December 2010
Welcome to Local In Season's December E-Newsletter!

This newsletter comes to you just as the New England weather makes its shift from the crisp, cool days of fall to the bite of winter. As the seasons change, so does the availability of local New England produce. We are coming into a time that many local food enthusiasts and home cooks consider a challenge. With challenge, though, comes an opportunity to expand our horizons and cooking repertoire. To that end, this edition of the e-newsletter focuses on a a great technique to warm you (and your kitchen!) up, and a few ingredients that will get you through the early days of the winter chill.
Settle in with a Braise

Braising is a fairly straightforward yet under-utilized technique in home kitchens. Braising requires a browning step followed by a long, slow cooking process. Braised meats are terrific because they allow you to take a less desirable part of an animal (short ribs, tongue, cheek, etc.) and make it the star of a dish.

When you braise "tough" cuts of meat, the slow and moist heat breaks down connective tissues (mainly collagen) making the meat incredibly tender. The liquid that results from the rendered meat can then be made into a delicious sauce.

The Technique:

Start by first browning your meat that you are about to braise either in a heavy bottom braising pan or skillet.
Once the meat is browned, fill your braising pan with enough liquid (chicken or veal stock are traditional options, but beer or red wine are good options as well) to come to the top of the meat. Fresh herbs and/or a fresh mire poix add a nice touch as well.

Place your braising pan in a 350 degree oven for 3-5 hours depending on the cut of meat you will be braising. The meat is done when it is falling-off-the-bone tender, or it can be easily separated with a fork. If the meat does not pull apart easily and is still chewy, allow it to braise for an additional 30 minutes and check again. Remove the meat from the braise when done and reduce the remaining liquid for a flavorful sauce.

Vegetables can be braised as well, although it takes much less time. Vegetables should be cut into uniform pieces, browned in a pan with a little butter or oil, and braised for 30 minutes or less.

Onions, fennel, carrots and beets work well using this braising technique.

Try your technique out on this recipe:
Braised Jalapeņo Soy Short Ribs (pictured above)


ENJOY!
NOW on Local In Season


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Upcoming Articles

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* Chef Todd Heberlein continues his Squash Series


*Homemade Applewood-Smoke Bacon*

*Glazed Parsnips

*Coffee-Rubbed Pork Belly*

*Made from sustainably-raised pork (Vermont)
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WINTER WARMERS

Look to these flavors, ingredients, and dishes to warm you up in Decemeber!

Nutmeg

Cinnamon
Allspice
Ginger
Peppermint
Curry
Paprika
Cumin
Brandy
Red Wine
Chocolate
Nuts

Braised meats
Roasted root vegetables

Soups and stews

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and Sweet Tooth Honey Wine
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"You are not forced to drink wine from California or Australia, so why not shake it up and try something from New England? I guarantee it will be an experience you'll remember."

--Ian Bennet
Owner, Isaaks of Salem

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