A few weeks ago, I tried my hand at braising. I'd seen the word often, and grasped the general gist of it, to cook tougher cuts of meat on high heat for a short amount of time, then place under low heat for a few hours until tender.
I was inspired by this post at the Hungry Mouse. Boil meat in beer for a few hours, you say? Sure. I can do that. I pretty much followed her helpful instructions step by step.
I set out to the store with a vague idea of what I wanted. Short ribs, and a tasty stout to boil the short ribs in for a few hours. When I arrived at the meat counter, I noticed that the bottom round roast looked pretty tasty as well. The solution? To get both.
I picked up some bay leaves,as well as peppers and mushrooms to pan roast in the oven, short ribs, the round roast, and then faced the difficult choice of what beer to assist me in my braising adventure.
Not Guinness, not Stone, or Bells. I briefly contemplated a porter; but when I saw the BBC Bourbon Barrel Jefferson's reserve stout, the decision was made. David and I have said before that it is, in our opinion, the best of BBC. I figured the bourbon infused stout would impart a tasty flavor to my braised beef.
But what about the accompaniments? Other than the peppers and mushrooms, I wanted to make beer bread.
I decided to let my choice in beer dictate my bread direction. We have two loaf pans, giving me the option of making both sweet and savory beer breads. I selected Founder's double trouble and Cerise as my beers or choice, picking up the additional ingredients at the store to compliment the imperial IPA and cherry ale.
For the Cerise loaf: dried cherries, almonds, white chocolate morsels, a little vanilla extract.
for the Double Trouble loaf: fresh chives and cheddar.
I used a basic beer bread recipe, which is 3 cups self rising flour, 1 tsp salt, a bottle of beer, 2 tsp sugar. I used more sugar for the sweet loaf, upping it to ¼ cup. Bake for about 45 minutes at 350. The add-ins I did not measure, just trusted my instincts.
The adventure was mostly peril free, other than the short moment of panic when the short ribs glued themselves to the hot bottom of the pan I was using for the super hot part of braising and required some skill to dislodge. The breads were a success as well, though I now recommend you check the IBU's on a bottle of beer for beer bread. Double Trouble's healthy hop dose imparted a little bit of bitterness into the bread.