - 02:53 PM

Snowangel gets to pick the next recipe. :biggrin:

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I'm on for tomorrow. They had beautiful country-style ribs (bone-in) at the meat market today. I also have a mango. So, it's the pork with lime/mango and coconut tomorrow night. I will post more about after it's done.

I must admit that I have done three other braises from this book -- the pork in milk, brussels sprouts and chicken with prune and olives.

They have all been outstanding. Really wonderful.

At some point this week or next weekend, I want to do the leeks with bacon.

Oh, and I have a aide of wild salmon in the freezer and there is that salmon braised with bacon and mushrooms....

One of the great things about braising is that I can get everything into the oven before the kids get home, which leads to more time to help with homework.
Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"

#6 snowangel

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Posted 20 February 2005 - 08:17 PM

And the hits keep coming.

Tonight was pork braised with mango, lime and coconut (milk). I didn't have any serrano chilis, so substituted a big bird.

This dish was really outstanding. I'll admit up front I didn't brown and braise in a skillet. I did it in my LC. Heck, that pot has to serve as more than just decoration. And, after the browning parts, I did it in the oven. I didn't have nearly as much evaporation as Molly suggested her technique would provide, but that was just fine with us.

The only warning I can give is that this dish does need a green garnish. Parsley would be OK, but I think green onion tops would be, well, tops! So, I didn't photo it. I didn't have a good green garnish. Best of all, everything I've needed for every recipe from this book is available, easily, at my local supermarket.

I can't say that I'll only do a braise a month from this book, at this time of year. Later this week, I expect it will be the braised salmon.
Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"

#7 gourmande

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Posted 20 February 2005 - 09:16 PM

I must get this braising book so that I too can contribute ... or... are non-Molly recipes welcome?
Cheese: milk’s leap toward immortality – C.Fadiman

#8 Marlene

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Posted 20 February 2005 - 09:19 PM

Lise, you should get the book. This thread is intended to relate experiences with Molly's book, but hell, all recipes are welcome!
Marlene
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#9 johnnycab

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Posted 20 February 2005 - 10:02 PM

Molly Stevens also contributes to Fine Cooking magazine. I highly recommend it - it's got more usable recipes than Cook's Illustrated.

#10 chezcherie

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Posted 21 February 2005 - 12:13 AM

my book is on the way and the thread is killing me...i am very anxious to pariticipate with all senses! fedex, hurry, hurry!

edited for terrible typing

Edited by chezcherie, 21 February 2005 - 12:13 AM.

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#11 CtznCane

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Posted 21 February 2005 - 03:32 AM

While this receipe calls for bone-in short ribs, I used this recipe for boneless short ribs for our SuperBowl party main dish. It worked out great. I used the Anchor Porter in part because Anchor is one of my favorite breweries to begin with.
Charles a food and wine addict - "Just as magic can be black or white, so can addictions be good, bad or neither. As long as a habit enslaves it makes the grade, it need not be sinful as well." - Victor Mollo

#12 gourmande

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Posted 21 February 2005 - 07:43 AM

Lise, you should get the book.  This thread is intended to relate experiences with Molly's book, but hell, all recipes are welcome!

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No problem, any excuse to get a new cookbook works with me :wink:
Cheese: milk’s leap toward immortality – C.Fadiman

#13 helenas

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Posted 21 February 2005 - 09:06 PM

Made Bisteces Rancheros tonight. Shoulder beefsteaks braised with tomatoes, potatoes and poblano peppers.
Some obeservations/suggestions:
use cazuela if possible;
white onions are perfect - pungent/sweet balanced although don't slice them too thin - negatively affects the presentation;
potatoes - although sliced thinner than suggested 1/8 inch they came out underdone - parboiling?
tomatoes - the idea of flattening is a smart one - a visual plus.
poblanos - for a perfect heat i suggest to double the amount.
Overall - should be added ti the list of highly recommended recipes in this book.

#14 snowangel

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Posted 21 February 2005 - 09:45 PM

Thanks for the report, helens. In lieu of a cazuela, what would you recommend?

I would have thought that the potatoes would have been cooked through. Probably parboil. Might be easier to briefly parboil them already sliced?

Edited to add: I did mark the recipe in my book to reflect your thoughts.

Edited by snowangel, 21 February 2005 - 09:46 PM.

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#15 Anna N

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Posted 22 February 2005 - 02:06 AM

On Saturday I made the "Pork Pot Roast with Apricots, Cardamom & Ginger" and we ate it re-heated last night. It was really delicious. I cut up the finished pork smaller than Molly suggests and served the dish as a stew or thick soup. The sauce was wiped up with some freshly baked bread. It really hit the spot with its hint of heat from the cayenne, the sweetness of the apricots, the tang of the orange - a definite keeper.
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#16 Msk

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Posted 22 February 2005 - 08:43 AM

I made the braised cauliflower with capers and toasted bread crumbs. I enjoyed it very much. I made sure to brown the Cauliflower very well since I am used to roasted cauliflower.

I also made the Chicken Fricasee with artichokes and mushrooms (without the cream), it was also very good. I used chicken thighs and the chicken was melt in your mouth tender.

There was one section where she says to take out the sauteed onions and mushrooms and use brandy to deglaze. I found the onions and mushrooms had released enough liquid to deglaze the pan already. So I just added the liquid and reduced it with the mushrooms and onion in it. I was very pleased with the sauce it created.

I find that I get almost no evaporation using my Le Creuset 5 qt Braiser and dutch oven. So I just remove the meat and reduce on the stove. Or in the case of the Cauliflower, I just took the lid off like the instructions said.

I can't wait to do some of the other recipes.

Msk

#17 snowangel

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Posted 22 February 2005 - 08:57 AM

On Saturday I made the "Pork Pot Roast with Apricots, Cardamom & Ginger" and we ate it re-heated last night.  It was really delicious.  I cut up the finished pork smaller than Molly suggests and served the dish as a stew or thick soup.  The sauce was wiped up with some freshly baked bread.  It really hit the spot with its hint of heat from the cayenne, the sweetness of the apricots, the tang of the orange - a definite keeper.

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I had company the night I made the pork/mango dish and sent the leftovers home with my cousin (he loves leftovers) and prounced them even better when re-heated. I really need to either increase what I make, or quit inviting people over because I haven't had any leftovers myself :hmmm: .
Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"

#18 helenas

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Posted 22 February 2005 - 08:59 PM

Thanks for the report, helens.  In lieu of a cazuela, what would you recommend?

I would have thought that the potatoes would have been cooked through.  Probably parboil.  Might be easier to briefly parboil them already sliced?

Edited to add:  I did mark the recipe in my book to reflect your thoughts.

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Susan, any baking or deep saute pan should be fine, i just happen to be mildly obsessed with claypot cooking especially during the winter.

I had these Bisteces Rancheros reheated for lunch, and have a radical suggestion of skipping potatoes altogether. They really don't bring much to the dish and sort of nasty tasting the next day after sitting in quite a sour tomato/vinegar sauce. Maybe just to boil them and smash with some butter and chopped parsley.

#19 snowangel

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Posted 22 February 2005 - 09:05 PM

Thanks for the hint on the potatos. They seemed a bit out of place in this dish, anyway. I'm not particularly fond of potatoes with tomato, anyway. Perhaps that's just me. Your comment duly noted in my book.

I don't have a claypot. And, I am somewhat confused about just what a claypot is (yes, I'm admitting my stupidity here). I do have a nice ceramic pot, but I don't think that's what a claypot is. I think mine is glazed inside and out.
Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"

#20 helenas

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Posted 22 February 2005 - 09:14 PM

Made the Goan Chicken tonight. Chicken thighs marinated overnight in mint/cilantro/ginger/garlic paste and braised in rum and chicken stock, finished with a splash of cream.

Once again i used a cazuela and braised the dish in oven and not stovetop eliminating the need of turning the pieces over and over, but allowing them to stay juicy while keeping this nice crust of the initial browning.
Also used a dark rum instead of amber as this is what i had. And finished with creme fraiche and not cream as the sauce needed a touch of sourness. The sauce was addictive.
Served over cazuela fried rice - a recipe from one of the first Wolfert's books where you brown raw rice in evoo until toasted and then cook it like a regular rice.

#21 helenas

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Posted 22 February 2005 - 09:17 PM

Susan, have you checked your local Marshalls recently?
My local ones carry quite a selection of different spanish/portuguese earthenware casseroles and cazuelas. They are glazed except for the bottom and stovetop safe.

#22 snowangel

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Posted 22 February 2005 - 09:41 PM

Susan, have you checked your local Marshalls recently?
My local ones carry quite a selection of different spanish/portuguese earthenware casseroles and cazuelas. They are glazed except for the bottom and stovetop safe.

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I will do so. I will also be very near a large hispanic market later this week. Could I look there, as well? Am I looking for a particular shape? Will it have a lid?
Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"

#23 helenas

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Posted 23 February 2005 - 07:35 PM

Susan, to get the idea check the cookware section in The Spanish Table: Cazuelas and Cocote.
I have both types in couple of sizes but mostly use a 11 inch covered cazuela.

In fact tonight i used it for yet another dish from the book: braised cabbage. Added some double smoked bacon, fresh bay leaves and riesling instead of chicken stock. Very nice, especially sprinkled with coarse sea salt and red pepper flakes (my favorite marash).

I will probably be making country-style pork ribs adobado (sans chicken) tomorrow and then leave the book alone for some time :smile:

#24 snowangel

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Posted 27 February 2005 - 09:01 PM

On the table tonight was the Salmon baised in Pinot Noir from Molly's book. I used two kinds of bacon -- regular bacon for the braise, and bacon ends for the sauce/garnish. This dish was outstanding. Salmon really stands up well to the other ingredients, which would indeed overwhelm a more delicate fish. This dish however, is somewhat ditzy. There is considerable prep and chopping, which I certainly don't mind, but since this dish braises for such a short time, the work is more concentrated!

I served it with pasta with ricotta and peas from the recent Bittman column in the NY times. This was the perfect starchy accompaniment. This particular dish is not highly seasoned, so it shown in it's simplicity and allowed the rich tastes of the salmon to come through.

Finally, a salad of buttercrunch, a perfect pear, some blue cheese, carmelized pecans.

I would have taken pictures had Peter not dumped almost a full gallon of milk on the floor as I was dishing up.
Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"

#25 mamster

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Posted 27 February 2005 - 10:28 PM

I'm late to the party, but we've been braising all sorts of things from AAB since we got the book a couple of months ago. In fact, I've made seven of the recipes.

World's Best Braised Cabbage

Not the world's best, because it doesn't contain pork, but very good.

Bistecces Rancheros

Agree with the comments about the potatoes, but otherwise I liked this very much; I'd never bought the thin-sliced chuck steaks before, never even had an idea what you'd do with them. Was this the one with lots of poblanos in it? That's how I remember it tasting.

Caribbean Pork Shoulder

I like almost anything with lime juice in it, and this was no exception. Actually I made the smaller variation at the end, without the skin. Too bad there.

Braised Endive with Prosciutto

This was the world's best braised endive, because of the pork. Daughter Iris is a little skeptical of vegetables, but she sure liked this.

Chicken with Cider and Parsnips

I used chicken thighs instead of breasts and cooked it twice as long. The chicken was nothing special, but the parsnips with the reduced cider were great. Iris loved this one, which reminded me of the little boy in the book French Impressions whose family doesn't realize that French cider is hard cider.

Braised Sausages with Grapes

A variation on the sausage and plum recipe, which I'll try during plum season. I've written about this dish before, so I was curious to try this recipe. The biggest difference is that the one I make doesn't contain wine; the sauce is pretty much just grapes. I liked the taste of the sauce better in this recipe -- it's not as sweet -- but it made the grapes stand out too much. Some nice tart plums might be just the thing, though.

I can't wait to braise a few more based on suggestions from this thread.
Matthew Amster-Burton, aka "mamster"
Author, Hungry Monkey, coming in May

#26 snowangel

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Posted 27 February 2005 - 11:30 PM

Thanks for chiming in Mamster.

When I did the cabbage (I don't think I reported on it in this thread), I did add bacon and bacon grease, because my great and wise grandmother said that if you cooked cabbage, it had to have pork and pork fat in it.

My kids have liked everything I've cooked from this book, and I can't say that they really appreciate all of my experiments!
Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"

#27 bakezoid

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Posted 28 February 2005 - 05:30 AM

Thanks, Marlene, for starting this thread. Molly's book is so amazing. It's as if a wise and encouraging teacher is at your side. Each time I pick it up to read I find yet another recipe to add to my list to try.

Last night I made her Osso Bucco and Risotto Milanese. My husband loved it (he didn't know about the fennel). Tonight maybe the Vietnamese scallops. Previously have done the Coq au Vin, Stracotto with Garlic and Pancetta, and the Polpettone braised in tomato sauce. Every one a delight to prepare and a gem to eat!

I found out that she is signing books in Buffalo on Satureday and alas! I will be out of town. What I'd really like to do is take a class with her someday. Does anyone know of any?

Amy
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#28 Marlene

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Posted 28 February 2005 - 06:17 AM

We're expecting another snow storm this afternoon and tomorrow, which will make tomorrow a perfect day for braising I think. Since I've got a pot roast in the freezer, it may be a good day to try Molly's Pot Roast with apples or perhaps the Yankee pot roast redux!
Marlene
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Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

#29 wkl

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Posted 28 February 2005 - 07:36 AM

I don't have the book in front of me so I may get the name of the recipie wrong, but the other night I made the Popeltonne(sp?) braise, which is large veal and ricotta meatballs.They were VERY good.This was delicious served with crusty bread and a salad.

One question though she called for braising in tomato juice and I wasn't sure what that meant.Something like V-8 juice?I used some whole imported tomatoes instead and a little red wine.

Would like to hear any comments from others who have made this.

#30 mamster

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Posted 28 February 2005 - 07:51 AM

Funny you should mention the polpettone, wkl, because that's the seventh recipe that I tried but forgot to report on. I did use tomato juice (just plain, not V8) and was also skeptical, but the sauce was fine. The meatballs, however, were pretty bland. I had no trouble eating several, but it's hard to understand why the headnote was so enthusiastic about them.
Matthew Amster-Burton, aka "mamster"
Author, Hungry Monkey, coming in May





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