- Hardcover: 416 pages
- Publisher: WW Norton (Oct. 19 2004)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0393052303
- ISBN-13: 978-0393052305
- Product Dimensions: 21.3 x 3.6 x 26.4 cm
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 Kg
- Average Customer Review: 16 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #86,044 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
All About Braising: The Art Of Uncomplicated Cooking Hardcover – Oct 19 2004
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From Publishers Weekly
Cuisines as diverse as Vietnamese, Moroccan, Italian, British and American all use braising; the technique can be a means to cook everything from vegetables to pork belly. Stevens, a Fine Cooking contributing editor, says that braising is simply "tucking a few ingredients into a heavy pot with a bit of liquid, covering the pot tightly and letting everything simmer peacefully until tender and intensely flavored." With the help of appetite-inducing photos of Vietnamese Braised Scallops, and Braised Endive with Prosciutto, Stevens illustrates just how exciting a braise can be. "Braising," she clarifies, "is a building process. The cook adds layer upon layer of flavor, nuance, and character to a dish at each stage." Although braising is a relatively simple cooking method, Stevens takes her time explaining it, drawing on food science to explain not just how, but why (for example, "Give food plenty of space," because "If the pan is too crowded... the released moisture can't escape and will cause the meat to steam, not brown"). Aside from Stevens's sometimes superfluous prose and ho-hum anecdotes, the book contains interesting tasting notes and cultural information, and Stevens's lengthy instructions will be particularly valuable to beginners. Photos, line drawings.
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The definitive guide to those incomparable one-pot dishes that combine complex sauces with meltingly tender meats and poultry.... I know that All About Braising will become a treasure in my own kitchen. — Anne Willan, founder, Ecole de Cuisine La Varenne
Filled with friendly advice, inspired insights, and great recipes, it will make you a better cook. — Judy Rodgers, author of The Zuni Café Cookbook
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Top Customer Reviews
The info about the specific mechanism and art of braising is very good, very detailed. However for 25$CAN I hoped the recipes would be better (and I consider myself an intermediate-to-advanced cook, having worked in kitchens professionally and cooking from scratch 98% of daily fare for my family, considering I can find most of the braising details online.
A lot of the recipes seem unsuitable to weekdays or average budgets. A lot of them call for unnecessary steps and are overly complicated; it's hard to tell whether the extras (usually sweet additions to savory things) really add anything or are just about the author's peculiar taste.
The ending chapter titled "An Opinionated Pantry" (chuckle) is a big clue to what kind of tone is used throughout the book: recommendations abound for organic, local, wild meats and fishes; store-bought stock is almost seen as an abomination; trendy expensive ingredients such as fleur de sel are mentioned; etc. It's all very elitist, really.
This isn't an indictement per se: I simply wish to warn others about the actual intended audience for this book: people who cook as hobby more than necessity, with an ample budget and requisite temperate climate to boot and who can attempt dubious recipes and still have the dough to call for take-out when the food ends up underwhelming.
I also own the "All about roasting", by the same author. It is equally good. Quality of meat does not lead to tender and juicy meat, if we do not prepare it properly. I have tried to roast beef for almost 40 years and never completely succeeded in having a tender and juicy meat. Now I know why! These two books provided me methods and steps for successfully roasting and braising meats.
Too bad these two books were not around when I got married, some 40 years ago! They have become my bible for roasting and braising. (My wish is that the author publishes one on casseroles, just casseroles.)
Great information and very clearly laid-out methods. A win.