At Christmas I received 2 new cookbooks; Ad Hoc by Thomas Keller and Sunday Suppers at Luque's by Suzanne Goin. They are both fantastic and I've used quite a few recipe ideas for my braises. One I especially loved was the Braised Short ribs from Sunday Suppers at Lucque's. The recipe used balsamic vinegar and a whole bottle of wine. It is served with mashed potatoes, horseradish cream and kale. I followed the recipe as written and it was perfect. For the horseradish cream, I used my own prepared horseradish which I made like this: Peel and clean 1 large horseradish root. The root is a very large hairy root. It is very "hot" so be prepared on inhaling that your eyes may tear. Yikes, but it is worth it. Cut the large peeled root into smaller pieces that you can grate in your food processor. Alternately grate by hand. Change to regular processer blade and process grated root with 1/2 cup vinegar and 1 tablespoon sea salt. Transfer to glass jars and press down, add additional vinegar if necessary to cover.
Another braise I did was my own recipe that I threw together and it came out fantastic. I had a bone in chuck roast from my cow. It was huge, about 8 pounds, 3 inches think and 12 inches in length. I cut it in half and browned it in my le creuset one at a time till very nicely browned. Then I added 1 onion, julienned, 2 celery stalks chopped and about 4 large carrots chopped. I also threw in a very generous handful of peeled garlic cloves. I deglazed the whole thing with a full bottle of red wine and reduced by half, then added about 2 cups very rich beef stock (again made from my cow). I threw in a handful of thyme sprigs, a chile de arbol and covered the pot with foil and a lid. I cooked for 3-4 hours in a slow oven, about 300 degrees. Cooked until it broke easily apart with a fork. I served this with wide egg noodles. My intention was to cook this for my family and a friend's husband and kids while I went to knit night at my friend's. The message got crossed and friend's husband and kids ate before they came. Well, they had 2 dinners that night and my friend Linda really would like me to teach her to cook this for her man. He loved it.