Tuesday, December 20, 2011

braising notes & general musings

So, despite the fact that we make an awful lot of roasts here, one thing that very rarely happens (or at least, not intentionally) is a braise. Cuts of meat seared off and then stuck in the oven to cook low and slow for long periods of time, until they reach deliciousness.

Sunday night, I made one. It wasn't perfect, but it was good. A couple of lessons learned along the way:
  • Put your vegetables in the bottom of your cookware
  • Sear your vegetables beforehand - this equals deliciousness (seriously, some of the best carrots I have ever had resulted from this)
  • Sear your roast
  • To dredge or not to dredge? I vote not to, but that's simply because I don't think that it added anything. I actually strongly disliked the crust on my meat after dredging, whereas I love a good seared edge. It also did nothing to help thicken up the gravy afterwards, even though it had been suggested to me for just that reason
  • The juices from a braise will taste heavily of the spices you use on your meat, moreso than pan drippings from a roast - I liked this, but I might use a lighter hand next time. I did an Indian spice mix (cumin, tumeric, garam masala and garlic for kick because why not) and my gravy tasted very strongly of that after the fact
  • Use more vegetables than you think you should, because they will be delicious!
In a few minutes, Bunny and I are headed out to complete the last of our Christmas shopping. We still have both our moms to buy for (they are really the hardest, but we know where we are going/what we are getting), as well as his sister. Yesterday we thought we'd taken care of his sister at Winners, but when we reached the cash register at Winners we noticed several small but significant flaws in the piece that we had picked out for her. So another trip to the Eaton Centre today, as well as Crappy Tire. Not a big shopping list - 3 items, really, and wrapping stuff.

With that, we are off! (I have an excited Bunny beside me here.) Also, as a tease for later, Bunny and I tried a new dim sum place yesterday that we'd like to share.

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