This recipe you present for the lesson looks absolutely yummy. I am going to round up some short ribs and probably try a variation on the curry recipe.
I notice you don't speak of an immersion blender. Is there a reason for that?
Julienne, chiffonade, emince...? Fancy names. Simple concepts. Find clarity here.
An immersion blender would also work well to thicken the sauce. However, one benefit of removing the cooked mirepoix is that you can better control the thickness of the sauce. For example, what if there was too much mirepoix to amount of liquid and you pureed it all together using an immersion blender? You would have to add more liquid to adjust for the thickness of the sauce. This would dilute the flavor you have worked so hard to achieve through the various steps in the braising method.
However, if you pureed the mirepoix outside of the sauce and then added it back a bit at a time, you could stop adding the pureed mirepoix when you reach the desired consistency.
Rather than use short ribs, I decided to use what I had on hand. That would be some boneless country ribs. I seared them in a 10" frying pan, removed the ribs and then deglazed the pan with water, added about a tablespoon of curry paste, and a little fish sauce. After letting that simmer for a while, I returned the pork to the pan and added coconut milk to a point about 2/3 up the meat.
Rather than putting them in a 200 degree oven, I covered the pan and finished them on the stove top. My stove is electric (flat top) and has a feature that allows you to cut the power to two of the heating units by 90%. This allows a very low heat and rarely needs to be watched to prevent scorching. The ribs were done in about 1.5 hours.
When using the immersion blender I usually remove the mirepoix and then return a portion of it to be blended and that way can control the consistency.
No problem, flour works like most starches. In fact, it is used in a roux, and it's the flour in the roux that thickens liquid. But keep in mind that flour has less thickening power than cornstarch, so you'll need more. And it probably needs to be cooked out longer than cornstarch, about 3-5 minutes of simmering. But use it just like cornstarch.
Using some of the steps in braising I put together a very tasty beef vegetable soup. I started by browning about a pound of beef shank. After browning I deglazed with water and then added about 3 quarts of water and brought to a simmer. I added onion, carrot, celery, garlic, parsley (diced and/or chopped).
After simmering about 3 hours I removed the shanks, cut them up and discarded the bones (the dog got them). I continued simmering, replacing evaporated liquid with hot water fortified a bit with some beef base concentrate.
At the end added some very small pasta. The result was excellent.
I decided to try braising with what I had on hand, chicken meat from making stock, some vegetables and a can of good lager. I followed the process in the video, cooking it for about 1½ hours. When I removed the meat it was very tender and juicy but after it laying covered on a plate (I don't have a rack) while I finished the sauce the breast meat went a bit dry. I also added a bit too much cornstarch to the sauce. Still really tasty served over wild rice.
I made coq au vin last night using 1.5 parts dry red wine to 1 part chicken stock as the braising liquid. The sauce and the chicken both tasted fantastic in the end, BUT, whenever I braise using red wine as the liquid, the chicken (and duck) gets a purple, diseased look whereever it was submerged in the liquid and a brown look where it wasn't. It really reduces the visual appeal of an otherwise delicious dish. I don't want to have to take wine out of my list of braising liquids. I am almost convinced that I must be doing something qrong. The chefs on Rouxbe or TV don't end up with purple looking chicken. Then why do I do?
Hi Swati. Red wine can turn chicken (a white meat) a red color, this is normal. However, using your browning skills from the dark stock lesson (and the moist-heat cooking), you can try pan searing the chicken first to obtain a nice golden crust. Remember to protect the sucs as you can deglaze these for additional color and flavor. Then try adding a dark stock, maybe even a higher ratio to the wine. You could even change the wine to white wine. Cooking is so flexible, which is why it's so fantastic. These changes and techniques should deliver a very different colored chicken dish.
Remember, you can change the color of any liquid in cooking using the techniques you have learned. Play with it until you find the perfect eye appealing color for you. Cheers. Joe
For braised dishes I tend to use a slow cooker. Any thoughts about that? I have been making my own braised dishes in the crock pot that way, not even knowing that was what they were. I brown the meat in a separate pan and deglaze the pan and it seems to work very well, plus I don't have to watch it as closely. As long as you don't add too much liquid in the beginning it would be fine. Slow cookers tend to leave more liquid in the dish at the end them there was in the beginning. Although, it can be reduced further in a pan on the stove.
As for the purple chicken- one of my dishes is what I call "French Chicken" and I just naturally decided without consulting any recipies that I would make it with white wine and I like it very much. Also, lots of garlic and onions. Yummm.
You are basically braising just like you would be if you used an oven that was on very low. This is what we do here at Rouxbe, we often cook our pot roasts, stews and braised meats in a 200°F oven. Things take a bit longer to cook, (sometimes up to 8 hours) but the slow and low cooking is great - just like in a slow cooker or crock pot.
Here is a Drill-down called "Oven Temperature for Combination Cooking" that explains this in a bit more detail.
One of the reasons why we like to braise dishes at lower temperatures as it tends to maintain more of the Myoglobin (red pigment) in the meat.
For more details as to why many recipes use higher heat (and yes it is often just to save time) and why we braise at these lower temperatures see the Drill-down on Oven Temperatures for Combination Cooking.
In summary, yes it takes longer to cook at lower temperatures; however if you plan ahead, it really doesn't take anymore effort, as the oven is doing all of the work for you...much like a slow cooker.
Hope this helps!
I remember hearing that "If you wouldn't drink it, don't cook with it". So, I use good (but affordable) wine in my cooking. However, I am confused at times by the definition of "full bodied" wines called for in some recipes. Could I have some recommendations of types of full bodied wines? I don't need names or brands...just examples.
Today, I'm braising short ribs for the first time after taking the combination and braising lessons.
Love this site!
Typically Cabernet Sauvignon, Shriaz/Syrah and Zinfandel are all full-bodied wines. Any of those will work.
Merlot and Pinot noir can also be full-bodied, but it depends on the wine. Just ask at the wine store.
Have fun braising your short ribs! I'm sure they will be fantastic. Cheers!
You are not wrong at all, Mike. Good thinking. There is a Drill-down called Oven Temperatures for Combination Cooking that is attached to the lesson, which goes into some detail about this. We prefer the low and slow method. Cheers!
Although, Braising/Stewing is great technique for making tough meats to melt in your mouth tender. It also leaves the meat bland. I have tasted a lot of braised/stewed dishes for example a beef goulash, osso buco, etc.. cooked by professional chefs. The sauce is flavorful but the meat is just bland. Is there any way we could prevent the flavor of the meat from leaching out into the sauce?
Why does long cooking kills flavor like osso buco taste dead like a liver spread/ pate?
To say that the meat in ALL braised and stewed dishes is bland, is not necessarily correct. There are many things that contribute to good flavor in a stew, braised dish or pot roast. If a quality piece of meat is used and treated kindly during the cooking process with slow and low cooking and care is taken to build the flavor within the dish, the flavor of the meat will still be delicious.
If a dish is cooked for far too long and at very high heat, yes, the meat can lose its flavor. But cooked slowly, on low heat until it is just fork tender, the meat will maintain its integrity and much of its flavor. Try experimenting by following the steps in the lesson and taste the results. If you still don't like them, perhaps braised meats are just not your cup of tea? Cheers!
Brining is typically used for lean meats; whereas the meat used for combination cooking should contain plenty of connective tissue and fat so it doesn't require any added moisture. Before brining the meat, try marinating it to infuse additional flavor, if desired. Cheers!