Tuesday, October 20, 2009

First Braise

Last week we had nasty, windy, rainy, bitingly cold weather in NYC. It inspired me to do some winter cooking, a delicious and very satisfying beef braise. For the very first braise of the season I like to keep things extremely simple. High quality beef and vegetables, wine and stock for the liquid, a low temperature oven for many hours, and that's it.

So I started with my favorite grass-fed, hormone and antibiotic free beef from Slope Farms, in this case, a couple of pounds of chuck roast.Trimmed, salted 24 hours in advance, brought to room temperature, and then browned. Then a lot of finely chopped onion, and a glug of white wine to loosen the browned bits on the bottom of the pot. The browned beef comes back, along with thick carrot rounds and an entire halved garlic clove, both from Maxwell's Farm in New Jersey. In goes a mixture of more white wine and stock, enough to come about three-quarters of the way up the sides of the beef. Once the liquid comes to a boil, I lowered the heat and added three whole cloves and about 6 black pepper corns, top the pot with moistened parchment paper and a tight-fitting cover. One whole Serrano pepper pricked a bit with a fork is wonderful too, but makes it too hard for my little daughters. Two hours at 275 degrees, remover the cover and the parchment paper and let it go another two hours. Add salt to taste, and that's it.

Many meals are possible here. I shread the cooked meat and use it in sauce for pasta (think Orchiette with brown butter, turnip greens, shredded braised beef and lemon zest). Flour tortillas, green chili sauce, avocado, limes, and shreds of this braised beef make a pretty good meal too.
On the night after the night of this first braise (the flavors improve in the fridge overnight), we enjoyed it in its most basic form - a hunk of braised beef, a few carrots, the strained braising liquid, a crusty baguette, and a green salad with a bright vinegary dressing. A beautiful bottle of Gonon Syrah from the hills outside of St Joseph, and I no longer fear winter.


Andrew Ross said...

will make this when texas turns to a chill. with red tempier? thanks!

Brooklynguy said...

hi Andrew - Tempier would certainly be good. Lighter reds work well too, in a sort of pairing of opposites. Beaujolais, for example.

Jason A said...

Great minds think alike.

After spying some veal stock in the freezer I decided on beouf burgogne. I make mine with short ribs - sort of gilding the lily, I know. Served with boiled new potatoes and paired it with a Benjamin et David Duclaux Côte-Rôtie, it was heavenly.

Brisbane hotels said...

That sounds yummy. Try to marinate your braise in red wine, some peppercorns and lots of garlic, then fry it with olive oil. It's called "adobo ala pobre".