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Old 05-29-2008, 12:36 PM   #1
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Tom Valenti's Braised Shank of Lamb

Recipe for Braised Lamb Shanks

I did this for the protein in my 7 course Garde Manger final and it went over really well, and chefs usually aren't the nicest ppl.

Anyway, it's a lot of time and messing with it but I was very pleased with the results.

I halved the recipe, but ended up having to add more veal and chicken stock because all of my braising liquid was evaporating. I also used 2 bay leaves instead the 1 they asked for in the whole recipe. I pretty much followed it though.

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Old 08-03-2008, 01:09 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Billdolfski View Post
Recipe for Braised Lamb Shanks

I did this for the protein in my 7 course Garde Manger final and it went over really well, and chefs usually aren't the nicest ppl.

Anyway, it's a lot of time and messing with it but I was very pleased with the results.

I halved the recipe, but ended up having to add more veal and chicken stock because all of my braising liquid was evaporating. I also used 2 bay leaves instead the 1 they asked for in the whole recipe. I pretty much followed it though.
I'm not surprised you lost your liquid if you followed the instructions. Braising is done in a covered pot, and cooked in a low oven, the braising liquid should come half way up the meat, which must be on the bone.

If you do this recipe again, use a covered pan, and cook for 1.5 hours, up to 2 for a really big joint. There must be liquid (mix of water and fat) surrounding the meat at all times, which must be turned a few times to ensure browning (the recipe says 'caramelizing', but that's just wrong, only sugar does that).
HTH
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Old 08-03-2008, 03:40 PM   #3
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I LOVE braised lamb shanks and I looked up Tom Valenti when I read Bill's post.

Seems Tom is famous for this dish. I saw another version of his lamb shank recipe where he covered the pan with foil for 2 and a 1/2 hours, no turning.

I wondered about cooking the pan uncovered, too - guess it aids in browning.

Lee
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Old 08-03-2008, 04:35 PM   #4
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I LOVE braised lamb shanks and I looked up Tom Valenti when I read Bill's post.

Seems Tom is famous for this dish. I saw another version of his lamb shank recipe where he covered the pan with foil for 2 and a 1/2 hours, no turning.

I wondered about cooking the pan uncovered, too - guess it aids in browning.

Lee
The whole idea of braising is that the meat sits in a liquid of water and fat, and that this liquid only comes up the meat to half way. This is important. Firstly, the liquid does not get any hotter than 100C, secondly, a lid (well fitting) is used to reduce the loss of the water component of the liquid.

The meat in the liquid wil not brown, but that above the liquid will, producing nutty/roast flavours. When the meat is turned, the browned meat will add to the gravy flavour, and that which used to be under the surface of the liquid will be exposed, and turn brown, giving more flavour. This process can be (and should be) repeated several times.

Without a lid, the water will boil away, and you have a roast. You pays yer money....
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Old 08-04-2008, 01:44 PM   #5
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I kept up with it and it stood up against the critique of professionals. Major complaint was that it was plated wrong.


I'd blame myself for putting it in a hotel pan and not something deeper, before I went against the idea that it was uncovered.
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Old 08-04-2008, 03:17 PM   #6
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Two helpful tips for the next time you do this or for any braised dish:

1. Use a smaller pan, just big enough to hold the proteins. You'll use less braising liquid this way, and as Waaza noted, the braising liquid needs to come up to at least 1/2 way up the meat, preferrably at least 3/4ths.

2. Use parchment paper to cover the braising pan. Measure the parchment vs. the dimensions of the pan, and then cut the appropriate size. The parchment provides two major benefits: it allows you to capture more of the braising jus without it evaporating AND it doesn't trap all of the steam like a lid would, which would inhibit the flavors in the braise to fully develop. As a side benefit, the parchment also traps some of the oil that rises to the surface which makes skimming the jus a little easier later.
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Old 08-04-2008, 06:26 PM   #7
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I definitely agree with the 1st suggestion.
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Old 08-05-2008, 08:59 AM   #8
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Two helpful tips for the next time you do this or for any braised dish:

1. Use a smaller pan, just big enough to hold the proteins. You'll use less braising liquid this way, and as Waaza noted, the braising liquid needs to come up to at least 1/2 way up the meat, preferrably at least 3/4ths.

2. Use parchment paper to cover the braising pan. Measure the parchment vs. the dimensions of the pan, and then cut the appropriate size. The parchment provides two major benefits: it allows you to capture more of the braising jus without it evaporating AND it doesn't trap all of the steam like a lid would, which would inhibit the flavors in the braise to fully develop. As a side benefit, the parchment also traps some of the oil that rises to the surface which makes skimming the jus a little easier later.
The braising liquid needs to come half way up the joint because that meat in the liquid will not brown, but that above the liquid will, given time. Then the meat needs to be turned, so that the meat that was brown is in the liquid, where some of it will be dissoled nto the liquid, and add t the flavour. Meanwhile, the meat which is now exposed begins to brown, and the cycle continues. That is why the liquid should come to half way up the meat.

Use a well fitting lid. This is to stop the water in the braising liquid boiling off or evaporating away. The meat will still brown. Believe me.

The meat in the photo does not look cooked, it may be the photo. Some old recipes would have the meat lightly dusted with flour before braising, this is not to thicken any gravy, but to react with the meat to help form flavour compounds, and to help in the browning process. Note, you do not need to 'sear' the meat in this case, all you would do is toughen the meat, and likely burn the flour.
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Old 08-05-2008, 02:36 PM   #9
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The braising liquid needs to come half way up the joint because that meat in the liquid will not brown, but that above the liquid will, given time. Then the meat needs to be turned, so that the meat that was brown is in the liquid, where some of it will be dissoled nto the liquid, and add t the flavour. Meanwhile, the meat which is now exposed begins to brown, and the cycle continues. That is why the liquid should come to half way up the meat.

Use a well fitting lid. This is to stop the water in the braising liquid boiling off or evaporating away. The meat will still brown. Believe me.

The meat in the photo does not look cooked, it may be the photo. Some old recipes would have the meat lightly dusted with flour before braising, this is not to thicken any gravy, but to react with the meat to help form flavour compounds, and to help in the browning process. Note, you do not need to 'sear' the meat in this case, all you would do is toughen the meat, and likely burn the flour.
HTH
The meat will brown without searing, but you won't get the same flavor created by the Maillard reaction. You also won't get the same flavor in your braising jus. Searing will not toughen the meat, hence the braise.

If you cover the pot with a well fitting lid, you will not develop and concentrate the flavors in the braising liquid, unless of course you remove the meat later and reduce the sauce on it's own. You could also do that but it's an extra step, and you lose the concentration of flavor at the liquid's surface which occurs during the evaporation. An exception to this is if you're doing a low and slow braise in the oven, in which case there would be much more evaporation than if you were doing a shorter braise on the stove top. I do most of my braises on the stove. Maybe you're referring more to braising in the oven.

Read pages 162-63 in "On Food and Cooking", and pages 186 and 190 in "The French Laundry Cookbook" for more detail on this. Bottom line though is that there are many techniques for braising. However, some things like browning the meat before the braise is paramount if you want to develop a deeper flavor.
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Old 08-06-2008, 09:10 AM   #10
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The meat will brown without searing, but you won't get the same flavor created by the Maillard reaction. You also won't get the same flavor in your braising jus. Searing will not toughen the meat, hence the braise.

If you cover the pot with a well fitting lid, you will not develop and concentrate the flavors in the braising liquid, unless of course you remove the meat later and reduce the sauce on it's own. You could also do that but it's an extra step, and you lose the concentration of flavor at the liquid's surface which occurs during the evaporation. An exception to this is if you're doing a low and slow braise in the oven, in which case there would be much more evaporation than if you were doing a shorter braise on the stove top. I do most of my braises on the stove. Maybe you're referring more to braising in the oven.

Read pages 162-63 in "On Food and Cooking", and pages 186 and 190 in "The French Laundry Cookbook" for more detail on this. Bottom line though is that there are many techniques for braising. However, some things like browning the meat before the braise is paramount if you want to develop a deeper flavor.

agree with most of what you say, however, have the following observations. For me, braising is done in a covered pan, in a low oven, over one to two hours, using tougher cuts of meat, on the bone, or at least, in one chunk. The pan needs heat from all sides. In India, although an oven as we know it is not known, when braising, (called korma in Hindi) hot coals (charcoal/wood embers) are put on the lid, so giving an all round heat. This may well be to raise the temperature of the steam above the cooking liquid, and helping the Maillard reaction continue more rapidly.

The flavour comes from a reaction between the meat and carbohydrate (either from the vegetables or that dusting of flour). Searing is more likely to produce different flavours, from pyrolysis, as in cooking a steak. And any meat heated at a high temperature will shrink and toughen, the extent depends on the time and temperature. The reason for the braise is to cook long and slow (low temperature) thus lessening the likelihood of toughening, and to help break down the connective tissue to gelatin. If you do the braising properly, and for long enough, the flavours will develop.

I do not consider stove top cooking can produce a braised dish, maybe that is where we differ? A short braise is a contradiction, IMHO.

I don't have access to the books you mention, but glancng at what I could on Amazon on the 'French Laundry Cookbook' I noticed on page two the following:
" ...the process of braising and the amazing aroma of floured meat in hot oil, is incomparable....." he goes on to mention taking the pot out of the oven, and his comments on short cuts are pertinent, I feel.

Looks like a good book, I'll get a copy, thanks for that. I am interested in his comment about, if one is a good cook, one can go back in time, wow, a very powerful sentiment, and one I can empathize with, even if I'm not a good cook. I cook a lot of Indian food (real stuff, not modern rubbish) and the best flavours are always those from simple recipes (or ones stripped of modern corruption). Maybe its time for all of us to go back to basics?
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