Congratulations to Lily Kwan! Lily is the winner of the signed copy of All About Braising!
Molly Steven’s book, All About Braising is subtitled “The Art of Uncomplicated Cooking.” It’s an apt title to a well written book on exactly that–easy one-pot meals influenced by flavors from around the world as well as classics such as coq au vin and pot roast. I was thrilled to get a hold of this book to review after having heard about it from many different sources and after having a few weeks to work through it I have to say that it was more than worth the wait. These recipes are a solid group that will allow you to explore all sorts of new ways to cook everyday foods.
Braising is a cooking technique where the food is browned on the stove and finished in the oven. It’s an ideal method for cooking the more inexpensive and often tough cuts of meat that yields super tender proteins in succulent sauces. This method is one you’re probably familiar with from the previously mentioned dishes but this book is absolutely brimming with new takes on classics as well as dishes that can stand on their own.
Braising is also a fantastic cooking method for cold weather and tight budgets, so it’s a timely read as well. This method was developed to make the most of what was at hand, and Molly Stevens has amassed an amazing collection of recipes here. Just flipping through the book made my mouth water as I read through the recipes and inspired me to try some of the flavor combinations she uses here in other dishes as well. She also provides recipes for vegetable dishes as well, and those might be the most enlightening of the bunch. Braising tames and softens sharp and bitter-flavored vegetables such as endive and brussels sprouts yielding results so indulgent even the veggie haters will take a second look. Even if the book had no other recipes the treatment of vegetables here makes it worth a read.
Stevens starts the book by explaining braising and going over the different vessels that can be used along with suggestions for what types of foods work in the various types of dishes. From there, she explains the different elements of the technique and structures her recipes to follow.
The recipes themselves are clearly written and many provide variations that sound as good or better than the original. The recipe I chose to make and share in this review was one of those. I made several dishes from the book, but the most unique of the lot that made it through my kitchen was a take on pot roast that used a chunk of tuna loin and braised it with tomatoes and basil. The variation added orange peel and olives, a classic Italian-influenced twist with absolutely delicious results. The tuna came out beautifully but the sauce was absolutely divine. This recipe will be one I make again and again, and I believe it would work equally well with chicken or pork tenderloin. The sauce would also be lovely on it’s own as a vegetarian entree, perhaps with tofu braised in the same manner as the tuna.
I will admit to going off-recipe in my choice of tuna. I opted to use a couple of albacore steaks as I don’t have a fishmonger that I could have obtained a loin cut from. I found that it still came out very well, but when I made it a second time with ahi tuna it was much better. Live and learn and use what you have on hand if you don’t have time or resources to obtain this particular cut. I also found that when I made a recipe with double the sauce ingredients that the leftover sauce went just fine with canned tuna served over leftover rotini. As with many dishes of this type, braised dishes can be even better the next day and this one very much was as well.
Enter to Win
Win a signed copy of All About Braising by Molly Stevens. This giveaway is open to the U.S. and Canada and will end on December 30, 2009.
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In compliance with the new FTC Guild lines, please note that this is a sponsored post. I was given a copy of All About Braising to test and review free of charge. However, I was not paid for the review and the opinions are my own.
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