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


Marlene
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I got a bean pot because I didn't have a pot of any type of that shape in my arsenal. I think the casseroles are a nice compromise and would be quite useful. I have the little two cup size for individual servings. The saute pans are probably more limited due to the shallow depth.

One other thing . . . the photos of the casseroles on the site look like they are oval. They are round. I think that is a distortion of the picture or something. I would suggest you call them in case that is important to you.

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

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I'm intrigued.  What size Chamba do you find most useful?  I checked them out online but not 100% which one is the one I need.  On the Nutierra.com site they have the saute pans with lids that are low profile and the higher profiled casserole pans.  I can't tell how high they are.  I'm guessing that the lower profile saute would be ideal since I already have a high profile Staub.  Can these be used to brown on an electric stove?

thanks for the info,

Bob

Bob -- the saute pans do not have lids. Just the casseroles and the bean pots. from what you say, the 4 qt caserole might met your needs if you are cooking for more than two people.

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I am a little late to the party,  but decided to do the Short Ribs with Rosemary and Porcini. I opened a bottle of Australian Wishing Tree 2003 Shiraz. I had a sip of it and think it should do well. More to come.

I served this with baby summer squash sauteed with grapeseed oil in a La Chambra saute pan. The braise was incredible after resting in the fridge for two days. It also was enough work that I will try something like Linda's short-cut version next time to see what I think.

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Heads up on the ". . . Rosemary & Porcini" recipe. My sister did some venison forelegs using basically my shortcut version. This recipe is now pronounced excellent for game.

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

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I made the Bisteces Rancheros last night. My local grocery had some of those thin sliced chuck "steaks" that looked particularly good. And when I saw that the poblanos weren't all shriveled, dinner was preordained. I did buy the potatoes but ultimately didn't use them. It just seemed wrong. I also substituted Ro-Tel tomatoes and I think the dish was better for it. Another thing I did is to leave the cumin seeds whole. I ran into this idea with Huevos del Toro's chili. There is something delightful about finding that subtle burst of cumin in a long cooked dish.

This recipe is a keeper. And I now know what to do with the thin cut chuck steaks when they go on sale.

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

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Fifi, I enjoyed reading about your approach -- I loved the flavor of the porcini ribs but it all did seem a bit too much to deal with on a regular basis.

Tonight I did the Butter-Glazed Radishes. I've been reading about radishes as a good low-carb vegetable and since I'm doing a (very casual) reduced carb thing, I thought I would try it, even though cooked radishes sounded odd to me. A very simple recipe and it was actually quite good and pretty -- the red and white of the radishes meld into this very appealing pink glaze. The radishes have a very sweet, homey, earthy taste that tastes a bit (according to my five-year-old) like broccoli. She's right, actually -- too bad she wouldn't eat them.

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Trying to get my mind off the winter weather outside and to appreciate more braising appropriate weather. Made Salmon Filets braised in Pinot Noir with line-caught salmon. They weren't as thick as Molly recommended so I shortened up the braising time. Also my son (17-years-old) hates mushrooms. I was able to include the chopped stems in the aromatics ( sneaky - the solids got strained out of the sauce in the finish), but put the bacon-mushroom caps garnish on the side. With it I made the bad-ass broccoli from the thread of the same name and Potatoes Madeleines which were a hot thread some time ago . So I guess it was an all eGullet dinner. It kept me busy most of the late afternnon and away from the window. Oddly enough my son liked the potatoes and broccoli better than the salmon. Could it be that he could taste the undertones of the mushrooms in the fish and the sauce? Hmmmm..... :unsure:

If more of us valued food & cheer & song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world. - J.R.R. Tolkien
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BEEF SHIN

I got some marrow bones to roast, and the butcher offered me the beef shin they came out of at a good price. It was a real chunk of meat -- about 4 pounds -- full of fat, gristle, silverskin and tendons. In other words, it looked perfect for braising.

I browned it in olive oil and threw in a couple of tablespoons of rubbed sage, half a dozen star anise, a small handful of black peppercorns, a couple of big sprigs of rosemary, a couple of bay leaves, a few whole cloves of garlic and beef broth. The meat nearly filled the pot, so the broth came about 3" up the side.

I cooked on the stovetop it in a heavy stainless steel pot, glazed on the outside, with a thick aluminum disk on the bottom and a domed lid. Revere, I think.

It took forever to cook. After 4 hours, the meat was like leather. When I came back after 7 hours, however, the transformation had occurred -- still a bit stringy, but falling apart tender. There was very little fat in the liquid. For some reason, it stayed in the meat. Also, a lot of liquid came out, and the meat was almost covered. Finally, the meat had shrunk quite a bit.

We couldn't hold dinner until the braise finished, so we had it the next day with the sauce (which needed almost no reduction) over rice. Wonderful depth of flavor, though I still didn't like the stringy texture.

The verdict: worth doing, but I think I'll stick with short ribs and chuck.

Edited by k43 (log)
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Two muffins were sitting in an oven when the first turns to the other and says "Damn it sure is getting hot in here" when suddenly the other one screams "oh shit a talking muffin!"

Just breaking up the silence with a little humor.

I just got Molly's book recently and have found that unless you plan ahead, it's very difficult to make a quick braise as there is usually 12-24 marinating times or an ingredient you just ran out of.

I made the Goan Chicken anyway. Didn't have mint though and I only marinated for 3 hours. I added a quick squeaze of lemon at the end of the reduction and it tasted great but not how it was intended. Same with the Morrocan Chicken. I didn't have Cilantro and I didn't want to go back out to the store. I made it anyway. I tried to go by memory when I finally got to the store but bought Apricots instead of plums (or prunes...can't remember) for the first couple of chicken braises with olives. Even if I did get them, I'd have to soak them overnight making it impossible to make the dish until then anyway.

A couple of questions, what olives do people use for those dishes that require it? How do you think substituting apricots in place of the plums/prunes would come out? Are there recipes in the book for meats that don't involve 24 hours of prep time for marinating or draining yogurt (from one of Paula's recipes)? Speaking of Paula Wolfert, what book is recommended for cooking Tagine's?

I ordered a Rifi Tagine that will arrive next Wed. Can't wait to use it after proper curing, seasoning and ageing of course. I hope to get a Chamba casserole for my birthday next month. It's #1 on the want list. A Tagra will be #2 as soon as Sami gets back with some info on them.

Cheers,

Bob

My Photography: Bob Worthington Photography

 

My music: Coronado Big Band
 

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Octaveman . . . check out this post.

What you are referring to is some of what I call fiddley. There are two things about this book that I object to. 1) Some of the recipes are maybe unnecessarily fiddley and 2) the temperatures are almost universally too high. But the recipes are still great.

Substitute away if you wish. I just use those green olives whatever they are. They are good.

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

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I did one final braise from this book before I put it away for the summer and my thoughts turn to grilling and salads instead. Coq au vin was on Thursday night's menu.

First, I diced up the slab bacon and fried it and got the rest of my mise en place ready:

gallery_6080_825_15410.jpg

gallery_6080_825_5261.jpg

gallery_6080_825_13515.jpg

I seared the chicken in the rendered bacon fat and some butter, and got a reasonably good crust I think.

gallery_6080_825_5472.jpg

Deglazed the pan with a little cognac and then added the red wine and the aromatics and reduced by half.

gallery_6080_825_11901.jpg

I reserved some of the braising liquid for the pearl onions and put the lid on and braised it at 300 (the book calls for 325) for an hour and a half.

Volia, coq au vin:

gallery_6080_825_39378.jpg

This is an incredibly rich dish. A little goes a long way. I really liked it, but I don't think I'll do much braising of chicken. I'll stick to pork and beef. Only because I like my chicken skin crispy and even though you get a nice crust on the chicken when searing, the skin is always going to be somewhat soggy after a braise.

'till we meet again in the fall Molly. :wub:

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 Bisteces Rancheros last night. My local grocery had some of those thin sliced chuck "steaks" that looked particularly good. And when I saw that the poblanos weren't all shriveled, dinner was preordained. I did buy the potatoes but ultimately didn't use them. It just seemed wrong. I also substituted Ro-Tel tomatoes and I think the dish was better for it. Another thing I did is to leave the cumin seeds whole. I ran into this idea with huevos del toro's chili. There is something delightful about finding that subtle burst of cumin in a long cooked dish.

This recipe is a keeper. And I now know what to do with the thin cut chuck steaks when they go on sale.

Did this one tonight. It was a huge hit. I did the full recipe, and next time, I would up the poblanos. Mr. "Eeww, it's a green pepper thing, I'm not touching it, and what do you mean there are onions in this" was informed that he would have a bit of everything, and even he was won over.

Yes, the universal opinion of the family was that more peppers would be better (she recommends about 8 oz. pre roasting, and I used 11 oz pre roasting).

One of the things that has amazed me about this book is that I have been able to coerce Peter (my current picky eater) into tasting a bite, and he has liked it. I did the chicken/prune/lemon/olive one. He proclaimed that no way was he going to eat a prune. Well, push come to shove, we have a "you have to try it before you hate it rule" in our house. He loved it.

Best of all, it has reminded me that even Heidi is able to masticate food. Braised food is very kind to those with oral motor disorders, and those with fine motor issues that make cutting difficult. Add the sweet of prunes, or the unexpected of onions cooked to sugary goodness, or the pungent salty of olives and even this little girl is devouring what I've made from this book.

Yes, Molly. I may have one more in me, from your book, this season. Depends on weather. If not, I bid you a fond farewell until the weather cools and I once again reach for wool.

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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Marlene, your comment about chicken skin is the reason I have reverted to removing the skin when braising. Well, that is not entirely true. If I am planning ahead to reheat the braise before serving, I may include the skin in the first braise. Sort of like I did here. You get the gelatin and flavor but avoid the flabby mess in the final serving. But my new friend is the boneless, skinless chicken thighs that are newly available. If I am not planning ahead, these work admirably.

Snowangel, I agree. You can't have too many poblanos. I did up the amount as well.

Now, a voice of dissention. I don't know that I have never put braising "on the shelf" (so to speak) with the arrival of warm weather. I am a low slow type of cook for the most part. I am too inattentive to do well with a hot grill. Summer brings smoking adventures and throwing things into the oven or crockpot while off on an adventure, arriving home to a meal. In Houston, our air conditioners are raised on steroids so I just crank it down if the oven has to be on. Actually, Lily Mae's Chicken speaks to me of impending summer. She would make it for large parties at the manse north of Lake Pontchartrain. The first party was always Mother's Day. But then, in this climate we really don't have as much of a seasonal influence that more northern climes have.

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

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I guess last night was Bisteces Rancheros night because I made it too. Although, I got home from work a bit later than I planned to do the braise and eat at a normal hour, I made it anyway and went out for dinner as it simmered in the oven.

I did make a few modifications to suit my tastes. First, I used Flank steak. Second, I added three Jalepenos that I roasted along with the Poblano's. Third, I used five poblano's although not sure how that compared to the 8 oz in the recipe. Lastly, I added a pinch of Cayenne and a tsp brown sugar. Since Molly mentioned that flank steak would not come out all that tender, I braised this thing for 2 hours in the oven at 275 to see how it faired then stuck under the broiler for another 5-10 minutes to brown the meat. Also, the sauce was too watery for me so I reduced and thickened a little.

When we got home, the house was filled with an incredible aroma of beef and peppers...one of my favorite combinations. Since we just ate, I portioned it all out for lunch the next day. I did sneak a piece here and there and noticed the meat was a bit stringy and slightly tough. Today though the meat was very tender and absolutely delicious. The sauce had refined itself overnight and had a wonderful peppery/sweetness thing going on. This is so far our favorite.

Cheers,

Bob

My Photography: Bob Worthington Photography

 

My music: Coronado Big Band
 

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Molly called for two poblanos. I sure wish I'd upped it to five. My kids were fighting over them! I had actually purchased more poblanos than I used, so I roasted them and have added them to the leftovers.

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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Made the Country-Style pork Ribs Braised with Chipotle, Roasted Tomatoes, and Red Peppers. Made it with boneless ribs 'cause that was all I could find. Very flavorful and good.

Last week I made the Braised Potatoes with Garlic and Bay Leaves. I used fresh thyme instead of bay leaves, because the dish I was serving them with had fresh thyme. The recipe is easy as can be and really yummy. I made a meal out of the leftovers. (well, only a lunch, but what a good lunch) That will be made often, varying the herbs.

"My only regret in life is that I did not drink more Champagne."

John Maynard Keynes

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Made the Country-Style pork Ribs Braised with Chipotle, Roasted Tomatoes, and Red Peppers.  Made it with boneless ribs 'cause that was all I could find. Very flavorful and good.

  Last week I made the Braised Potatoes with Garlic and Bay Leaves. I used fresh thyme instead of bay leaves, because the dish I was serving them with had fresh thyme. The recipe is easy as can be and really yummy. I made a meal out of the leftovers. (well, only a lunch, but what a good lunch)  That will be made often, varying the herbs.

Thanks for the report, Bella. All I have access to right now is pretty crumby supermarket tomatoes, but I think the roma's tend to be better.

So, I think it's on the menu soon. I do have some beautiful bone-in country ribs in the freezer...

And, thanks for the report on the potatoes. They are a hot item in our house!

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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Snowangel, don't let the lack of fresh tomatoes keep you from making this dish. Are Muir Glen tomatoes available where you live? They make some fire-roasted canned tomatoes which, I would think, would be good to use. Actually, a really good canned tomato should be fine. It is really a tasty dish. I'm looking forward to having the leftovers tonight.

"My only regret in life is that I did not drink more Champagne."

John Maynard Keynes

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Snowangel, don't let the lack of fresh tomatoes keep you from making this dish. Are Muir Glen tomatoes available where you live? They make some fire-roasted canned tomatoes which, I would think, would be good to use. Actually, a really good canned tomato should be fine. It is really a tasty dish. I'm looking forward to having the leftovers tonight.

I even have a couple of cans of the Muir Glen fire roasted tomatoes in the pantry. Duh!

I'm really thinking of making this dish the day before we make our first trip to The Cabin, and hauling it up for that First Dinner. It is usually fairly cold in The Cabin on that first night, and heating up the oven would be good. Plus, we're always too busy opening the place up and rediscovering just how wonderful it is that I don't want to be tied to the kitchen.

And, forget what I said about putting this book away for a while. I hate radishes. But, as soon as those first bunches appear at the farmer's market, I'll snap up a couple and try the butter braised radishes. I keep forgetting about the vegetable section of that book.

And, I just realized that I really should do the braised leeks and bacon. I love leeks. And, my family loves quiche, which is a natural. A natural for the leftovers before I even turned the page on that one!

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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I agree with Linda about braising continuing through the summer. Also stews of various sorts. A crockpot helps keep the heat level down in the abode.

Tonight I had a couple of pork chops cut from the loin that resulted in a two pound piece of loin braised in milk last week. I looked through Molly's book and Marcella Hazen's, too. Then I looked in the fridge and retrieved the basic tomato sauce leftover from last nights pasta dish.

Started the chops as usual, salt and peppered, dredged in flour and browned on both sides. Added some chicken stock to the thick tomato sauce and poured it over the chops. Then mixed in a tin of anchovies. Turned every 15 minutes for an hour.

This I can recommend.

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I did the Morrocan Chicken with Olives and Preserved Lemon last night. It was easy and came out very well. I didn't use mashed chicken liver in the sauce because I was using parts, but I can see that it would have been an improvement -- just a little more richness. I did feel that I probably would add a bit more herb and spice action as well as more olives -- the quantities of these seemed a touch conservative to me -- when I make this again. It's not exactly a weeknight dish in terms of ease of prep, but it's not huge deal either -- especially if you buy the preserved lemons, as I did -- and the results are impressively tasty. I wonder if anyone who has made the Wolfert version could comment on differences?

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In Morocco, there are five ways to make Chicken with Lemon and Olives. Two of them use the liver to thicken the sauce. The differences between the recipes are based on the spices, the amount of olives, and the kind of olives.

So, what were the spices and the olives you used?

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

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Hi Paula --

I used:

1/2 tsp ground ginger

1/2 tsp cumin seeds, toasted and ground

1/2 tsp black pepper

1/4 tsp sweet pimenton

1/4 tsp crushed red pepper

1/8 tsp saffron threads

as well as:

1/4 cup mixed chopped flat-leaf parsely and cilantro

and I used the green olive mix from Gourmet Garage, which I didn't pit -- I probably used 2/3 cup instead of 1/2, pitted, as recommended.

The recipe also calls for 1 salt preserved lemon, 3 garlic cloves, 1 medium yellow onion for one chicken or 2 3/4 lbs legs and thighs.

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Hi Greenwich ST

I know the one you made. It is one of my favorites. In Morocco, it is called emshemel or meshmel. It is a specialty of the city of Meknes which is known as the city of olives.

The sauce is intricately spiced just as you prepared it. My spicing is slightly different but not that much. I use equal amounts of sweet paprika and ginger and half the amount of cumin and black pepper. But there is room for variation and the 'touch' of the cook. Molly is a wonderful cook.

The sauce must be creamy: emshmel is made creamy by adding grated onion and crushed liver. After these two are added to the sauce, cooking is continued until they dissolve and make the sauce creamy (Moroccans don't use sieves for their sauces!!!).

The olives are pale hued green to brown with a pulp that is somewhat soft . This is hard to find so I often suggest picholine with the pit in.

I've made one change with the recipe since I wrote my book on Moroccan food;

I now lift out the pieces of chicken and broil the skin sides while reducing the sauce...

Edited by Wolfert (log)

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

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