Saturday, January 8, 2011

Close Encounters of the Braised Kind

I've recently fallen in love with braising. I've never really been a big meat eater. I like a good burger and all, but I'm generally not the type to head to a steak house and actually order steak (lovely thing about steak houses- they often have good fish, too). In an attempt to get more familiar with beef outside of stew and ground, I've been playing with different cuts. Tonight was a London broil, braised with mushroom stock, mushrooms, carrots, red potatoes (I wanted to use turnip, but there weren't any at the market- weird), onion and canned tomatoes. I also used a bit of malbec to deglaze the pot after searing the meat. The tomatoes were a last-minute add-on in further effort of the great pantry clean-out. I had a somewhat small can that I didn't know what to do with, since I usually use cartons of Pomi when I am using something tomato-focused (I couldn't even tell you when I'd bought a small can of non-Pomi tomatoes, but the date stamped on the can hadn't passed, so in they went).

I just love the rich broth this method elicits. It's so simple to just toss everything in the dutch oven and forget it. I let it go in a 250-degree oven all day, until the smell drove me crazy enough to dive in.

Dinner tonight was wonderful. I had just a few slices of fall-apart beef, along with a generous helping of the veggies and some sauce spooned over the top. I ate it up before it even occurred to me to take a picture (it became a very empty plate somewhat quickly).

The great thing about this is, even it was only a pound of meat, is that it'll last pretty much all week. I'm thinking tacos, maybe some stroganoff (especially with the mushrooms), and probably a sandwich or two. There's plenty of soup in the freezer, so I may just freeze any leftover liquid into ice cubes and vacuum seal them for use later. Between the leftover beef and some chili and soups in my freezer, I'm pretty well set for dinners, I think. Take-out won't even be a temptation.

Breakfast this morning was yogurt and lunch was leftover pasta from last night. When I was feeling snacky, I had an orange.

I just got back on Thursday and we had a snow storm yesterday, so this morning was my first grocery shopping since returning. Yesterday, I only made it all of across the street to the deli to get some milk, so I pretty much lived on freezer and pantry food since returning.


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