December 6, 2017
People think of stews and braises as more elaborate meals to make on weekends, when there’s more time to spend in the kitchen—but really, they don’t require much prep work, and the oven time is hands-off. I love letting low, slow heat do most of the work, filling the house with the smell of something delicious cooking as everyone gets hungry for dinner. Bonus: stews and braises freeze well, so I can make more than we need and freeze half for later.
On the subject of braised meats (braising being similar to stewing—low, slow cooking time with some liquid in the pot or pan, just not as much as in a stew), people often think of pulled pork, but slow roasting some beef is always a good idea. I made a recipe years ago with onions, beef and a sweet-vinegary sort of barbecue sauce, and it was a hit—it’s great for parties, and times you have extra people in the house. This week, I’ll make a batch, pick up a bunch of soft buns, toss a salad and have everyone over to watch Elf.
I also love making a good, solid beef stew at this time of year—I braise the beef with a splash of red wine or beer along with the stock, and throw in veggies for the last half hour, to keep them from getting too soft. Beef short ribs are also an under appreciated cut—they need to be braised in order to break down the tough connective tissues, and I like adding a handful of dry lentils to the pan to cook in the juices. The best thing about beefy braises—you have an excuse to make a bed of mashed potatoes.
But it doesn’t have to be all beef—I love chickpeas braised in coconut milk, served over roasted sweet potatoes. These will be on the menu to combat the season of cookies, chocolate and cheese.
Have a great week, everyone!
eye of round
beef short ribs
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