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Old 01-09-2008, 11:35 AM   #11
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I will have to check the recipes later to get the details. Both recipes were from Mario Batali's cookbook Molto Italiano. The pork roast recipe I believe was called Red rooster, and the shortribs recipe was Short Ribs in Borolo. I love that cookbook btw. I probably just needed to leave the meat on longer which has already been mentioned. The leftovers for the short ribs recipe turned out much better after we had to reheat the meat.

Thanks again
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Old 01-09-2008, 01:28 PM   #12
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Hi All,

I received a new 5qt Dutch oven for Christmas and have a question about braising. So far I have made two different recipes in the Dutch oven, and the meat has been a bit tougher then I expected in both cases.

When braising meat, would cooking the meat longer make it more tender? I have been keeping it on a very low simmer, and am thinking that perhaps the low temperature is throwing off my timing.

Thanks

(Have made a pork shoulder roast and boneless short rib recipes so far).
Hi WCH, You know there is no law against taking a dish out of the oven or off the burner and checking the tenderness with a fork. Depending, I often cut a small chunk off and let it cool and then taste test it.

This isn't directed at you, but I have never understood why cooks don't check their food for doneness prior to serving. I have been served grossly undercooked pasta for example. Don't understand why folks will take an hour to put together a recipe and then take it out before it is done.
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Old 01-09-2008, 01:44 PM   #13
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imho, the mark of a good cook is taste, taste, taste! you cannot know whether or not anything you make is good without tasting it. How much salt to add? or any? all sorts of things...

If you go to culinary school, that is one of the two or three ABSOLUTES that you learn.

(In French it's "Goutez!")
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Old 01-09-2008, 02:39 PM   #14
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imho, the mark of a good cook is taste, taste, taste! you cannot know whether or not anything you make is good without tasting it. How much salt to add? or any? all sorts of things...

If you go to culinary school, that is one of the two or three ABSOLUTES that you learn.

(In French it's "Goutez!")

Very true. One of the first lessons i was taught was how salt improves the taste of food.

I also agree 100% with Mozart's post on doneness.
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Old 01-09-2008, 04:09 PM   #15
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imho, the mark of a good cook is taste, taste, taste! you cannot know whether or not anything you make is good without tasting it. How much salt to add? or any? all sorts of things...

If you go to culinary school, that is one of the two or three ABSOLUTES that you learn.

(In French it's "Goutez!")
I haven't been to culinary school, but now I know why when I finally sit down to eat....I'm not hungry!!
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Old 01-10-2008, 04:50 AM   #16
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Though cuts of meat generally are tough because they contain a lot of connective tissue (collegen) which needs time and temperature to break down (thus the braise). Collegen begins to melt at 180F - so if your "simmer" temp was lower - it wasn't hot enough to break down the connective tissue.

Meat becomes dry by muscle contractions during heating (both in length and diameter) squeezing juices out of the muscle tissue. It is quite possible to prolong cooking at too low of a temp for too long and create a dry tough hunk of meat. Also, when you remove the pot from the heat - let the meat rest for about 15 minutes before you remove it from the pot to allow it to reabsorb some moisture as the muscle tissues relax.

There are some other connective tissues that cover meat - such as tendons, sinew, silver-skin, that covers the meat and must be removed before cooking because it will not "melt" during the cooking process.
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Old 01-10-2008, 09:58 PM   #17
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Hi,
The more the muscle of an animal is exercised the longer the meat fibres, the greater the quantity of connective tissue developed, sinews ets and the longer the cooking time required.

When braising it is best not to use to large a pot. It is best if the fit is quite tight - by this I mean that you should be able to put the lid on the pot easily, but when it comes to turning the meat you should be thinking uumm - how am i going to do this - it`s going to take a few forks and a bit of care.

The meat should be browned/seared on all sides. Then place on a mirepoix or bed of vegetables. Typical vegetables for a beef, lamb, venison braise would include: carrot, onion, celery, garlic cloves . I use whole garlic cloves and then squeeze out and add to the juices to make the sauce. Seasonings can include bouquet garni for all meats, for venison, include a few juniper berries, a couple of whole cloves and a few strips of orange peel. Place the vegetables in the base of the pan, place the browned/seared meat on top, add stock, wine etc to make a layer of about 2 ins. cover and braise.
This can be done in an oven 180C/350F/Gas 4 or slightly lower.

A typical problem can be loss of cooking liquid - this has been known to fool many a student into thinking that the meat is cooked - not so!

Now I have to confess I know nothing about Dutch ovens, but I have braised various cut of meat for years and used to be a food lecturer. If in any doubt as to whether the pot has a good seal, it is possible to seal the pot hermetically by making a paste of flour and water and putting it around the rim before putting on the lid.

One further word on braising - I wouldn`t dream of doing a beef or venison braise without first marinading the meat in some red wine, splash of olive oil, garlic cloves (halved) sliced onion, sliced carrot, bayleaf, any spices as appropriate for at least 8 hours and preferably more.

Julia Child recommends 3 1/2 - 4 hours for a 5lb beef braise at 180C/350F/Gas 4.
My old teaching recipe says 1 1/2 - 2 hours for a 2-3lb piece of topside, rump or silverside.

I hope this helps and doesn`t cause any confusion.

All the best,
Archiduc
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Old 01-18-2008, 06:03 AM   #18
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I agree with everyone. You need a relatively fatty cut of meat for braising, or it will be tough. There is no such thing as "rare" or "medium" with braising, it is all "well done and then some". I also agree that bone in is better for braising than boneless. All of that goodness of flavor and protein have time to soak into your liquid. I'm wondering if you're using enough liquid? If your cut of meat is too lean, a few strips of bacon over the exposed side of the meat will help (learned this one the hard way when doing game birds). Also throw some carrots, onions, garlic, and other vegies into the liquid. Tasty AND maintains the humidity level in the oven.
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Old 02-19-2008, 08:52 PM   #19
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braising is a technique used to cook tougher cuts of meat. Over time, the connective tissue (everything except lean meat, fat and bones) is converted to gelatin. Things to watch are the temperature, which should not reach 100C/212F, but a few degrees below that. Also, there must be water and fat in the dish, which must be well sealed, but not pressure sealed. A ribbon of dough around the edge is ueful here. And the liquid level should be half way up the meat, which should always be whole, and on the bone. Turn the meat over from time to time, you will notice the meat out of the liquid turns dark brown, but that under the liquid does not.
HTH
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Old 02-19-2008, 09:48 PM   #20
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I haven't been to culinary school, but now I know why when I finally sit down to eat....I'm not hungry!!
Sooooo true!!

I can't imagine serving something without having tasted it all along the way to make sure that by the time I am done it is right.
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