Last fall and winter, I heard many of you sing the praises of braising. At first I didn’t own an oven ready pot then the Christmas fairies presented me with a lovely Staub Dutch Oven perfect for slow braises. Somehow, lazily I didn’t get on the bandwagon. Instead I thoroughly enjoyed friends contributions of braised pork, short ribs and other delicious tender meats. Don’t ask me why, but when I saw the weather dip this past weekend I decided it was time to venture into the world of braising. I consulted some of my braising enthusiast peers. Frank suggested a milk based braise, which intrigued me. Pork slowly simmering in milk, yields some of the most tender meat. I like that idea.
After a bit of research, I stumbled upon this recipe from Bon Appetit. The recipe intrigued me, seemed somewhat complicated for my first braising attempt however I liked the idea of the challenge. Interestingly enough the recipe uses a milk braise, as well as wine and pureed tomatoes. Unfortunately I didn’t take any pictures during my cooking adventure.
The recipe turned out quite excellent despite a few blunders on my part. I probably “chopped” my veggies a bit too much in the food processor yielding more of mush so I had to improvise a bit during the “browning.” I’ll also note that the recipe calls for 2-1/2lbs of meat, it was supposed to feed 12 first course servings, the amount of meat barely served four modest portions with a bit of leftover meat. However, I have a generous portion of the delicious sauce, which literally I could eat by the spoonful. I’m considering buying more pork to roast and add to the existing sauce or perhaps a pasta sauce to freeze for later. I’ll also note, I used Carlton Farms pork from Rainshadow Meats, I cannot speak highly enough about their overall quality, freshness and value for the cost. If you live in Seattle, for sure make a visit to the delightful Melrose Building.
The semolina gnocchi as well was lovely. A very dense cake was certainly more like polenta but equally delicious. My milk had cooked up to a bit too high of a temperature so instantly when I added the semolina it thickened.
As mentioned by the directions, this recipe is a multi-day process. I started mine 24 hours before, chilling the meat with the salt and cinnamon then waking up early to cook the meat and leaving about five or so hours to chill. Perhaps the “rushed” time period affected the results, but I’m doubtful. I do know this, I thoroughly enjoyed my first slow braised meat results. I’m looking forward to trying more this winter including short ribs in a cocoa coffee based braise, a coke braised pork as well as using beer to braise. If you haven’t tried braising, I highly suggest you do, it’s relatively easy yielding wonderful results.