Thursday, January 5, 2012

Braised meat.

I like braised meat.
It's a good way to get quality protein in on the cheap, it's a one pot meal and it's meat.. and stuff!

Here's how I do it: (feeds One meathead and his lovely wife)
2-3 lbs roast (I like lamb shanks, or beef chuck). Heavily salted. Cut the stupid string off. Preheat oven to 325.
Very hot pan/pot (cast iron if possible, never non-stick) with a little bit of oil (olive or coconut) sear till brown and crusty (not black and charcoal) on all sides.
Turn down the burner.
Pull out the roast, add onions/garlic/leeks .. whatever onion type aromatics you like. Add fresh mushrooms here if you like them.
Chopped in small pieces: dice, julienne, brunoise, grated with a box grater.. don’t care just make the oniony bits and or mushrooms medium little and uniform.
Lightly salt and use them to scrape the brown ‘fond’ (stuck on meat bits) off the bottom of the pan.
Put the roast back and make sure there is contact with the bottom of the pan.
You can add some sort of root veg here if you like them mushy.
Add dried mushrooms or celery if you like them.
Herbs go in now, dried just go in, fresh should be tied in a bouquet garni (which is fancy French talk for tying them into a bundle)
Put in some sort of flavorful liquid: tomato puree, wine, beer, hard cider, stock, water, or some combination thereof (use what you have) till it comes ½ to 2/3 of the way up the meat.
Bring it just to a boil. Then cover and put it in the oven.
After 90 minutes turn the roast over, and add root veg if you want them a bit firmer.
After 150 minutes (total) in the oven grab the roast with tongs or a fork and see if you can easily pull off a piece.
If not wait 20-30 minutes and try again.
If you can, great, you’re done.

For the worlds easiest gravy: fish out the roast and the vegetables you want to eat intact and throw in a small blob of butter (extra bonus points for adding a splash of wine or brandy here). Hit the remaining liquid with the ole stick blender (might need a little salt too, but you'll have to taste it to find out).
That's dinner. It took 4 hours but you only spent 15 minutes in the kitchen. If you can fry an egg you can braise a roast.

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