Clever, eh? I admit it, I'm totally biased at the moment. I'm in an "Alice Waters" fixated state and the only other genre of cookbook that can pull me out of this are baking books. Are you sick and tired of me rambling on and on and on about how wonderful Alice Waters is, how she's so cool, fabulous and utterly worthy of culinary knighthood? Well, tough noogies. I recently renewed my "borrowing" of The Art of Simple Food by Alice Waters from the library, her ninth cookbook in fact. Over the weekend I opted to try her recipe for Braised Chicken Legs with Tomatoes and Garlic. I served it with fragrant rice to soak up all those lovely juices. Known for her devotion to ingredients and attention to simplicity, Alice Waters exemplifies the essence of cooking, whether your in a professional kitchen and for the home. Braising is such a wonderful cooking technique, not employed by many home cooks during the week as it requires time and above all else, patience. The benefits of such work are definitely worth it though and braising chicken is effortless really. One of the added benefits of braising is that you only require the use of one pot so clean up tends to be minimal. Once you've mastered a few braising techniques, you can pretty much create your own recipe. This is usually the braising protocol:
1. Brown meat in olive oil.
2. Remove meat and saute veggies and aromatics (garlic, herbs, seasonings).
3. Deglaze the pan with either wine or stock.
4. Add meat back to the pan and simmer covered (the chicken took about 45 minutse, but toughter cuts of meat will take longer).
5. Remove meat and reduce stock to a sauce.
These are only the essentials. Another great resource is All About Braising by Molly Stevens, a devout braiser, Molly breaks down the techniques and offers delicious recipes to practice this fine art. This isn't calculus for cooks, it's algebra, folks. And here in Indiana, our first snowfall has already doused us and nothing speaks volumes in the winter than a home-cooked hearty meal.