Friday, October 10, 2008
Here are some tasty meaty bits prepared via my favorite method: braising. Quick recap: this means browning in a heavy pan at very high heat to get a tasy sear, then covering the meat about halfway with a flavorful liquid, sealing the pan as airtight as possible, and baking it at a relatively very low temperature (~225 degrees) for 2+ hours.
In this case, the tasty liquid was about 2 parts red wine, 1 part water. I sprinkled the meat with salt and pepper first, but otherwise there was no seasoning. You want the liquid to be gently bubbling, but not at a rolling boil; this is difficult to gauge since you must seal the container, but using tinfoil makes it pretty easy to replace the lid. Or, if your oven's thermostat is pretty accurate, just aim at a little over the boiling point (212). The heaviest pot you have is important, but cast iron or other reactive materials will change the color of the sauce (although with a red wine sauce it wont be too noticeable).
When they're done (about 2.5 hours in this case) remove the meat, wrap in foil, and get reducing. I never have the patience to produce a true demi glace, but the difference is 10% less texture with 100% of the flavor. Stick the braising liquid over medium-high heat, and reduce by at least 75% (to make a demi glace you'll be left with about 10% of the liquid you started with, and the last 10 minutes or so require close attention so it doesnt burn).
I added a spoonful of my homemade extra-hot mustard, some diced scallions, and a healthy drizzle of maple syrup. Sides were some of momma's garden beans and parsely mashed potatoes.