I've had such a busy week with lots of great stuff going on, but I felt that the only meal I had time to sit down for was breakfast, if I got up an hour earlier than I used to.
While organizing my time, I remembered I had some friends coming over for dinner. Since I knew I didn't have the time to be in the kitchen prior their arrival, and I didn't want to be there when they were visiting, I chose the 'easy way out' -- no, it wasn't take out, but braising a stew in the oven.
There's so little effort to it, with such a reward in the end.
Few things to remember, that will make your braise delicious:
- Always choose meat with on a bone, if possible. The bones will give so much flavor to your dish
- Season your meat well, and sear it on medium-high heat on all sides
- Saute your mirepoix, chopped onions, carrots, celery, in the pan drippings from the meat until nice caramel brown color
- Deglaze the pan with brazing liquid, I used a nice dry red wine, but any liquid you use to braise, will be great.
- Set the saute mirepoix on the bottom of a dutch oven with the meat on the top, some bay leafs, and add the rest of the braising liquid. Remember not to submerged the ingredients, meaning is to braise, not boil them.
Set the dutch oven into a medium warm oven, and let the magic happen.
If you want to serve it as thick stew, as I did, just add more veggies, like potatoes, sweet potatoes, fennel, lemongrass, mushrooms or any root vegetables about 45 minutes before the braise is done and you are ready to serve.
You can also take the ingredients from the braising liquid removing bones and mireboix, and thicken the braising liquid by reducing it, before adding the meat into it and serve with mashed potatoes, sweet potato pure, rice...
I'm glad to say, not only was the evening with my friends a great success and fun, there was also just enough leftovers for the next day.
I'm a chef and a pastry chef, and I love food. Preparing a meal for someone is a show of love; for your craft, for the ingredients, and for the ones eating.
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