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Can anyone out there sort the mysteries of braising?

 
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pbone



Joined: 05 Jan 2008
Posts: 99
Location: Dutchess County, NYS

PostPosted: Thu Oct 15, 2009 6:53 pm    Post subject: Can anyone out there sort the mysteries of braising? Reply with quote

I just followed a recipe for "braising" lamb shanks from recipezaar and was disappointed with the results. The first thing that felt wrong was that the shanks were "under water" so to speak, submerged in the wine/stock/veggies. I thought braising was cooking long and slow at a bare simmer, with just about an inch of liquid/vegetables, (replenished as needed) uncovered in the oven. So here are my questions for the adorable and super-smart engineers: how much liquid? covered or uncovered? dredge meat with flour before browning, or not? Is there an ideal temperature for the oven? And finally, in general, what determines whether or not one covers the pot when long slow cooking meats in the oven?
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Dilbert



Joined: 19 Oct 2007
Posts: 1023
Location: central PA

PostPosted: Thu Oct 15, 2009 8:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

>>how much liquid?
undefined except by recipe - but you're right, not submerged.

>>covered or uncovered?
covered, usually - prevent evaporation....

>>dredge meat with flour before browning, or not?
technically, not part of braising per se. browning the meat makes for flavor and color; flour becomes a thickening agent, with some color / taste added if you get to it's toasting temp.

>>Is there an ideal temperature for the oven?
dunno about "ideal" but 275-325'F is about my max for braising - elsewise you drive off all the moisture.

>>And finally, in general, what determines whether or not one covers the pot when long slow cooking meats in the oven?

there are "wet" cooking methods and "dry" cooking methods.
wet methods most often used for tougher cuts of meat - allows time & moisture to break down the fibers. boil, poach, braise, stew...

dry methods - baking / roasting / broiling / grilling - work best where the dish itself has enough fat / moisture to avoid it drying out to shoe leather.
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