Friday, August 13, 2010

Braising Everything!

Today's class is all about Braising.. vegetables, meat, fish.. you can braise anything really. You just need to make sure that what you use is tough enough so that it will not fall appart during long periods of cooking such as tenderloin, deboned chicken, filet mignon.. etc... Our dinner turned out amazing but my tip for you is that when you cook for friends.. don't try to braise 6 dishes at once unless you have an army to work with.. you won't have enough arms on your own or room in the oven- Yes OVEN! The oven is the best place to braise because you have more controlled heat that can keep the liquid to a simmer instead of the stovetop. That was news for me.

The basic simmer rules are: Use low temperature 275-350F, cover protein with liquid either all the way or 3/4 of the way, and make sure the lid is covering the pot very tightly so the liquid doesn't evaporate out.
The lamb took the longest time to braise 1.30h. but they were so tender that the bone fell off as we tried to take them from the pan. Meat should always be browned before braising so that we get more flavor out of it. Braising liquid used for lamb was stock and wine. At the end we took the lamb out and made a reduction of the sauce to pour over. It was AMAZING!
Then we braised monkfish that rested in a marinade 1 hour prior to cooking. Fish is more delicate and can't cook for as long, so to get a better flavor, it's best to marinade it beforehand.
The fish was halfway covered in the sauce prepared and braised at low heat for 30 minutes.
Look at this beautiful mushroom medley... 4 types of mushrooms sauteed and made into a sauce to go under our braised chicken:

You can also braise vegetables. Above are braised endives wrapped in bacon that was then toasted and served. Vegetables don't need to be browned but take a while to braise depending on their toughness.

At the end of the day our team had an amazing braised dinner.
Bon Apetit!

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