“The only thing I like better than talking about food is eating.” ~ John Waters
In line with the article by Connor Jones and Unboxed, I feel like I’ve got to set the record straight about my favorite meal, style of cooking and basically the best meal I’ve ever eaten and cooked. There is nothing like kitting up a good braise, popping it into the oven for hours on a slow cook, running some errand or taking a long nap and experiencing the aromas that fill the house up making the dog and the gamers drool!
I like to do braised for The Fusion and because they can pack a lot of proteins away, it’s a great solution! I can get whole primal at a great cost and do the trimming myself. We’re talking about nearly 25-30 pounds of beef guys and gals!
Look at all that meat!! Once you’ve selected and trimmed it down, you can use any seasoning you like. For this dish I used sea salt and black pepper. I make a variety of braised meats and introduced spice families for different global dishes.
The key to a good braise is the sear. Season your meat liberally, and in a smoking hot pan sear each side until golden brown. I use a deep pan so as not to splash hot oil everywhere.
Searing the meat will create a barrier and trap in flavor. It will also create a soft texture. You can cube your meat down ahead of time, however I tend to go with large pieces for longer braises.
The next step in the process is the aromatics, vegetables and and if you like starches. You can put any combination in your braise from basic mirepoix, herbs and local avails to more heirloom and exotics like mushrooms or haricots vert (fancy French green bean). Just remember everything you put in will cook at the same temperature for the same amount of time so choose your sizes wisely!
Finally after you’ve sautéed the vegetable party you’ll need some liquid. I use different combinations for different braises and even colas or sweet chili sauce from time to time. For red meat, red wine and beef stock are the perfect duo. I’ll reduce the wine to take out some acidity and alcohol before adding the stock. Bring it all to a boil and put over the meat in a large pan. If you have a Dutch oven that can be convenient as well. At the Fusion house I use full hotel pans, two at a time.
Finally secure the package! Wrap with parchment paper and then foil to lock in the load for the long haul! I don’t want flavor and moisture to escape for the finale.
Several hours later I return to the masterpiece that swells the house with comfort and aromas so rich, I don’t know how the guys can concentrate on the gaming! They’re lining up and inquiring, yet I have a few more steps to accomplish before I can serve it up!
This dish is a beef pot pie braise. I’ll remove the beef carefully from the mixture. I’ll drain the vegetables reserving the juices, skimming the fat. I’ll make a roux and gravy with that lovely liquid. Cube the beef and reconvene everything for the final plating. Meanwhile I’ve got pastry puff brushed in egg wash, sprinkled in sea salt baking in the oven.