Braising the Season's Meats and Vegetables
Braising is a cooking technique that suits winter meats and vegetables perfectly. Step one is to cook the main ingredient in a bit of fat (such as oil or butter). The process is finished by adding some liquid (only about halfway up, this isn’t a soup or stew, no need to cover the ingredients entirely with liquid), then cover the dish and simmer in the oven or on the stovetop. Braising works well with tough cuts of meat and vegetables that need longer cooking times. A braised dish is just the thing to make your kitchen feel cozy and warm throughout the winter season.
In season: winter braising greens, pecans, honey, beef, pork, chicken, sweet potatoes, white potatoes, leeks, greenhouse lettuces, greenhouse tomatoes, greenhouse cucumbers, milk, eggs, cheese, pumpkin and winter squash, apples, cabbage
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 2 cups fresh pumpkin, peeled and cut into large chunks
- 1/2 cup vegetable broth
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1/4 cup apple juice
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- salt and pepper
In a large saute pan, over medium-high heat, add oil and saute pumpkin until lightly browned. Add broth, soy sauce, apple juice, and onions. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook until pumpkin is tender, about 12 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
WINE PAIRING courtesy of Wine Market, 4734 Spottswood — Look for sweet aromatic qualities in a dry white for a good match here. Pine Ridge Chenin Blanc-Viognier, California, 2009 $14 Treana White Table Wine, Central Coast, 2008 $26
BEER PAIRING courtesy of Chuck Skypeck, Boscos Brewing Co. and Ghost River Brewing — Serve this beer with a pumpkin beer, like Schlafly Pumpkin Ale from St Louis. Most pumpkin ales don’t have a lot of pumpkin, but rely on traditional spices, like cloves and cinnamon, to convey the flavor of the pie. We know those flavors go well with pumpkin!
BRAISED RED CABBAGE AND APPLES
- 1 medium head of red cabbage, thinly sliced
- 1/2 lb bacon, diced 1 onion, diced
- salt and pepper
- 3/4 cup red wine
- 3/4 cup vegetable broth
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 2 tart apples, cored and diced
- 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
In a large Dutch oven, over medium heat, cook bacon until crisp. Add onions and cook until tender and translucent. Add cabbage and cook for 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add wine, broth and cinnamon sticks. Cover and cook until cabbage is just tender, about 15 minutes. Stir in apples, brown sugar and vinegar. Cover and cook an additional 5 minutes. Remove cinnamon sticks before serving.
BEER PAIRING courtesy of Chuck Skypeck, Boscos Brewing Co. and Ghost River Brewing — If you want to substitute a beer for the wine in this recipe, try a dark, full-flavored beer without a lot of bitterness. Left Hand Milk Stout, from Longmont, Colorado, would also pair well with the finished dish.
WINE PAIRING courtesy of Wine Market, 4734 Spottswood — This dish is very representative of the cuisine of Alsace, and wines in the Alsace vein are the perfect accompaniment. Use any drinkable white to cook the dish, preferably a Riesling. Trimbach Riesling, Alsace, 2008 $24 Gundlach-Bundschu Gewurztraminer, Sonoma Coast, 2009 $25
BRAISED CHICKEN WITH COGNAC AND APPLES
- 4 chicken breasts (or 6 thighs), bone in, skin on
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tart apples, peeled, cored and sliced
- 1/4 cup cognac
- 1/2 cup chicken broth
- 1/4 cup cream
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 350°. Season chicken with salt and pepper. In a large saute pan, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Sear chicken until skin is golden. Remove from heat. Place sliced apples in a baking dish. Top with chicken pieces. Add cognac and broth. Cover with foil and bake until chicken is cooked through, about 30 minutes. Remove chicken and set aside. Stir cream and sour cream into apples. Season with salt and pepper. Spoon apples over chicken and serve immediately.
WINE PAIRING courtesy of Wine Market, 4734 Spottswood — This dish requires a red with ripe and up-front fruitiness; that means Beaujolais. The 2009 Beaujolais are some of the best ever. Georges DuBoeuf “Clos des Quatre Vents” Fleurie 2009 $20 Louis Tete Beaujolais-Villages “Le Pot” 2008 $13
BEER PAIRING courtesy of Chuck Skypeck, Boscos Brewing Co. and Ghost River Brewing — The rich flavors created by the addition of the cognac in this recipe require a full-flavored, complex beer to match the intensity. Dogfish Head Raison D’Etre from Delaware would be a great choice.