Seasonings, Herbs and Spices, Braising meat

Face it the use of spices, sauce greatly adds to the enjoyment, flavour of a dinner..

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Guide to using Herbs and Spices, use the following Seasonings, Herb or Spice to flavor food, to Enhance

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Basil Italian foods (especially tomatoes, pasta, chicken, fish and shellfish) -can be used with fish, lean meats, and in soups and sauces
Bay leaf Bean or meat stews and soups =Bay leaves work well with soups and stews.
Caraway Cooked vegetables such as beets, cabbage, carrots, potatoes, turnips and winter squash -Caraway seeds lend a nutty taste to breads, steamed cabbage, and noodles.
Chervil French cuisine, fish, shellfish, chicken, peas, green beans, tomatoes and salad greens
Chili powder Bean or meat stews and soups
Chives Sauces, soups, baked potatoes, salads, omelets, pasta, seafood and meat = Chives add bite to salads and vegetables.
Cider vinegar provides tang to sauces and vegetables.
Cilantro Mexican, Latin American and Asian cuisine; Rice, beans, fish, shellfish, poultry, vegetables, salsas and salads
Cinnamon is tasty on many fruits.
Cumin Curried vegetables, poultry, fish and beans
Curry Indian or southeast Asian cuisine; Lamb or meat-based dishes and soups =Curry powder gives lean meats, particularly lamb, an exotic taste.
Dill (fresh) Seafood, chicken, yogurt, cucumbers, green beans, tomatoes, potatoes and beets =Dill is great in sauces or tossed on just about any vegetable.
Dill (seeds) Rice and fish dishes
Garlic adds another dimension of flavor to just about any savory food — be sure not to use garlic salt.
Ginger (dried) Rick, chicken and marinades
Lemon juice enhances the flavor of salads, vegetables, and fish.
Mace Baked goods, fruit dishes, carrots, broccoli, brussels sprouts and cauliflower
Marjoram Tomato-based dishes, fish, meat, poultry, eggs and vegetables
Oregano Italian and Greek cuisine; Meat and poultry dishes
Paprika Spanish dishes, potatoes, soups, stews, baked fish and salad dressings =Paprika gives a spicy kick to roasted meats and vegetables.
Rosemary Mushrooms, roasted potatoes, stuffing, ripe melon, poultry and meats (especially grilled) = Rosemary works well in hearty dishes like meatloaf, potatoes, and beans
Sage Poultry stuffing, chicken, duck, pork, eggplant, and bean stews and soups =Sage can be a savory addition to stews, biscuits, and lean pork.
Tarragon Chicken, veal, fish, shellfish, eggs, salad dressings, tomatoes, mushrooms and carrots
Thyme Fish, shellfish, poultry, tomatoes, beans, eggplant, mushrooms, potatoes, and summer squash – gives an earthy taste to sauces and soups.
Tumeric Indian cuisine; Adds color and taste to potatoes and light-colored vegetables = Turmeric is great on rice with a flavor and color similar to saffron.

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MORE DETAILS ON HERBS, SPICES AND SEASONINGS

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ALLSPICE
Sweet spice of Caribbean origin with a flavor suggesting a blend of cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg, hence its name. May be purchased as whole, dried berries or ground. When using whole berries, they may be bruised–gently crushed with the bottom of a pan or other heavy instrument–to release more of their flavor.

ANISE
Green-gray fruit or seed of plan of parsley family; available whole and in extracts; unmistakable strong licorice flavor. Used extensively in confections, sweet pastries, and as a flavoring in liqueurs.

BASIL
Sweet, warm flavor with an aromatic odor, used whole or ground. Good with lamb, fish, roast, stews, ground beef, vegetables, dressing and omelets.

BAY LEAVES
A pungent flavor, use whole leaf but remove before serving. Good in vegetable dishes, fish and seafood, stews and pickles.

BEAU MONDE SEASONING SALT
All-purpose Spice Island seasoning with onion and celery and salt. Use with poultry dishes, Swiss steak and tomato- based sauces.

CAPERS Capers are the small buds of a shrub grown in the Mediterranean. They are pickled in vinegar or dried and salted.

CARAWAY
Has a spicy smell and aromatic taste. Use in cakes, breads, soups, cheese and sauerkraut.

CARDAMON
Sweet spice native to India from ginger family. Used for coffee cake, sweet breads, fruit salad dressings, cookies, cakes, pickling spice.

CAYENNE PEPPER
Very hot ground spice derived from dried cayenne chili pepper.

CHIVES
Mild, sweet herb with a flavor reminiscent of the onion, to which it is related.

CILANTRO
Green, leafy herb resembling flat leaf (Italian) parsley with a sharp, aromatic, somewhat astringent flavor. Also called fresh coriander and commonly referred to as Chinese parsley.

CINNAMON
Popular sweet spice for flavoring baked goods. The aromatic bark of types of laurel trees, it is sold as sticks or ground.

CHERVIL
Chervil, fresh or dried, has a delicate flavor, and the fresh leaves look a bit like parsley. It’s good when subtle seasoning is desired.

CLOVES
Rich and aromatic East African spice used ground in baked goods and whole in pickling brines and as a seasoning for baked hams. Provides flavor to both sweet and savory recipes.

CORIANDER
Small spicy-sweet seeds of the coriander plant, which is also called cilantro or Chinese parsley. Used whole or ground as a seasoning. Particularly used for sausages and variety meats.

CUMIN
A Middle Eastern spice with a strong, dusky, aromatic flavor. Use in chili, marinades, and basting sauces, and add to huevos rancheros or other egg dishes.

CURRY POWDER
Generic term for a blend of spices commonly used to flavor East Indian-style dishes. Most curry powders will include coriander, cumin, chili powder, and turmeric.

DILL
Fine, feathery leaves with a sweet aromatic flavor sold fresh or dry.

FENNEL
Crisp, refreshing, mildly anise-flavored bulb vegetable. Seeds and leaves are both used as a spice. Has a sweet hot flavor. Wide variety of uses. Popular for seasoning pork roasts and fish dishes.

FINES HERBES
A balanced blend of sweet herbs, each of which has an affinity for the other. Buying these herbs premixed avoids the risk of a possible flavor imbalance. Use for omelets, egg and cheese dishes, meats, game, meatloaf, sauces and gravies.

FIVE SPICE CHINESE POWDER
Mixture used to season roast meat, poultry, and stir fry dishes. Ingredients include anise, cinnamon, star anise, cloves, and ginger.

GARLIC
Member of the same group of plants as the onion. Robust flavoring, available as garlic powder, garlic salt, garlic chips, garlic seasoning powder, and garlic juice, in a huge variety of dishes.

GINGER
Ginger is a fresh, pungent root sold fresh, dried or ground. It is used as a confection or condiment. It may be found crystallized or candied, ground or as a syrup.

JUNIPER BERRIES
From juniper, an evergreen shrub. Add to marinades and sauces for game and lamb.

MACE
Produced from the same fruit of the nutmeg tree.

MARJORAM
Pungent, aromatic herb used dried or fresh to season meats, particularly lamb, poultry, seafood, vegetable and eggs.

MEI YEN SEASONING
A blend of seasonings designed to enhance the natural flavor of most foods without introducing flavor overtones of its own. A delicate seasoning long a favorite in oriental cooking. Intended for seasoning vegetables and mild-flavored meats; also has an affinity for dishes with acid ingredients, such as tomatoes and wine.

MINT
The most common commercial types of mint are spearmint and peppermint. Refreshing, sweet herbs used fresh or dry to flavor lamb, poultry, vegetables and fruits.

MUSTARD
Mustard is available in three forms: whole seeds, powdered (referred to as dried mustard), and prepared (which is made from powdered or coarsely ground mustard seed mixed with liquid such as vinegar or wine).

NUTMEG
Popular baking spice that is the hard pit of the fruit of the nutmeg tree. May be bought already ground or for fresher flavor, whole.

OREGANO
Aromatic, pungent and spicy Mediterranean herb. Use fresh or dried for all types of savory dishes. Especially popular with tomatoes and other vegetables.

PAPRIKA
The ground dried pod of a variety of capsicum. Paprika is more than a garnish. It is a seasoning that is a food enhancer for many dishes, including casseroles, baked potatoes, appetizers, rarebit, chicken, veal and salad dressings.

PARSLEY
A low growing member of the celery family. Available in two varieties: the curly leaf type, and the flat leaf, or Italian, type. Best when used fresh but can be used dry.

PINE NUTS
Small, ivory-colored seeds extracted from the cones of the species of pine tree, with a rich, slightly resinous flavor.

POPPYSEED
Used for fruit salads and salad dressings, sprinkled over yeast breads or rolls before baking, use in cottage cheese, cream cheese, scrambled eggs, pie crust, cheese sticks, fruit compotes, and noodles.

PUMPKIN PIE SPICE
A blend of cinnamon, ginger, allspice, nutmeg, and cloves in proper proportions. Used for pumpkin pie, gingerbread, cookies, fruits, squash, sweet potatoes, applesauce, and other apple dishes.

ROSEMARY
A perennial of the mint family. Use with partridge, duck, poultry, lamb, veal, seafood and vegetables. A strong, aromatic flavor.

SAFFRON
Orange yellow in color, this spice is used to flavor or color foods. Use in soup, chicken, rice and fancy bread.

SAGE
Pungent herb used either fresh or dried that goes particularly well with fresh or cured pork, lamb, veal, poultry or vegetables.

SAVORY
The dried brownish-green leaves of a plant of the mint family; has an aromatic piquant flavor. Blends well with other herbs. May be used alone or in combination with other herbs in stuffings for meat, fish or poultry; egg dishes; sauces; soups; meatloaf and hamburgers; stews; beans; cabbage; peas; and tomato juice.

SESAME SEEDS
Versatile annual with sweet, nutty flavor used in appetizers, breads, meats and vegetables.

SHALLOT
Small member of the onion family with brown skin, white-to-purple flesh, and a flavor resembling a cross between sweet onion and garlic.

SOY SAUCE
Asian seasoning and condiment usually made from soybeans, wheat or other grain, salt and water. Chinese brands tend to be saltier than Japanese.

TABASCO
Tabasco is a liquid pepper seasoning. It is hot, so use judiciously; a few drops go a long way.

TARRAGON
Fragrant, distinctively sweet herb used fresh or dried as a seasoning for vegetables, salads, chicken, light meats, seafood and eggs.

THYME
Fragrant, clean-tasting, small leafed herb, popular fresh or dried as a seasoning for poultry, light meats, seafood or vegetables.

TURMERIC
Turmeric is the root of a plant belonging to the ginger family. Turmeric is somewhat medicinal in aroma and should be used with restraint. Used primarily in pickling.

WORCESTERSHIRE SAUCE
Traditional English seasoning or condiment; an intensely flavorful, savory and aromatic blend of many ingredients, including molasses, soy sauce, garlic, onion and anchovies. Popular as a marinade ingredient or table sauce for foods, especially red meats.

ZEST
The thin brightly colored outermost layer of a citrus fruit’s peel.

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How to Braise Meat

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Season the main ingredient with salt and pepper.
Heat a few tablespoons of oil and/or butter in a heavy pan or Dutch oven.
Saute meat or vegetables in the pan on medium-high heat until the meat browns.
Deglace the pan by pouring broth, beef stock, wine or juice and scrape any pieces of meat that are stuck to the pan and stir.
Add cooking liquid (water, stock, wine, juice or some combination) to the half-way point of the main ingredient.
Cover and place the meat on the middle of a rack in an oven that has been pre-heated to 300° – 350° Fahrenheit.
Cook until completely tender. This can range from 1 hour to 6 hours, depending on what you are cooking.
Remove the pan from the oven and strain the meat and vegetables out of the liquid.
Remove the excess fat floating in the liquid, and then reduce the sauce to desired thickness by cooking it down over low heat until it thickens. Or, make gravy by adding a mix of equal parts fat and flour (a roux).

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Lamb Braising Times
Lamb shanks weighing 1/2 to 1 pound should be braised for 1-1/2 to 2 hours until the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees F according to the American Lamb Board.

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Make It a Meal
Transform a braised meat dish into a meal by adding potatoes and veggies about 30 to 45 minutes before the meat is done. Be sure to cover the pan tightly after adding potatoes and veggies. Guidelines:
Potatoes. Use about 1 pound of potatoes for a typical 2-1/2- to 3-pound roast. Peel and quarter medium-size potatoes and/or sweet potatoes. If using new potatoes, peel a strip of skin from the centers.
Other Vegetables. Use about 1 pound total. These should be cut into 1- to 2-inch pieces. Consider peeled butternut squash, peeled carrots or parsnips, sliced celery, trimmed and sliced fennel bulb, sliced leeks or shallots, trimmed mushrooms, onion wedges or peeled pearl onions, and peeled turnips or rutabaga.

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Braised Meat Recipes to Try Sunday Oven Pot Roast

Ingredients
3 pounds boneless beef chuck pot roast
Salt
Ground black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil or vegetable oil
1 14 ounce can beef broth
1 chopped onion (1 large)
2 stalks celery, cut into 2-inch lengths
5 cups assorted vegetables, such as peeled Yukon gold or sweet potatoes, cut into 2-inch chunks; parsnips, peeled and cut into 2-inch chunks; whole shallots or garlic bulbs, halved horizontally; and/or small carrots, peeled and cut into 1-1/2-inch pieces
1/4 cup cold water
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

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Fork-Tender Pot Roast
Ingredients
2 1/2 pounds boneless beef chuck pot roast
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 stalks celery, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 cup coarsely chopped carrots (2 medium)
1 cup coarsely chopped onion (1 large)
1 bay leaf
1 clove garlic, minced
3/4 cup beef broth
1/4 cup dry red wine
2 tablespoons quick-cooking tapioca, crushed
1 tablespoon dried Italian seasoning, crushed
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon garlic powder
3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/8 teaspoon salt
Hot mashed potatoes (optional)
Directions

Choose the right cut of meat. The best cuts of meat for braising are heavily exercised cuts, such as those from the shoulder, leg or rump of the animal, as well as ones that contain a lot of connective tissue, like the chuck, shank, brisket and oxtail.

Preheat your oven to 300°F.

Pat the meat dry with paper towels. This will help you get a nice brown crust on the meat in the next step. Trim off any excess fat.

Heat a small amount of oil in a heavy-bottomed oven-proof braising pan or Dutch oven over high heat. When the oil is very hot, add the meat. Brown the meat for a minute or two on all sides. Remove the meat from the pan and set it aside.

Lower the heat to medium and add aromatic vegetables like chopped onions, leeks, carrots and celery. You could also add a few cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed. Sauté for a few minutes or until the vegetables start to soften.

Deglaze the pan with a flavorful liquid, such as stock, broth or wine. Scrape off any roasty bits (called fond) from the bottom of the pan and bring the liquid to a simmer. This liquid will add flavor to the braise. The long, slow, moist heat of braising is the best way to soften tough cuts of meat.

Return the meat to the pot along with some sort of acidic ingredient like diced tomatoes. The acid helps break down the tough connective tissues in the meat. If you used wine in the previous step, that will work. But tomatoes are always a nice ingredient to add to a braise.

Check the level of the braising liquid. The liquid should just barely cover the meat. You can now add other flavorings and seasonings, like whole peppercorns or bay leaves.

Bring the braising liquid back to a simmer, then cover the pan with a tight-fitting lid and transfer it to the 300°F oven.

Braise for 1 to 5 hours, depending on the size of the meat. Figure about an hour per pound.

Remove the pan from the oven. To make a sauce or gravy from the braising liquid, first make a roux, then whisk some of the braising liquid (strain it first) into the roux until it thickens. Cook on low heat for a few minutes, then season. Here’s more about how to make gravy.
Tips:

If you’re braising shanks, make a few vertical (i.e., parallel to the bone) cuts in the outer membrane so that the meat won’t twist out of shape while it braises. Some chefs like to remove the membrane altogether, but it’s a lot of work and not really worth it. The long braising will pretty much dissolve that membrane anyway.

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Oven braising is best because the meat is cooked with indirect heat. But if you don’t have an oven-safe pot, you can braise on the stovetop over low heat. You’ll have to check it periodically to make sure the liquid is simmering, not boiling.

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