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All About Braising: The Art of Uncomplicated Cooking Hardcover – Bargain Price, September 30, 2004

4.7 out of 5 stars 176 customer reviews

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Hardcover, Bargain Price, September 30, 2004
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--This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Braising--cooking food slowly and at low temperatures in a closed pot with a little liquid--produces deeply flavorful food. Molly Stevens's All About Braising is a definitive exploration of this soul-satisfying approach to food. With 125 simple recipes for braises of all kinds--from meat and poultry through seafood and vegetables, plus a thorough anatomy of technique (Stevens explores oven versus stovetop braising, for example)--the book will please cooks at every skill level. Most importantly, perhaps, it will send them to the kitchen to prepare enticing dishes such as Braised Endive with Prosciutto, Whole Chicken Braised with Pears and Rosemary, Duck Ragu with Pasta, and Veal Shoulder Braised with Figs & Sherry. Braises can also taste as good or better the next day, and Stevens supplies advice for second-day service. Included, too, is an "Opinionated Pantry" which, besides exploring relevant ingredients, expresses Stevens's ongoing commitment to using only the best and freshest available.

Throughout, Stevens's offers sensible, rewarding counsel. "If it comes down to a matter of cooking or not cooking dinner for your family," she says, "I recommend buying commercially raised chicken [as opposed to locally produced or other naturally raised poultry]. Make a satisfying home cooked meal, and sit down and enjoy it with your family." In other words, Stevens is wise. "The act of cooking on a regular basis will make you a better cook," she concludes, "and will improve the quality of your life and of those around you." --Arthur Boehm --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

From Publishers Weekly

Cuisines as diverse as Vietnamese, Moroccan, Italian, British and American all use braising; the technique can be a means to cook everything from vegetables to pork belly. Stevens, a Fine Cooking contributing editor, says that braising is simply "tucking a few ingredients into a heavy pot with a bit of liquid, covering the pot tightly and letting everything simmer peacefully until tender and intensely flavored." With the help of appetite-inducing photos of Vietnamese Braised Scallops, and Braised Endive with Prosciutto, Stevens illustrates just how exciting a braise can be. "Braising," she clarifies, "is a building process. The cook adds layer upon layer of flavor, nuance, and character to a dish at each stage." Although braising is a relatively simple cooking method, Stevens takes her time explaining it, drawing on food science to explain not just how, but why (for example, "Give food plenty of space," because "If the pan is too crowded... the released moisture can't escape and will cause the meat to steam, not brown"). Aside from Stevens's sometimes superfluous prose and ho-hum anecdotes, the book contains interesting tasting notes and cultural information, and Stevens's lengthy instructions will be particularly valuable to beginners. Photos, line drawings.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company Oct-17-2004 (September 30, 2004)
  • ISBN-10: 0393052303
  • ASIN: B000F4LMLC
  • Product Dimensions: 10 x 7.4 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (176 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,400,704 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is one of the best cookbooks I've ever had. My collection is now up to about 300 cookbooks, and this one ranks right up at the top. The organization is fantastic. In terms of usability, it is also excellent. Each recipe has the hours it will take to cook along with the serving size right in front. The directions could not be any clearer. The recipe chapters are organized by food type - vegetables, seafood, poultry and game, beef, veal, pork, lamb.

The recipes are easy. The author explains not only how, but why each step is taken. The recipes we've tried have turned out GREAT and our guests have been very impressed with the dinners we've served from this book.

I especially appreciated the explanations of the different types of cookware at the beginning of the book. A lot of topics I had questions about she answers -- types of meat cuts, braising vs. crock pot/slow cookers (she has about the same opinion of slow cookers as my Mom, who is another great cook - that it can be easy but generally has inferior results) and she has a nice resource section for purchasing items. I also liked the wine suggestions.

The photography is beautiful. This is a good book for both beginners and experienced cooks because it explains things in great detail and has the standard favorite recipes, but it also has a great selection of more unusual recipes that I've not seen in other cookbooks.

I'll be giving lots of these as gifts at Christmas.
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Format: Hardcover
I am a busy professional bachelor that has always cooked for several days at a time and then used the microwave liberally - often with mediocre results. With its focus on simple recipes that usually keep well for days and tolerate reheating beautifully, this cookbook has changed the way I eat. Before I found it, I struggled to locate recipes that were both easy to prepare and kept well. No longer. Those 30-minute meal-type cookbooks are pathetic compared to this.

Some of my favorite recipes include:

World's Best Braised Green Cabbage - it takes about 5 minutes (not counting cooking time) and almost no money to prepare but is far superior to any stewed cabbage I've ever eaten.

Braised Potatoes with Garlic and Bay Leaves - it is the best preparation of Potatoes EVER and is easy to throw together. They are like hot, savory candy when they come out of the oven.

Creamy Braised Brussel Sprouts - a completely different and superior way to cook brussel sprouts.

Quick Lemony Chicken with Prunes and Green Olives - Yes, it has prunes in it, but it comes together like voodoo and is fantastic with twice baked potatoes and a green salad.

Chicken Do-Piaza - I often combine this with the recipe for Caulifower, Potatoes and Peas Indian-Style for a one-pot meal with amazing Indian flavors.

Pork Loin Braised in Milk - This recipe, which like many in the book has very few ingredients, turns a pork roast (it doesn't have to be a loin) into something that tastes like a giant piece of creamy, mild Italian sausage.

The recommendations for side dishes and wine pairings are excellent. I am just beginning to explore wines and this book has helped me make some excellent discoveries.
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Format: Hardcover
Braising is the quintessential French cooking technique, as typical of Western Europe as stir-frying is of the Far East. Molly Stevens has given us an excellent book `All About Braising' which adheres to the very basic cooking principle that if you pay close attention to all the little details of good ingredients, your cooking will invariably improve. So, the book is almost as much about identifying and buying the best ingredients for braising as it is about braising itself.

The name `braising', based on `brazier' and heating on hot coals mislead me for years when I knew more about French than I did about cooking and before I started reading about cooking in earnest. I imagined it was a type of grilling when it's only real connection to hot coals is the very old technique of placing coals on the top of Dutch Ovens cast with rimmed lids to accommodate the coals.

It is also easy to confuse braising with stewing. Braising is a very well-defined method characterized by browning a relatively large cut of protein or vegetable, followed by cooking over a low, all-around heat with liquid extending about 1/3 the way up the height of the primary ingredient. The braising container is tightly lidded so that vapor does not escape the cooking pot and designed to encourage condensation to drip back down on the braised food. Some braising vessels are also designed to leave little very little headroom between the primary ingredient and the lid. Stewing is a much less well defined technique which does not require a lid and is generally done with much more liquid and smaller pieces of food than a braise.

The list of classic `comfort food' braised dishes is long and familiar to Western foodies, headed up by coq au vin, sauerbraten, braised lamb shanks, and osso bucco.
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Format: Hardcover
Coming together to eat from a communal pot a delicious meal with conversation, author Molly Stevens discovered was a significant part of her family and her life, thus this wonderful book.

On top of all this, the wonderful aromas generated over the hours of sumptuous, slow cooking provide additional blessings of braising meals. Her inspiration came from all over the globe, from informal to classic recipes.

Find, experiment and find wonderful culinary community experiences in this collection. I have already with the following: Pork Riblets in Vietnamese Caramel Sauce; Country-Style Pork Ribs Braised with Mango, Lime & Coconut; Osso Buco all Milanese; Short Ribs Braised in Porter Ale with Maple-Rosemary Glaze; Chicken Do-Piaza (Indian Spiced Chicken Smothered in Onions); Tuna Pot Roast with Tomato, Basil & Capers; Creamy Braised Brussels Sprouts; The Simplest Potato & Leeks Braise.

With each delectable recipe comes great, thorough instructions, as well as wine/drink recommendations. Additionaly, there is frequent sidebar discussion on technique, ingredient, e.g. "using banana leaves." An excellent source listing as well as fantastic "An Opinionated Pantry."

This is large (421 pg.) resource that is easy and fun to use and will bring great response from your diners.
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