In the spirit of comfort foods and enjoying the slow cooked goodness that braising brings, Lia over at Swirling Notions is hosting a Braisy Chain event. What she asked is that anyone who participated use the method of braising to share what they made.
A couple of months back, I became really interested in the whole method of cooking known as braising. I picked up a couple of books from the library so that I could read up on it and pick a recipe to try. I read through Daniel Boloud’s book, but found his recipes were a bit beyond what I was looking for, which was a disappointment since we had really enjoyed dining at DB Bistro last fall. The other book I picked up was by Molly Stevens. The way it was written was very detailed and explained the “science”, if you will, behind braising. I came away feeling like I learned what I need to know about braising to be successful. The recipe I chose as my first attempt was Chicken and Dumplings. Growing up, this was one of my favorite meals that my Mom would make. Something about the big fluffy dumplings soaking up the chicken soup just made you feel good. The dumplings in this recipe are a bit different from the way my mom made them as they have chives in them. The recipe turned out so well, that I wanted to revisit it for the Braisy Chain event.
One thing to note is that this time around, my Husband asked me to make bigger dumplings. I would not recommend this to anyone else as it is harder to tell when they are finished cooking and you are likely to have some that are under-done - and they will have what can be described as a "sticky" consistency. Some were better than others, so all was not lost this time around.
The last step to the recipe is to add the Liaison, which is a rich thickener that Ms. Stevens adds to the dish. This last step is crucial to this dish in that it provides a nice velvety feel to the sauce. I really don’t know how it would be if you were to lighten it to save on calories or to cut cholesterol due to the use of eggs in this last step. Since I view this as a comfort food for those cold winter months, I don’t see why a little splurge (while watching portion size!) isn’t in order.
Of course, a result of my new appreciation of this cooking technique has me dreaming of owning a Le Crueset French oven. I had the pleasure of borrowing one from a friend when we had our Moroccan Supper Club dinner, and I am sold on the quality of this brand as well as the consistent way that it maintains the heat/temperature while on such low heat settings. We’ll just add this to my wish list!