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Braising in the Sun – Beef Braised Beef, Braised Kohlrabi, Kohlrabi greens with garlic

Last night’s dinner was all full of experimentation.

My grocery has had cheap chuck roasts (and small ones, too!). And instead of making my standard pot roast or swiss steak, I happened across a recipe on the internet for beer braised beef (from [redacted]’s del.ici.ous links)

So I went and bought a six-pack of Negra Modela on my way home. I added the salt and pepper to the raw meat, and then I let it sit for a hour because I went to a demo at the restaurant school nearby last summer and the chef had said that rubs that included salt are used incorrectly when they are added right before cooking – instead they should sit on long enough that the salt not only draws out moisture, but also then re-dries forming a little crust of salty goodness on the outside of the meat. Whatever – I gave it a try.

After the browning stage with just the salt and pepper, the roast smelled wonderful and was very tasty (What? I hadn’t had lunch!).

I put in all three onions that the recipe called for (but none of the shallots because I didn’t have any and how were you going to notice the difference between onions and shallots in a dish with flavors this heavy?) and then I remembered that my roast was a little smaller than the recipe called for, so I pulled out some of them halfway through cooking – they are destined for an onion and potato curry with yellow thai noodle sauce.

Added beer. Cooked. Ate some ramen (because starving!). Flipped the roast. Dipped a piece of bread in the goody and ate that – MMmmm tasty! Cooked. Ate a yogurt cup. Made and ate a side dish. And then the roast was finished! So I nibbled at a corner and put it aside to be tonight’s dinner because I was full and it was 10pm.

Verdict: even with mexican beer, the beef tastes belgian. I think I’ll thicken the sauce to make gravy, and maybe that will give it a more yumminess. I secretly think that I should have added one of those mini cans of tomato paste to the braising right at the beginning, but I am not wise in the ways of tomato paste and do not keep those little can in stock. Maybe I should start.

ETA: Pulled beef out, brought liquid to a fast boil, and put a heaping Tablespoon of whole wheat flour in a little mesh strainer and sifted it in slowly while stirring – made a very tasty gravy.

About half an hour before the roast finished, I started preparing a side dish. Well, it ended up being two side dishes by accident. But I was trying a new vegetable kohlrabi.

A bit of preliminary research turned up that it was a member of the cabbage family and “just like broccoli.” Only it’s leafy and bulbous, and not much like either of those things, so I was puzzled.

Finally a found a recipe that seemed made just for this vegetable, instead of randomly substituting it into a brussel sprout recipe: Braised kohlrabi with garlic and parmesan

And thus I had a theme for the evening – braising everything!

And then I cheated on it because right after I had prepared the kohlrabi for the recipe, I realised that it wasn’t going to use the greens – so I cut them up into little strips and threw them into some olive oil a few minutes after I threw in some garlic. If I had thought it through, I think this is a dish that would really have been improved with the use of my fancy olive oil (I am starting to be able to taste the differences). And then, since I was shredding parmesan anyway, I tossed in a goodly handful of cheese before eating it

verdict (Greens): Reminded me a lot of broccoli rabe leaves. Soft and tasty without being bitter, but with a lovely amount of spiciness.

Right, so the real recipe – sauteing garlic and kohlrabi in butter was a brilliant way to start. Turns out that half an ice cube tray of duck stock melts out to exactly 200mL – win! So I had much more flavorful stock going in that is called for.

verdict (bulb): Again, color me unreasonably skeptical – it was just like broccoli. Well, broccoli stems. Only easier to peel and with more surface area. I’ve been using broccoli stems for years to replace water chestnuts from recipes – and kohlrabi will be even better. I am all impressed with this new (to me) vegetable.

Now I have leftover duck broth infused with the essence of garlic, butter, and kohlrabi. Do I (a) use it to marinate a chicken leg quarter as I thaw it, or (b) make some rice, pour that in, maybe cook a few greens for on top, and call it dinner?