New Year's Resolution: Braise More
Ok so, maybe I shouldn't be so flippant about New Year's resolutions. Maybe I should lose weight, read more, work out more, bring about world peace or give up meat. But I recently purchased a wonderful cookbook about braising so it's highly unlikely I'll give up meat.
Braising is the art of cooking food over a long period of time in a vessel like a Dutch oven with very little liquid which combines with the liquid given off by the chosen meat or vegetable to create an intensely flavorful dish. The cookbook I'm referring to is Molly Stevens's All About Braising: The Art of Uncomplicated Cooking. What appeals to me isn't the idea of easy recipes. I enjoy cooking so I don't always look for easy recipes. What I like about it is the concept of communal eating. With braising everyone eats from the same pot. I really like food that can be shared and utilizes the simplest and best ingredients to create a meal from the earth, ultimately returning to the unfussy origins of good eating.
Ms. Stevens's recipes run the gamut from traditional European dishes like Sauerbraten and Coq au Vin to Asian and Caribbean influenced meals. There are also plenty of recipes for braising vegetables. I haven't tried any of the recipes yet, but I'm looking forward to it. This will be a good year -- 2006-- the year of braising.