Brown Braised Meat Recipe

Makes: 10 portions. Cooking time: 2 hours. Oven temperature: 180°C.

Ingredients:

— 1½ kg joint meat previously larded and marinated as necessary
— 2 dl drippings or oil
— 200 grams carrots roughly cut
— 200 grams onion roughly cut
— 150 grams celery roughly cut
— 1 clove crushed garlic
— 1 liter brown stock
— 1 liter Jus Lié or Sauce Espagnole
— 1 bouquet garni
— seasoning

Method:

(1) Heat the dripping in a shallow sided saucepan, preferably a frying pan.

(2) Add the seasoned meat and fry until light golden brown on all sides.

(3) Transfer the meat to a braising pan.

(4) Fry the vegetables in the same pan as the meat was fried in, drain, and add to the meat.

(5) Add the stock and brown sauce and seasoning. Bring to the boil and skim. Add the bouquet garni.

(6) Cover with a lid and braise in the oven until cooked.

(7) Remove the meat from the cooking liquid and retain in a covered dish to keep warm.

(8) Remove and discard the bouquet garni. Boil the sauce and skim off any traces of fat or grease that surfaces.

(9) Season to taste. Correct the consistency and colour of the sauce if necessary.

(10) Pass the sauce through a fine strainer and reboil. Skim if necessary.

(11) Remove the string from the joint, carve into slices 3 mm thick across the grain of the joint.

(12) Neatly arrange the slices of meat on an oval dish, coat with the sauce and serve.

Notes:
(1) Butter may be placed on the surface of the completed sauce to prevent a skin forming but this should be done very sparingly as fat may reappear when served.

(2) Vegetable garnishes are cooked separately and added at the point of service. Buttered noodles may also be served as a garnish once the meat has been sliced and coated with the sauce:

(3) If necessary the sauce may be thickened with diluted arrowroot which should be added to the boiling sauce. It should then be strained.

(4) Once cooked the meat may be removed from the cooking liquid and placed on a shallow sided dish. It should then be coated with sufficient cooking liquid to enable basting to take place, put into the oven at approximately 200°C and basted frequently until the surface juices caramelize. This can be identified by the light sheen that appears on the surface of the joint and is referred to as glazing. (Glazing is not often carried out in trade practice unless, perhaps, the joint is to be presented whole to the customer and carved before him.

(5) Braised joints may be served whole with the sauce as an accompaniment or sliced coated with the sauce with an appropriate garnish.

To test if cooked:
The joint may be tested with a trussing needle. When cooked the needle should penetrate to the centre of the joint without undue pressure. The meat should be free from all traces of blood.

Note:
Taking temperature readings with a thermoneedle is not an accurate guide as the temperature reading may suggest that the meat is cooked yet it may still be tough and undercooked.

Assessment of the completed dish

The meat should be:
(1) carved into slices across the grain about 5 mm thick;

(2) if larded the speck set at regular intervals;

(3) moist in appearance, no traces of blood and cooked to the correct degree;

(4) evenly coated with sauce with no exposed areas;

(5) soft in texture (unless cut with the grain in which case it should be rather stringy).

The sauce should be:
(1) a rich red brown in colour and should have a definite sheen;

(2) free of all traces of fat and any impurities or pieces of cooked meat;

(3) of such a consistency that it flows easily and evenly over the meat.

The vegetable garnish should be:
(1) evenly shaped and cooked to the correct degree;

(2) sized in proportion to the meat it is to accompany and of a suitable quantity for the number of portions.

Possible problem, cause and solution:

(1) The sauce does not have a rich appearance dull and only light brown in color:
— poor quality stock, jus lié or espagnole was used; boil the sauce and add tomato purée and gravy browning, then skim off any fat, grease or other impurities that may surface and strain through a fine conical strainer.

— the meat and vegetables were not browned to the correct degree; care should be taken in the initial stages to fry the meat sufficiently but the problem can be rectified by adjusting the color with tomato purée and gravy browning.

(2) Completed sauce is too thick:
— braising has taken place at too high a temperature; boil the sauce and thin with brown stock as necessary, then strain through a fine conical strainer.

— product has been overcooked; boil the sauce and thin with brown stock as necessary, then strain through a fine conical strainer.

— braising was not carried out with a lid; boil the sauce and thin with brown stock as necessary, then strain through a fine conical strainer.

(3) Excess fat in the completed sauce:
— fat was not drained off the meat and vegetables after coloration; boil the sauce and skim until all traces of fat and grease have been removed then strain through a fine conical strainer.

— braising has taken place at too high a temperature; boil the sauce and skim until all traces of fat and grease have been removed then strain through a fine conical strainer.

(4) The meat is stringy and dry:
— the meat has been overcooked; care must b e taken to cook the meat for the correct length of time as the problems caused by overcooking cannot be rectified.

— the meat has been carved incorrectly, e.g. with the grain; care must be taken to carve the meat correctly as this cannot be rectified.

(5) Little meat is obtained from size of joint cooked:
— the meat was incorrectly prepared at the butchery stage; care must be taken to prepare the meat correctly as failure to do so cannot later be rectified.

— the meat has been overcooked causing shrinkage; care must be taken to cook the meat for the correct length of time as the problems caused by overcooking cannot be rectified.

– the meat was incorrectly carved, e.g. with the grain; care must be taken to carve the meat correctly as this cannot be rectified.

(6) Completed sauce is too thin:
— incorrect ratio of stock to brown sauce; either (a) boil the sauce, thicken as necessary with diluted arrowroot, skim and strain through a fine conical strainer; or (b) reduce the quantity of sauce by boiling, add a quantity of sauce espagnole to bring it back to the original volume, skim and strain through a fine conical strainer.

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