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Marlene

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

585 posts in this topic

Thanks Marlene! I had wanted to know though if you thought her recipes would also work in the 3.5 qt. LC buffet casserole, or do they pretty much fill your large one. It's hard to judge from the photos if a smaller one such as the one I have would also work. I would really appreciate your opinion as you seem to make so many recipes in yours. Thanks much ;-).

Hmmm. Let's see. The 5 qt takes about 9 short ribs. I would imagine the smaller buffet might take only six, but the liquid quantities should be about right. I think some of the other recipes like the cabbage, potatoes etc will be fine and won't need adjustment, but in terms of something like a pot roast, in order to do it in the buffet, it needs to be relatively flat.

I'm not sure that's really answered your question? I need to go view a 3.5 quart probably in order to judge better. Did you have a particular recipe you wanted to try in the 3.5? That might help me!


Marlene

cookskorner

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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Thanks again Marlene. Guess I should have asked if there was much space left in your 5 qt. when doing your recipes, and if you used most of the capacity of the pot for them. If the recipes didn't fill it up all the way, they might hopefully work in the smaller 3.5. Thanks much ;-).

Hmmm. Let's see. The 5 qt takes about 9 short ribs. I would imagine the smaller buffet might take only six, but the liquid quantities should be about right. I think some of the other recipes like the cabbage, potatoes etc will be fine and won't need adjustment, but in terms of something like a pot roast, in order to do it in the buffet, it needs to be relatively flat.

I'm not sure that's really answered your question? I need to go view a 3.5 quart probably in order to judge better. Did you have a particular recipe you wanted to try in the 3.5? That might help me!

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Two more braises from the book this weekend: one turned out great, and the other... we haven't eaten yet, so I can't say.

The pork chops with creamy cabbage got raves, although I left the cream out of the cabbage. And I learned something: between browning the chops and toasting the caraway and mustard seeds, let the pan cool down. Because it was still hot when I threw the seeds in, and all the mustard seeds IMMEDIATELY started flying around the kitchen, smacking into my arm, the wall, the sink, etc. So, if you make this recipe, take the pan off the heat before you put the butter and seeds in. I am still finding mustard seeds several yards from the stove.

That said, both the chops and the cabbage were flat-out excellent.

I'm not so sure about the pork pot roast with apricots, cardamom, and ginger. It smelled fantastic but the meat wasn't falling apart the way I wanted it to. I put it in the fridge so I could skim the fat, and when I took it out to do so, I tasted a little of the mushy veg-sauce, and didn't like the taste. But that might have been because it was cold. So, we'll see how it takes the reheat.

Sure did make the house smell nice, though.

And there was rhubarb at the market Saturday, so I'll be doing the pot roast with rhubarb and honey. I'll put the spice rub on the beef tonight and cook it either tomorrow or Wednesday.


Cooking and writing and writing about cooking at the SIMMER blog

Pop culture commentary at Intrepid Media

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Update: that rhubarb and honey thing is delicious.

Next time I'll probably leave out the orange rind -- it dominated the flavor too much. And I didn't taste the sauce to balance it at the end, so it was a touch too sharp. So a little extra honey and a little less orange would be my recommendation.

But the crust on the outside of the meat is fantastic, and both of us really enjoyed it.

Unfortunately, I tasted a little of the reheated pork pot roast from the other night, and I'm just not fond of the flavor. Also I think it needed a longer cooking time than Molly called for: I left it in the full two hours, but it's still chewy. Would leaving it in for longer help, or does pork shoulder just not get fall-aparty-good like beef?


Cooking and writing and writing about cooking at the SIMMER blog

Pop culture commentary at Intrepid Media

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Thanks again Marlene. Guess I should have asked if there was much space left in your 5 qt. when doing your recipes, and if you used most of the capacity of the pot for them. If the recipes didn't fill it up all the way, they might hopefully work in the smaller 3.5. Thanks much ;-).

I mostly do short ribs in the brasier, so the answer to your question in terms of liquids, I think you'll be fine using the smaller one. I think with some of the other recipes you're going to have to experiment with quantities to see what works and what doesn't but again things like the cabbage and pork chops, potatoes etc should all be fine as well.


Marlene

cookskorner

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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Anybody make the herb stuffed leg of lamb braised in red wine recipe from this book? I am going to make it for the first time this Easter, and am looking for any helpful hints or suggestions to have it turn out really special.

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John, I have not made the herb stuffed leg of lamb, but it is reminiscent of Judy Rogers Mock Porchetta (except that one is roasted not braised, but that's giving me ideas of trying that one braised!). I would definitely follow the advice of stuffing it and putting it in the fridge.

I noticed that Molly gives you som options of herbs, and I know that the the Mock Porchetta uses sage and rosemary, which is a heavenly combination.

But, I would definitely follow the advice uptopic about lowering the temp. I'd start with 250 -- it's easier to raise than lower the heat.

And, since this will be served sliced, I probably wouldn't do that "braise the day ahead and reheat" technique.

Be sure and let us know how this one turns out.


Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"

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Our first two braises from Molly’s book (actually, my first two braises of any sort) will be the Caribbean pork shoulder and the country-style pork ribs with mango, lime, and coconut. The beef rendang and several other spicy recipes are calling to me, but first I want our spice-challenged boys to develop the idea that braising = good eats.

I would like to become proficient at braising so that we can make good food on the weekends for consumption on busy school nights. I also like the idea of lunching on the leftovers (if any!) at work. My wife is off to find country-style pork ribs and boneless, skin-on Boston butt, and I’ll gather the remaining ingredients later this afternoon.

I do have a couple of questions for the seasoned braisers (so to speak) in the group:

We don’t have any cast iron cookware, enameled or otherwise. I was thinking of using a 12” x 2” aluminum sauté pan for the ribs, and a 6-quart stainless steel Dutch oven for the pork shoulder. Do these choices seem reasonable?

In a somewhat related question, Molly calls for 300 degrees F for the pork shoulder. Should I start around 250F and work up?

Thanks for your help, and any other suggestions are welcomed. I have read through the entire thread and noted popular recipes from the book. I’ll also google the recipes for comments. If this braising thing works out, there is a Le Creuset outlet nearby :rolleyes:

Bruce

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We don’t have any cast iron cookware, enameled or otherwise. I was thinking of using a 12” x 2” aluminum sauté pan for the ribs, and a 6-quart stainless steel Dutch oven for the pork shoulder. Do these choices seem reasonable?

In a somewhat related question, Molly calls for 300 degrees F for the pork shoulder. Should I start around 250F and work up?

Bruce, I use the dutch oven for all of the braises. Even the pork/mango and rendang ones.

Yes, start at 250 and work up. Easier to up than down with the heat, I think.

Good luck and enjoy. Don't forget to report!


Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"

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I made Marlene's Beef Ribs with Honey and Port (might not be the exact name but I don't have the recipe in front of me) yesterday, discarded the fat way and heated it up again early this morning before taking dd17yo to take the ACT, and am heating it again for dinner tonight right now. This might not be the place to report, but couldn't think of a better spot, so here it is. I'll get back here after the meal with reviews.


~ Lori in PA

My blog: http://inmykitcheninmylife.blogspot.com/

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"Cooking is not a chore, it is a joy."

- Julia Child

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I've recently started my obsessive collection of Le Creuset cookware, so of course I had to buy this book. After deciding I couldn't wait to have the book shipped to me from Amazon, I went to my local independent bookstore and just happened to luck into a bargain priced hardcopy for $12!!

I made the Soy-Braised Chicken Thighs with Star Anise & Orange Peel last night....this was INCREDIBLE. By far, it was my favorite Asian inspired recipe I've ever made. And so easy. I was only making a small batch though since I was cooking it in my tiny 2 1/2 quart french oven (I could only fit 3 of the organic Smart Chicken thighs). I used the same amount of liquid and garlic/ginger/scallions as called for in the recipe though. And, I actually had the kecap manis soy sauce (a Malaysian friend's fried rice recipe uses it, so I had a bottle in the pantry). The sauce was so good in fact that I want to try making it on it's own and using it in other Asian dishes.

So, after the success of the first recipe, I drove back down to the bookstore and bought the only other copy at the bargain price. I figure it'll make a great gift for some lucky friend.

BTW...the recipe above calls for rice wine vinegar...I can only find rice vinegar, so that's what I used. Are these the same thing?? Or is rice wine vinegar labeled by some other name? I looked at two Asian markets here, and there was only the "rice vinegar".

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I made the Caribbean pork shoulder and the ribs with mango, lime, and coconut on Sunday. The pork shoulder was a big hit with the boys; they were stealing pieces from the moment it emerged from the oven. The meat was tender, and the flavor was nice if a bit subtle for my tastes. Of course, I have never been accused of having subtle taste in food. Setting the oven at 300 F maintained a gentle simmer in the pot, although I have never calibrated our oven's temperature. The Boston butt was skinless, so no crispy skin, more's the pity.

We served the pork shoulder for dinner tonight with mashed potatoes, pan juices, and raw carrots. Even after solidifying and removing the fat, there was a huge amount of juice. Has anyone tried using the juice for a reduction or thickened gravy?

For the ribs with mango, lime, and coconut, I added two remarkably large serranos and the sauce was truly amazing :wub: The meat was tender if rather fatty (no country-style ribs to be found, so I used spare ribs). We will have it for dinner on Tuesday with jasmine rice and a string bean stir-fry to be named later. Are country-style pork ribs meatier than spare ribs?

A picture of the ribs under artificial light was definitely more suited to the anti-dinner thread. I’ll see if the daylight is more complimentary.

Susan (snowangel): thanks for your help!

Bruce

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For the ribs with mango, lime, and coconut, I added two remarkably large serranos and the sauce was truly amazing :wub:  The meat was tender if rather fatty (no country-style ribs to be found, so I used spare ribs). We will have it for dinner on Tuesday with jasmine rice and a string bean stir-fry to be named later. Are country-style pork ribs meatier than spare ribs?

A picture of the ribs under artificial light was definitely more suited to the anti-dinner thread. I’ll see if the daylight is more complimentary.

Bruce, glad you had success! Yes, that pork/mango dish is really one of the most unattractive dishes around. I garnished it with cilantro, which didn't help. But, it is soooo good.

Country ribs are from the shoulder section. I get them bone in, and they are about 6-8" long a generous inch thick. They are much meatier. A better substitute would probably be hunks or strips of pork butt.


Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"

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I made the Caribbean pork shoulder and the ribs with mango, lime, and coconut on Sunday. The pork shoulder was a big hit with the boys; they were stealing pieces from the moment it emerged from the oven. The meat was tender, and the flavor was nice if a bit subtle for my tastes. Of course, I have never been accused of having subtle taste in food. Setting the oven at 300 F maintained a gentle simmer in the pot, although I have never calibrated our oven's temperature. The Boston butt was skinless, so no crispy skin, more's the pity.

We served the pork shoulder for dinner tonight with mashed potatoes, pan juices, and raw carrots. Even after solidifying and removing the fat, there was a huge amount of juice. Has anyone tried using the juice for a reduction or thickened gravy?

For the ribs with mango, lime, and coconut, I added two remarkably large serranos and the sauce was truly amazing :wub:  The meat was tender if rather fatty (no country-style ribs to be found, so I used spare ribs). We will have it for dinner on Tuesday with jasmine rice and a string bean stir-fry to be named later. Are country-style pork ribs meatier than spare ribs?

A picture of the ribs under artificial light was definitely more suited to the anti-dinner thread. I’ll see if the daylight is more complimentary.

Susan (snowangel): thanks for your help!

Bruce

Bruce, it looks like you are preparing these dishes days ahead of when you will eat them. Can you share how you are keeping them in the fridge and how you are re-heating for service?

Thanks,

-Mike


-Mike & Andrea

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Mike, these dishes reheat beautifully. I've given this cookbook to two friends who work outside the home, and many weekends, they'll make two of the braises to serve later in the week.

Paula Wolfert advocates separating the meat from the liquid, sealing the meat in a ziplock and storking the liquid in another container.

Sometimes I do this, but more often, I just transfer the entire contents to a container and put it in the fridge. When especially lazy (no, I mean busy!) this past winter, I was known to just put the entire LC in the outdoor fridge (aka the deck).

To reheat, I remove the fat from the dish (much easier done when cold than hot) and reheat it in a low oven.

If I make a braise that will cover two meals, I've also frozen a portion.

These long braises just improve with age!


Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"

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Susan: Good tip on substituting pork butt in the pork/mango dish. We bought a huge Boston butt, used half in the Caribbean pork shoulder, and the other half is in the freezer. Pork Shoulder Hunks with Mango and Lime: The Sequel.

Mike: We pulled the pork shoulder and stored it in small microwaveable containers, with the juice in a separate container. I nuked it and scarfed some down on the way to volleyball, and left the remainder semi-warm for the rest of the family when they came home from track practice. That’s probably not what you had in mind when you asked about “service”, but there it is.

The ribs, together with the sauce, were refrigerated in a shallow Pyrex dish. I’ll probably re-heat it on the stove to facilitate smooshing up the remaining mango chunks and adjusting the seasoning.

Bruce

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Thanks Susan and Bruce, this is a big help! That is pretty close to what I had in mind for "service", I'm feeding two 8s and a 2. :biggrin:

-Mike


-Mike & Andrea

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OK, here is a less-hurried dinner: spare ribs with mango, lime, and coconut (tastiest cat-barf looking thing I ever et), accompanied by jasmine rice and stir-fried green beans.

gallery_42956_2536_291476.jpg

Off-topic story: we add canned green beans to our dogs' food to control their weight. Accordingly, our boys consider green beans to be dog food rather than people food. In a last-ditch attempt to counter this notion, I stir-fried fresh green beans with bacon and scallions (two of their favorite foods), seasoned with ginger, sesame oil, and vinegar (from Breath of a Wok). No dice; elder son ate two beans, younger son ate one.

Bruce

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Our first two braises from Molly’s book (actually, my first two braises of any sort) will be the Caribbean pork shoulder and the country-style pork ribs with mango, lime, and coconut. The beef rendang and several other spicy recipes are calling to me, but first I want our spice-challenged boys to develop the idea that braising = good eats.

I would like to become proficient at braising so that we can make good food on the weekends for consumption on busy school nights. I also like the idea of lunching on the leftovers (if any!) at work. My wife is off to find country-style pork ribs and boneless, skin-on Boston butt, and I’ll gather the remaining ingredients later this afternoon.

I do have a couple of questions for the seasoned braisers (so to speak) in the group:

We don’t have any cast iron cookware, enameled or otherwise. I was thinking of using a 12” x 2” aluminum sauté pan for the ribs, and a 6-quart stainless steel Dutch oven for the pork shoulder. Do these choices seem reasonable?

In a somewhat related question, Molly calls for 300 degrees F for the pork shoulder. Should I start around 250F and work up?

Thanks for your help, and any other suggestions are welcomed. I have read through the entire thread and noted popular recipes from the book. I’ll also google the recipes for comments. If this braising thing works out, there is a Le Creuset outlet nearby  :rolleyes:

Bruce

The Caribbean Pork Shoulder is one of my favourite braises from this book. Definately start at the lower temp. I find anywhere from 240-250 sseems to work about right for most recipes. You only want the liquid to be barely bubbling while it's braising.

Oh and I started out braising with no Le Crueset too. I now have 6 pieces so beware!

The saute pan will be fine for the ribs as long as it has a good cover as will the stainless dutch oven. I have an All Clad Dutch oven that I've used on occassion for braising.

Oops, I forgot to report about Marlene's ribs.  A success.  Yum and double yum -- thanks, Marlene!

I'm glad you liked them! That recipe is now my favourite way to braise short ribs!

We served the pork shoulder for dinner tonight with mashed potatoes, pan juices, and raw carrots. Even after solidifying and removing the fat, there was a huge amount of juice. Has anyone tried using the juice for a reduction or thickened gravy?

I always reduce the juices for this dish. I tend to add some pork stock and then reduce considerably and the reduction works wonderfully for this dish!

Bruce, it looks like you are preparing these dishes days ahead of when you will eat them.  Can you share how you are keeping them in the fridge and how you are re-heating for service?

Thanks,

-Mike

Mike, I seldom make a braise and eat it the same day. First of all, most braises are even better the second or third day after making them and I tend to make a braise in advance for when I know I need to get dinner on the table quickly. I will usually de fat the juices before storing though and I almost always store the meat and juice together. In fact, after straining and de fatting, quite often I throw everything back into the pot, cover and stick in the fridge. Then I can reheat in the same pot.


Marlene

cookskorner

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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I made the Carribean Pork Pot Roast tonight - and i didn't have time to marinate for 12 - 24 hours - it was a last minute decision. I had a 3 1/2 lb boneless pork shoulder blade roast and thought "what the heck".

Added the spices and fresh juice (only had to substitue powdered all spice for the seeds) and let sit for about 3 hours. Heated oven up to 300 then dropped it to 250 and braised for 3 hours. Served with rice topped with some mango and cilantro and the "best braised cabbage". I don't really love cabbage but wanted to try it. I loved it and would definately make it again.

All in all a great meal! Tender falling apart meat - yum! :biggrin:

I definately suggest "de-fatting" the braising liquid. I did and got about 1/2 inch of fat when I put it in my gravy seperator before reducing for a few minutes. Great juice - we put a little on the meat and a little on the rice.

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Marlene: Thanks for the advice on reducing the juice; I’ll try that next time. Your recipe for ribs is in the dinner queue. I’ll also heed your warning about Le Creusets multiplying like enameled cast-iron rabbits. Saving for a mother-in-law addition should protect us for now.

Bruce

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With the second third of our Boston butt we made pork pot roast with apricots, cardamom, and ginger. Due to limited liquor supplies we substituted triple sec for apricot brandy, and dry sherry for the white wine. I also cut the cayenne in half for the boys. The meat was tender and tasty, and the sauce had a wonderful complex flavor. This time I carved the pork before re-heating, but it seems more efficient to separate the meat from the fat by pulling the pork after it cools a bit.

Our oven must run cool, because the sauce simmered quietly at 340 degrees. The oven manual has a procedure for calibrating the temperature, but we need to find an accurate reference thermometer.

Bruce

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I'm making the Duck Legs Braised in Port and Dried Cherries right now. I just put the duck legs in the oven. She says start out at 325 but I am at 300 right now. I will check in about 20 minutes and see if anything is bubbling too much.

I used my cast iron skillet to sear the duck leg/thighs. Since I can't ever follow a recipe exactly - I must confess I am just using 2 legs/thighs as opposed to 4. And since I didn't remember to put the spice rub on last night I went ahead and made it full strength (rather than halving it since I have half the meat) and let it sit for about 4 hours today. I think it will be fine.

I only seared the legs for 5 minutes, rather than 7 on the first side and just 3 minutes on the second. I didn't get quite enough duck fat to saute the shallot but I had some in the freezer and just cut off a piece and added it to the pan. The braising liquid smells wonderful. I reduced it down enough so it is just barely covering the bottom of my braising vessel - my 5 1/2 quart Le Creuset. I can appreciate the parchment paper trick in this situation since I just have the two duck legs in the bottom. I thought about using another skillet/lid combo to do the braise but I love my LC so much and just really think it does the job well for braises.

Anyway - It will be a couple of hours but I will post back on how it turns out.

I have to say I love this cook book!

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The duck dish turned out great. The sauce is divine, the meat tender and I will definately make this again and again. I served it with some Rosemary Roasted Red potatoes.

I ended up dropping the temperature down to 250 after the first hour and total cooking time was 1 1/2 hours for the duck.


Edited by Della (log)

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