Recipe Ideas from Our Family to Yours…
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The Art of Braising!
Although braising may sound foreign to some of you, it really isn’t. What we’re talking about here is a lot of variations on the theme of pot roast: Basically, braising is cooking food in a relatively small amount of liquid in a closed container over a relatively long period of time.
The cuts of meat most suitable for braising come from the parts of the animal’s body – primarily the shoulder and parts of the leg – used in moving around. The tougher cuts. To make such cuts tender, it is necessary to melt the collagen, transforming it into gelatin. Braising is particularly effective at doing this because the meat cooks at a relatively low temperature for a long time.
Like stews, braises are even better if made a day ahead of time. This has two advantages. First, since braising is a long, slow process, it’s hard to have braised dishes on weeknights – unless you cook them one night and eat them the next. Second, most cuts of meat that are suitable for braising contain quite a lot of fat. If you refrigerate the dish overnight, you can then simply remove the layer of fat that will form on top of the liquid and discard it before reheating the dish.
When the temperatures drop and snow starts to fall, we’re in full-on braise mode. We’ll braise anything, from chicken to beef to venison, and it’s great every way. Browning meat before simmering it in a little liquid—usually some combination of wine, beer, and flavorful stock—gives incredibly tender, moist, and flavorful results.
About now we’re all ready for some tropical weather, but if you can’t get there… cooking a great Hawaiian inspired meal might be just the thing to get rid of the winter blues 🙂 Try this recipe for Braised Hawaiian Pork Shoulder and you will see what I mean. Serve with some rice and maybe some stir fried snow peas.
“Good painting is like good cooking; it can be tasted, but not explained.”
~ Maurice de Vlaminck