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What to do with all that leftover braised meat

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Please use this topic to contribute ideas for using the leftover braised meat from the eGCI "Truth About Braising" seminar. Thank you!

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We've been accumulating quite a lot of braised meat throughout the “Truth About Braising” seminar, and I don't know about all of you but there are only so many short ribs I can eat in their intact form. Not to mention, so many ribs are getting mangled by poking, prodding and testing that they can't be served to anyone except total food geeks like us. That means extra meat of a high level of quality, and I'd like to use this topic to explore some ways in which to use it. I'll start.

Lentils with short ribs

This is a dish I came up with a couple of months ago when I was called upon to assemble something for what I would characterize as an extreme pot-luck dinner. Everybody was responsible for one course of a multi-course meal, and a couple of days beforehand I was informed that I had to make the meat course (I was hoping that they'd let me get away with having Ellen make dessert!). The nice thing about it is that it uses a lot of short rib scraps and not a lot of actual short ribs.

I won't be giving exact quantities, because this is a leftovers dish: you take a bag of supermarket lentils and you enhance it with however much meat you have around, plus minimal vegetables and seasonings. Here's the basic idea:

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Start by removing all the short rib meat from the bones, and then trim the nice big pieces and set them aside. These will form the basis of your serving portions. All your other meat and scraps should be chopped up. Don't worry if a few bits of fat stay attached; you just want to be sure to get rid of the cartilaginous pieces that have an unpleasant texture. You can get a lot of nice edible trimmings if you work at it with your knife for awhile. Save the bones and the inedible trimmings in a zipper bag in the freezer for a later stockmaking project.

Pour a bag of lentils (a pound is a standard bag) into a pot and add the braising liquid (defatted) that your meat was stored in.

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I find that when cooking lentils it helps to cook them almost like risotto. Add just enough liquid to cover, and cook over medium heat until most of it is absorbed, then add more liquid. I hope these images will give you some idea of the progression over a period of about 45 minutes as the lentils expand to soak up added liquid. From image 1 to image 2 you can see the lentils expanding in the original liquid (which was a combination of the braising liquid plus a little water to cover). If you look at image 3 and use the rivets on the side of the pot as a reference point for depth, you'll see how much liquid the lentils have absorbed later on.

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Throughout the process, stir occasionally and add liquid and other ingredients as needed. I added a little more water, some wine, and a little more braising liquid from a failed experiment. Later on I added some diced carrots. You'll notice I didn't start with any onions in the pot or anything like that. This is a minimalist composition meant to emphasize the meat.

As the lentils are nearing doneness (still al dente but getting on), add the chopped up short rib meat and let it heat through. This would be a good time to add salt.

Everything up to this point can and should be done in advance. The dish tastes much better if you rest it at this point. You can let it cool and place the whole pot in the refrigerator until later if you like. About 45-60 minutes before service, put the pot back on a low heat. You'll probably have to add a little more liquid, preferably stock if you have some handy. At the same time, take those nice big pieces of short rib meat and put them in a closed vessel in a 275 degree oven with some stock or braising liquid. In the last few minutes of heating the lentil-and-meat mixture, stir in just a teaspoon or so of Sherry vinegar (or any other nice vinegar) to give a little brightness and acidity to the dish. For service, fill a shallow, rimmed bowl with a layer of the lentil-and-meat mixture, top with a short rib chunk, and sauce with a little of the stock or braising liquid in which you reheated the short rib chunks.


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Based on a dish we were served at Lidia's in Pittsburgh (one of Lidia Bastianich's outposts), I've made braised short-rib papardelle quite a few times. After braising the short-ribs to fall-apart tender in wine, stock, and some whole canned tomatoes, I remove the meat from the bone, reduce and skim the fat from the braising liquid, and toss it all together with some fresh papardelle. It's quite a wonderful dish.

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Great idea, mjg. Last night a friend and I followed your advice and made pretty much that exact dish, but with rigatoni. Fantastic.


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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The pappardelle sounds like a very good idea indeed - In London I had a dish of pappardelle with a rich hare sauce (a traditional pairing, I was told), and I imagine that the braised rib-meat had a lot of the same unctuous quality to it.

Short ribs aren't a popular cut over here, which surprises me... is it a similar cut to the jewish flanken? If so, there are a couple of Kosher butchers here in Manchester where I should be able to source it.

Using braised brisket, I've used dried butter beans, thyme, bay and garlic together with the braising liquor and a macedoine of vegetables, and come up with a very nice winter casserole - should work with the ribs, too...


Allan Brown

"If you're a chef on a salary, there's usually a very good reason. Never, ever, work out your hourly rate."

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Short ribs and flanken are the same thing, just cut two different ways. The short ribs are cut as individual pieces. Flanken is a cross-section of several ribs with the meat intact and connecting all of them.

I'm making a beef-vegetable-lentil soup right now with a melange of leftover unwanted vegetables, braising liquids, short ribs and lentils that have been in the cabinet for like a decade. I'll post some photos later.


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Braised beef makes the best sandwiches. bit of Dijon, some horseradish, Normandy butter. All the weird scraps can be smooshed down into the butter and will hold together well if one has the right bread.

A small bowl of the braising liquor and some frites and cornichons.


"I've caught you Richardson, stuffing spit-backs in your vile maw. 'Let tomorrow's omelets go empty,' is that your fucking attitude?" -E. B. Farnum

"Behold, I teach you the ubermunch. The ubermunch is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the ubermunch shall be the meaning of the earth!" -Fritzy N.

"It's okay to like celery more than yogurt, but it's not okay to think that batter is yogurt."

Serving fine and fresh gratuitous comments since Oct 5 2001, 09:53 PM

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Leftovers are also very nice crisped up and included in hash browns which can be made even better by the addition of a cooked egg with runny yolks.

I have also successfully frozen leftover braised meat when need be. The catch is that it needs to be covered or coated with fat. If not, it's sort of like sawdust. Dry, chewy sawdust.


Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"

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Beef and potato pie;

Take the beef off the bone; layer with sliced potato, (some uses mashed or cubes), maybe some onion and carrot

add some brasing liquid; pastry lid, eggwash bake. Good eating

Similar but as a pasty

The beef will stand pretty well anything as it is already so cooked and flavoursome. Hash might be a use, or potted, like beef rillettes.

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