Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Braised Beef

Copyright 2011 LtDan'sKitchen Blogs
I was watching Lidia's Italy just before Easter and Lidia was making Braised Leg of Lamb (Ragu di Agnello) that had me eagerly planning my next dinner party . Braised lamb may evoke thoughts of chunks of meat stewing in a broth and may sound very simplistic but it actually wasn't. For starters, she used a deboned leg of lamb that was butterflied and stuffed with a cheese and bread crumb filling and rolled into a log. The braising liquid used was ragรน, a rustic ingredient that complements this rather laborious meat preparation and gives it a sense of harmony. Being a cook on a budget, I had to give this a try but with a much cheaper ingredient so I settled for a cut of beef round. Served on polenta squares, it lent an air of extravagance that in reality was really quite affordable. 

Copyright 2011 LtDan'sKitchen Blogs
To accomodate the fact that I'm still on the fence with regards to cast iron cookware (they are uber expensive), I had to cut down on the size of the beef logs for them to fit into my stewing pot. Thus, I ended up with two medium-sized logs. All in all, it was quite tasty with plenty of leftovers that suited me well enough.  The cooking time will vary depending on the meat you use but you will know when they are done when the meat is fork tender. There is the temptation to keep on braising until the meat is about to fall apart but it kills the presentation of the dish because when you slice it across, you reveal the pinwheel design which is quite stunning. So try to cook it as far as you wish as long as the meat holds its shape.

Here then is Lidia's recipe which I followed closely except that I used beef, not lamb. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did.  

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