Prior to the madness last night, which I can’t talk about because my blogging is always positive and generally on topic, I started a braise. A long, slow, deep, wet braise over some lovely boneless short ribs. First I dry rubbed them in an Asian Smoked Tea Rub from World Spice and some allspice.
I always start with a dry rub because it help build the foundation of flavors. Though I didn’t know exactly where this braise was going to go, I thought this would be an interesting start. You want to sear the meat before you braise it to lock in the initial flavors. Or so they say- but I do agree (in addition to it being habit).
I decided on tomatoes, since the garden is still producing them en masse, to get things started in the pot. I added a little water to get them all juiced up.
Then I chose Not Your Father’s Root Beer for a sweet rooty spice for the braising liquid.
You want to have enough liquid in your braise to nearly cover the meat, like only an inch showing above the liquid line. I ended up transferring the lot to a smaller pot since I wasn’t making a ton of meat and didn’t need so much liquid.
Let it braise forever, turning here and there, which would be about 3 hours on a low light. Break the meat til it comes apart with no effort. Taste the liquid (let it cool before you put it in your mouth!) to see what it needs. I added a little cinnamon, some vanilla extract, cocoa powder, and a bit of espresso salt. Braises are completely flexible and can be tailored to taste, in my opinion. Beer and wine both work, as does chicken stock. Just keep building those flavors!!
I made roasted spaghetti squash to serve as the braise’s bed.
I tossed the squash with some of the thin braising liquid. Once the meat was super tender and falling apart, I thickened up the braise with a little corn starch – use a small dish and mix about a teaspoon of corn starch with a little of the braising liquid, then pour that back into the pot and stir to thicken it. I couldn’t stop tasting the braising liquid. It was delicious.
Place the chunks of meat on top of the squash and douse heavily with the sauce from the braise. Then douse again just to make sure. Pull apart the meat to show its tenderness!
Yeah!! This was good stuff. I paired it with a great merlot by Clos du Val, but of course you could also pair it very easily with the Not Your Father’s Root Beer that it grew up in!!