Technical question - what is the name of this technique

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black chef

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ok, i really love braised beef short ribs. i mean, i really, really, really love braised short ribs, and i cook them several different ways:

1. mirepoix + red wine + well browned ribs + 300 F oven for 4 hours.
2. moroccan style with a sweet, cinnamon-based rub braised in beef stock with a touch of honey, etc.

and here's the question...

Anne Burrell has a recipe for braised short ribs where she purees the following:

1 spanish onion
2 celery ribs
2 carrots
2 garlic cloves

then, she proceeds to brown the paste until it forms a "crud," then, she scrapes the "crud" up and allows it to form again. then, she adds the tomato paste and allows that to brown as well. then, she adds-in the red wine to deglaze and then the water, etc.

what is this called... when you puree veggies, brown them to a "crud" forms, scrape it up and allow it to form again... before deglazing? what is this process called? is it just used to form a flavor base? where can i learn more about this "technique?"
 

Dave Hutchins

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This is news to me. but I suspect she does this to add a flavor base to her braise.
The carmalization of the veggies would give great depth of flavor to the short ribs.
I have some in my freezer and think I will try the next time I fix them
 

Michael in FtW

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I'm not sure every combination of techniques can be reduced into one term.

I assume you are talking about this:

Braised Short Ribs

Recipe courtesy Anne Burrell
Show: Secrets of a Restaurant Chef
Episode: The Secret to Short Ribs

I think Anne actually identified the important term - "browning". Some people would call this "carmalizing" - but it's actually a Maillard browning reaction.

You puree the vegetables to start (that's one technique) and then you add them to the pan and cook until they are brown (two things going on here: sweating to pull the moisture out and a browning reaction) and cooks down to a crud (aka: paste - a reduction).

I agree with Dave - it's a way to develop a base flavor.
 
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Chief Longwind Of The North

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Two well known products come to mind as you explained this process, fruit leather, and tomato paste. With the veggies puree'd and the liquid evaporated in this way, you are making a vegetable paste. Depending on the heat used to evaporate the liquid, you will either simply make a paste, or brown the paste to some degree, adding additional (and sometimes unwanted) flavor to the paste. In this instance, the veggies used will be enhanced by browning the paste. And if memory serves me, there is caramelization going on here as the vegetable sugars react to the heat. Maillard effect is evident as well as the protiens oxidize.

In any case, it sounds like a great technique. You can also achived it by placing the puree onto a jelly-roll sheet, spreading thin, and placing in a medium oven for an hour or so, if you need larger batches.

Seeeeeya; Goodweed of the North
 

black chef

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ok, so it's simply referred to as, "developing a flavor base?"

i guess this can be used for sauces, stews, etc., as well.

i thought there may be a single term to describe the process she's using... but i guess it develops better flavors instead of just sweating the veggies and adding them to the braise.

does anyone know where i can read-up on this technique?
 

JoeV

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In any case, it sounds like a great technique. You can also achived it by placing the puree onto a jelly-roll sheet, spreading thin, and placing in a medium oven for an hour or so, if you need larger batches.

Seeeeeya; Goodweed of the North

Interesting! How would you store this, and what sort of shelf life could you expect from the mix? I'm not anticipating a long life, otherwise this would be commercially available, and I've not seen it on the shelves of my local Piggly Wiggly.
 

GotGarlic

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ok, so it's simply referred to as, "developing a flavor base?"

i guess this can be used for sauces, stews, etc., as well.

i thought there may be a single term to describe the process she's using... but i guess it develops better flavors instead of just sweating the veggies and adding them to the braise.

does anyone know where i can read-up on this technique?

Shirley Corriher's "Cookwise: The Secrets of Cooking Revealed" is a great source of information on the science behind all sorts of cooking techniques.
 

AllenOK

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Isn't this a "sofrito"? Used in classic Spanish and Cuban recipes?

I did something similar when I made some short ribs several weeks ago. I browned all the ribs over extremely high heat. Once those were done, I added in the mirepoix, with whole garlic cloves, and whole sprigs of rosemary. I cooked that until the veggies were caramelized. I added the beef back to the pot, poured in some red wine to deglaze the pan, stirred it around, then added some beef stock. Cover and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for a couple hours until just beginning to get tender. We had to reheat them for service at work, so I wanted them slightly underdone.

They were fantastic! I strained and saved the broth. I used some of the broth to make the gravy the next day. The rest of the broth was used as needed in the kitchen.
 

GrillingFool

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I've never made short ribs. Never even really contemplated them...
Now I am interested and will have to grab some when I see them on sale.
Thanks!
 

Lefty7887

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Isn't this a "sofrito"? Used in classic Spanish and Cuban recipes?

I did something similar when I made some short ribs several weeks ago. I browned all the ribs over extremely high heat. Once those were done, I added in the mirepoix, with whole garlic cloves, and whole sprigs of rosemary. I cooked that until the veggies were caramelized. I added the beef back to the pot, poured in some red wine to deglaze the pan, stirred it around, then added some beef stock. Cover and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for a couple hours until just beginning to get tender. We had to reheat them for service at work, so I wanted them slightly underdone.

They were fantastic! I strained and saved the broth. I used some of the broth to make the gravy the next day. The rest of the broth was used as needed in the kitchen.

I was thinking sofrito also.
 

black chef

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i tried Anne's recipe, and all i have to say is, "Wow!!!"

i got the beef short ribs from Whole Foods @ $4.99 per lb.

I've never made short ribs. Never even really contemplated them...
Now I am interested and will have to grab some when I see them on sale.
Thanks!
 

Chief Longwind Of The North

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I agree about it probably being her version of a sofrito, although I've never heard of anyone pureeing it before.

As far as cooking the tomato paste to develop more flavor, that's called to "pincé".

I.C., You da man! I'm sure glad you're a member of our little community around here.

Seeeeeeya; Goodweed of the north
 

ironchef

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I.C., You da man! I'm sure glad you're a member of our little community around here.

Seeeeeeya; Goodweed of the north

That's one of those "I'll bet you didn't know that" terms. It's something you learn in culinary school from your text but no one remembers it. 99% of the professional cooks I've worked with don't know or forgot the term. Only the French guys know it LOL.
 

FincaPerlitas

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Sorry, I missed the reference to tomato paste. With tomato paste, it is a Latin American sofrito. If you're interested, you can find a number of recipes and variantions on the internet. Sofritos are widely used in Latin American cooking.
 

Seven S

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what is this called... when you puree veggies, brown them to a "crud" forms, scrape it up and allow it to form again... before deglazing? what is this process called? is it just used to form a flavor base? where can i learn more about this "technique?"

I am sorry to say that I do not agree that the above process is a sofrito (spanish) nor a soffritto (italian). In neither latin american, spanish or italian cuisine have I seen this process of pureeing veggies, then sauteeing this mixture until reduced to a "crud", scraped up and allowing to form again. The word "sofrito" in spanish comes from the verb "sofreir" which means to saute... the chopped vegetable medley (chopped by hand) when it is sauteed in oil becomes the "sofrito"... basically, it is like a sauteed "mirepoix" that contains a few other items. Now everywhere you go across latin america you could see variations added to the medley, yet in most cases the onions, garlic and tomatoes seem to always be there. And in Italian cuisine, a "soffritto" is basically the same, a "battuto" (mixture of chopped raw vegetables) that has been lightly fried/sauteed in oil. Now, particularly in Italian cuisine, this mixture is never concentrated beyond a light golden color when using onions/garlic. The browning of onions/garlic in oil that is acceptable in other cuisines is considered objectionable to the italian palate, therefore, I would never expect this to be reduced to a "crud".

So... the purpose of what they are doing is indeed developing a flavor base. But to say that this elaborate technique described above by the original poster is a sofrito/soffritto would not be accurate. I do not think there is a name/label for the technique, but I do not know for sure. But I wouldn't be quick to label it as a sofrito.
 

FincaPerlitas

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I am sorry to say that I do not agree that the above process is a sofrito (spanish) nor a soffritto (italian). In neither latin american, spanish or italian cuisine have I seen this process of pureeing veggies, then sauteeing this mixture until reduced to a "crud", scraped up and allowing to form again. The word "sofrito" in spanish comes from the verb "sofreir" which means to saute... the chopped vegetable medley (chopped by hand) when it is sauteed in oil becomes the "sofrito"... basically, it is like a sauteed "mirepoix" that contains a few other items. Now everywhere you go across latin america you could see variations added to the medley, yet in most cases the onions, garlic and tomatoes seem to always be there. And in Italian cuisine, a "soffritto" is basically the same, a "battuto" (mixture of chopped raw vegetables) that has been lightly fried/sauteed in oil. Now, particularly in Italian cuisine, this mixture is never concentrated beyond a light golden color when using onions/garlic. The browning of onions/garlic in oil that is acceptable in other cuisines is considered objectionable to the italian palate, therefore, I would never expect this to be reduced to a "crud".

So... the purpose of what they are doing is indeed developing a flavor base. But to say that this elaborate technique described above by the original poster is a sofrito/soffritto would not be accurate. I do not think there is a name/label for the technique, but I do not know for sure. But I wouldn't be quick to label it as a sofrito.

Nice, informative post, Seven. However, although you may not puree the vegetables to make sofrito, it's a very common technique when you want your final sauce to be smooth, rather than chunky. I usually make my sofrito in advance and store it in small batches in the freezer to use as needed. When I do, I always puree my vegetables.

When I did a Google search, these were the first two recipes I found, both pureed:
Sofrito - Allrecipes
Basic Sofrito Recipe

As noted in both recipes, the sofrito isn't cooked until you use it. It's simply processed and frozen in its raw state.
 

Andy M.

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Pureeing the veggies before cooking is really not relevant to what it's called. Just think of it as very very finely chopped. The pureeing simply exposes more surface area to the pan surface and the heat so flavor extraction and caramelization are easier to achieve.
 
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