Directly from my notes of Skills 3 class – Day 31 at The Culinary Institute Of America:
Braise: A cooking method in which the main item – usually meat, is seared in fat, then simmered in a stock or other liquid (approximately 2/3rds of the way) , then cooked slowly in a covered pot. The cooking liquid is then reduced and used as a base for a sauce.
Stew: A cooking method almost exactly a braising. However, smaller pieces of meat are used which allow for shorter cooking times. Stewed items may also be blanched instead of seared, to give the finished product a pale color. (such as blanquette or fricassee)
The key thing to remember here, is that they both use “combination cooking” which means they use dry heat and moist heat to cook the item and you cook them LOW and SLOW. This allows you to use inexpensive cuts of meat and really breakdown the tough connective tissue. Another important tip, is that when a recipe says “cook until fork tender” – it literally means: tender to the touch of a fork (not a knife) A knife will pierce most anything, but the true test of doneness is with the blunt edges of a fork.
This beef and barley stew is so “stick to your ribs” good! It’s a very classic preparation and the result is so worth it.
It freezes well too! If you make it, please take a photo and tag me on social media!
- 1 1/2 pound flanken short ribs
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt,
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 3 celery ribs, diced small
- 1 large onion, diced small
- 3 carrots, diced small
- 2 large garlic cloved
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste (or chopped -canned tomatoes can be used)
- 1/2 cup good drinking wine (I used white) red wine will give you a deeper flavor. You can also use beer here.
- 4 cups of broth (vegetable, chicken or beef - even water will work)
- 1/2 cup pearled barley
- 2 Tablespoons chopped parsley - optional
- Season your flanken with the spices and massage well into the meat. In a hot, heavy bottomed pot - such as a dutch oven, sear the meat in olive oil until golden brown on both sides. (to achieve this, do not move the meat until it lifts on its own, and cook on moderate heat)
- Once all flanken is seared on all sides, remove from the pan and set aside. Add your mirepoix in (carrots, celery and onion) and garlic and cook until onions are translucent and celery and carrots are soft - about 5 minutes.
- Add your tomato product in, and mix well with all vegetables and cook for another 5-6 minutes. Add your wine and allow it to reduce by half. Next, add the broth or water and make sure to scrape up all the bits on the bottom of the pan left by searing the flanken.
- Bring the liquid up just to a slight bubble and add the flanken back in with the barley.
- Reduce the flame and cook it covered for about 1 1/2 - 2 hours - until the meat is fork tender (see description on blog post) and the barley is soft. (add more liquid if necessary to cover everything about 2/3rds of the way)
- Top with chopped parsley if using