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Braising help needed


JoNorvelleWalker
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Also relatedly, my go-to recipe for pasta sauce involves pork spare ribs (along with sausage and beef chuck).  I brown them, and then braise everything for 2-3 hours.  It never takes 2 days (!).  They are not falling off the bone--they are tender but also have some resistence--which is how I like them.

 

I have ordered a pressure cooker (just yesterday) and am super excited--that's how I stumbled on this thread.  I can't wait to try out all the things that take me hours a day.  I have twin babies so no time for the old ways!  :)

The longer cooking time involved cooking the meat sous vide, not as a conventional braise - different process, different times. Don't use your current times for your pressure cooker or you'll wind up with meat particles.

Nick Reynolds, aka "nickrey"

"The Internet is full of false information." Plato
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I snorted my peanuts!

 

I've been playing with both the pressure cooker and sous vide.  I've had both better and much worse results with sous vide, but I must say the pressure cooker sure is faster and can turn out quite good stuff.

Cooking is cool.  And kitchen gear is even cooler.  -- Chad Ward

 

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The longer cooking time involved cooking the meat sous vide, not as a conventional braise - different process, different times. Don't use your current times for your pressure cooker or you'll wind up with meat particles.

 

Why do you think I want a pressure cooker?!  I'm ecstatic at the idea of making quick work of long meals. 

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They're really handy. I use conventional braising, pressure cookers, sous vide., etc. It all depends on what I'm making and what time I have available. You may want to look at a cooking food processor next (Thermomix, Thermochef) as they can make life really easy, especially in making risotto, polenta, cooked oats, etc.

Nick Reynolds, aka "nickrey"

"The Internet is full of false information." Plato
My eG Foodblog

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They're really handy. I use conventional braising, pressure cookers, sous vide., etc. It all depends on what I'm making and what time I have available. You may want to look at a cooking food processor next (Thermomix, Thermochef) as they can make life really easy, especially in making risotto, polenta, cooked oats, etc.

 

Interesting!  Those sound pricey.  We just sold our baby food maker which was a cooking food processor too ($100), but probably not what you're thinking of.   :)   Took a while to convince my husband that a PC was worth it so the thermomix may need to be a long con.  But you have planted a seed!

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Ok I just did some searching and it looks like those thermos are in the range of $1500-$3000.  That will be a REALLY REALLY long con over here :) 

 

Do you have an opinion on this?  http://www.kuchef.com.au/product-categories/multi-cookers/thermo-cook.html%C2'> $350?  Still a pretty hefty investment but it does look versatile. 

 

But at this point, for now, I just have to see how my PC goes and here's hoping it scratches any itch I have for fancy kitchen equipment!

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  • 5 months later...

For all those who are wondering, I finally retrieved the infamous spare ribs from the freezer.  It's been almost a year since I butchered my thumb.  I must say, the ribs looked pretty good, considering.  Maybe better than my thumb.

 

The large ribs I cut in three portions ("two by two, hands of blue") which are now Anovaing 24 hours, 68 deg C, per Baldwin.

 

Meanwhile the little pieces I prepared by The Romagnolis' Table spare rib recipe (pp 150, 151) except I pressure cooked the ribs fifteen minutes, per pazzaglia.  And I snuck in a couple bay leaves that were not called for in the recipe.  After pressure cooking I traditionally braised a further couple hours.

 

If I've had better tomato sauce, I don't remember it.

Cooking is cool.  And kitchen gear is even cooler.  -- Chad Ward

 

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  • 2 years later...

I haven't done a braise in a while, much to the disappointment of my battery of Le Creuset.  But tonight I opened a couple sous vide bags of chuck.  I'd been meaning to make beef stew for some while, but the immediate inspiration was a cookbook I was reading the other night at work which suggested using chicken broth as the braising liquid.  I can't recall the title or author, so unfortunately credit cannot be given.  However after a bit of googling I find using chicken broth for beef stew is a common technique, even if new to me.

 

I browned the chuck, added the ozmazome and chicken stock, onions, garlic, rangiri cut carrots and parsley roots, fingerling potatoes, two bay leaves, and much fresh thyme imported from my dining room.  Braised at about 88 deg C. for a couple hours.  Garnished with a generous chopping of the distal portion of said parsley roots.  Otherwise known as parsley.  Served with half of last night's baguette and a bottle of French Malbec.

 

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Cooking is cool.  And kitchen gear is even cooler.  -- Chad Ward

 

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  • 4 years later...
Prior to this gift (link), I had no braising experience, and I don't have much more now.  I have been reading the books on braising mentioned in the earlier thread, but many of those recipes don't relate to a specific cooking vessel.
 
In my mind I'm trying to understand if there's a difference between using the slow cooker in the Instant Pot and using an enamelled cast iron pot in the oven.
 
I need some help understanding what happens in a braise in an enamelled cast iron pot. (Do all closed Dutch ovens cook in the same way?)
 
The photo below is my interpretation of a NY Times RECIPE for Jamaican oxtail stew, recipe here, which calls for almost burning sugar in the pan at the start. Instead I looked up (how to) and made a wet caramel. The oxtail were not sautéed in the caramel very long because I was afraid to burn it. With the lid on, I put the cast iron in oven at 300°F for about 4 hours, possibly turning heat down to 250°F halfway, removed from oven to stovetop without uncovering, and eventually put in the fridge overnight.
 
In the morning I removed the fat layer. The oxtail meat was also not falling off the bone. So I put the cast iron back in the oven for some more, maybe about 4-5 hours, again starting at 300°F, then lowering to 275°F partway. I put the cast iron on top of the stove and the top surface of the contents was black.
 
I wasn't sure if the blackness was because the dish was burnt or because the caramel had darkened. Took me about 2.5 hours to separate meat, fat, and bone. Some of the meat seemed dry and hard, some of it soft. I cut the black bits into very small pieces in the hopes that might minimize any burned flavour.
 
It was pretty tasty, but I don't understand much. Sorry the photo below is so poor, four servings had already been dished out. It was served with red beans and brown rice with a side of asparagus.
 
So here are my questions:
  • Do the contents in a covered enamelled cast iron pot eventually reach the same temperature as the oven? How long does that take?
  • Is the goal of using a covered enamelled cast iron pot to cook for a very long time at low heat?
  • Is the goal of using a covered enamelled cast iron pot to use less liquid?
  • When disassembled, some of the meat -- particularly the black bits -- was hard and seemed dry, and needed cutting with a knife. Some of the meat was very soft and could be squished between my fingers. Would there be a reliable way to get all the meat done to the same degree of doneness?
  • What is different about the results from a slow braise in a covered enamelled cast iron pot and those from a slow cooker?
 
IMG_2878_cropped.thumb.jpg.56e5f3d8cc86e467cec5c2dbf84be5fd.jpg

 

 

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4 minutes ago, TdeV said:

Do the contents in a covered enamelled cast iron pot eventually reach the same temperature as the oven? How long does that take?

Any aqueous liquid (water, broth, etc.) in the pot and any foods submerged in it can't go above the boiling point no matter how hot the oven is set. That's around 100°C, 212F, depending on your altitude and modest boiling point elevation due to dissolved salts.

The air space inside the lidded pot, above the liquid, will contain some amount of water vapor or steam at that same temp that will moderate the temp so it's not going to hit the oven temp immediately but it will be higher that that of the liquid so any exposed food surfaces that aren't submerged in the liquid will brown and dry out.  That's why you check the pot every so often to turn the meat and prevent one side from getting dry and hard, adding more liquid if needed.

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Braising is long cooking at lowish temperature in liquid. The idea is to  tenderize tough meat without overcooking by keeping it mostly immersed in liquid (which won't go over 212F).  The long cook will tenderize tough cuts like oxtail. You would destroy a tender cut like tenderloin.

 

I like a pot in the oven because you know what temp it is and who knows what temp a slow cooker gets to?

 

A secondary benefit is that you can build a sauce with the liquid. I like short ribs braised at 250F x 3 hours in red wine/garlic/onion/carrot/soy and a spoon of tomato paste.. you can let t he meat rest in the sauce which makes it taste better and then reduce the liquid for serving.

Edited by gfweb (log)
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@TdeV "When disassembled, some of the meat -- particularly the black bits -- was hard and seemed dry, and needed cutting with a knife. Some of the meat was very soft and could be squished between my fingers. Would there be a reliable way to get all the meat done to the same degree of doneness?"'

 

I cannot open the recipe

 

Sounds like you ran out of water which dried the meat  and/or the caramel got to a much higher temp than 212F and cooked it badly.  I suspect the caramel is partially at fault.

 

A partially submerged oxtail ought to cook evenly and well in three hours braising.

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1 hour ago, gfweb said:

I cannot open the recipe

Try this. It is very close to the New York Times version of the recipe. You will have to scroll down somewhat.  

Edited by Anna N
To add a little more information (log)
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Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

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58 minutes ago, Anna N said:

Try this. It is very close to the New York Times version of the recipe. You will have to scroll down somewhat.  

 

Yes, very close. 🙄 I had double the volume of oxtail, so was a bit loose with spices. I chose to make wet caramel vs. dry caramel (as recommended by NYT) because of ToughCookie's post and her recipe at the bottom of this page.

 

I really like oxtail, but I've never had one taste like this before! Definitely bears repeating (with the advice given herein, thanks :D )

 

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