Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Daring to do it: Braising

The March, 2012 Daring Cooks’ Challenge was hosted by Carol, a/k/a Poisonive – and she challenged us all to learn the art of Braising! Carol focused on Michael Ruhlman’s technique and shared with us some of his expertise from his book “Ruhlman’s Twenty”.

When this month's challenge was announced, I have to admit that I wasn't overjoyed. Braising? True, it is a technique I didn't really know too well, but it was, according to my limited understanding, a cooking method which really works best for meats. Sure, Carol provided a recipe for braised fennel, which sounded interesting, but I am not a big fennel fan. I half-heartedly looked for recipes for braised tofu, braised veggies, or any other vegetarian braise I could think of. But nothing grabbed me. Then. Then we went to Florida to visit my parents. My parents have a Kosher kitchen. My vegetarian hubby was in another part of the state for a while. Opportunity seemed on my side, and I decided to finally go for it and do a meat braise!
One dish which my mother, daughter and I (yes, the 2 1/2 year old!) all wanted to try making while we were together was honey chicken. Little Girl loves to read, and in one of the books we have, the family eats honey chicken for Shabbat. Well, we all thought that sounded good, so we wanted to try it. So I did some searching for a honey braised chicken recipe. And in my search I found this: http://projects.washingtonpost.com/recipes/2010/10/20/honey-braised-chicken-thighs-with-apple/ (sorry, blogger seems to be having issues letting me link. Still. Anyone know how to help?) While I can't say I followed the recipe exactly, I think the changes I made were minimal. (I didn't use chicken thighs, but two wings and two breasts - bone in; I didn't make the thickener, we just used the sauce as it was; I used apple juice instead of cider, since that was what we had...)
In pictures:
The ingredients:
The seared chicken:The sauteed apples and onions:
Everything together, ready to simmer in the oven:
The plated masterpiece:We were all very happy with how this chicken turned out! In my opinion, the amount of liquid was great because it allowed the tops to stay crispy which letting the rest soak. It I make this again (which I hope to, either with my parents again or using tofu) I will make sure to use skinless chicken, since I think the spice rub couldn't be fully appreciated by those of us who don't eat the skin, and I will let it simmer just a bit longer, to get even that much more tender.
Thank you, Carol, for making sure that I stepped out of my comfort zone and tried something new! This was a great learning experience for me, and it was amazing to see all of the creative braises our fellow Daring Cooks came up with. And, I think I will have to give the fennel recipe a try after the great reviews it has gotten!!
Do yourself two favors here - first, check out Carol's informative challenge write up so you can learn all about braising and see the yummy recipes she provided:
Second, check out the beautiful braising my fellow Daring Cooks created!

9 comments:

  1. It sure sounds like it was a winner all round and it always nice to cook with family and especially children a wonderful result. Lovely to hear that you are enjoying the challenges so much. Cheers from Audax in Sydney Australia.

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  2. Honey chicken sounds like a great way to embrace the challenge! Very nice.

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  3. Love the addition of the apples and honey, right up my alley! A masterpiece I have to agree :)

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  4. Apples chicken and honey sound like a winning combination to me!
    great job on this challenge

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  5. That looks gorgeous - and the idea of trying it with tofu is brilliant!

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  6. Isnt it great when the Daring Kitchen pushes you out of your comfort zone and it turns out GREAT! Well done - so glad you enjoyed the challenge :)

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  7. Mmmm..the honey chicken braise looks amazing, Ruth! I remember my great aunt kept a kosher kitchen, and wow, it was a lot of work to keep everything in compliance with kashrut! That said, I also don't like fennel, or any licorice tasting veg or herbs, yet I like licorice candy - odd, huh? So fun to know you all are peanut butter fiends too! Now I don't feel as weird LOL

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