OMG what did I do :*( braised short ribs disaster

Discussion in 'Food & Cooking' started by golfncook, Apr 16, 2015.

  1. golfncook

    golfncook

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    40 years old here... first time poster... horrible cook for 39 years.  Took a couple classes at a local business and I learned to really enjoy cooking.  Have always been a recipe guy, never experimented.  I decided to go to my local community college to take their "basic cookery" class.  12 week course that goes over a lot of things.  I am sooo digging it :) .... Chef/Instructor gave us a assignment this week to cook a meal and write a paper on it.  Technique, what went wrong, blah blah blah.....

    Well something went wrong alright......

    Recipe called for 4oz oil (i used canola) and brown the meat.  I have a dutch oven, and didn't want to bury the meat in oil so I covered the bottom(maybe used 1oz).  I have 6 stripes of short ribs cooking 2 at a time.  Takes awhile, but done.....  I have 3oz of the oil left so I dump that in and add my chopped onion, carrot, celery to brown.  Stir stir, sit, stir stir......  Now need to make the roux.....  Recipe called for 2.5oz of flour.... pour little, stir, more, stir, more, stir.....  done... but issue.... still is runny, doesn't look like wet sand....  I did drench the meat in flour, so I had some left over from that, put it in... Still runny.....So I remember back in class.....

    Roux equal's .... 1 part fat, 1 part flour....  ok... 4oz oil for the meat... 2.5oz flour... doesn't add up.....  so, I take a spoon full of flour dump and stir, nope, another spoon, nope, another, nope.... Finally get a nice roux.... Let it cook.... Hey look, wet sand... Happy again...  Cook it for a few minutes.  Proceed

    Now its time to add the broth....  I have 1.25 quarts of hot water....  Pour it in and add a little more than a tablespoon of beef base.  Stir stir stir for 5 seconds... UH OHHHhhhhh I have a very very very thick batter,.....   add more hot water, a cup at a time...  3 cups, nothing, 4th cup, nothing... finally have something called a liquid back....  Add a little more base to make up for the added water....  throw in tomato paste and a bay leave.... simmer... taste.... hmmmmmmmm i had worse tasting things...  Chopped up 2 cloves of garlic threw that in, stirred...  Threw the meat in... Have about 1/2 inch room left to the top of the dutch oven....

    Lower the heat to 275 in the oven... Lay foil over the bottom ready for the boil over and they are cooking right now.....  What a mess though......  About 6 lbs of prime short ribs, braising a crappy sauce.  A student with no idea what he should of done different, venting in a forum I never been to.  

    Anyone still here????? 

    Well, any ideas why the roux didn't form?  If I can start over, I would of used clarified butter.... Not sure what that would do different but the only thing that is on my mind.  Thanks all for any advise, hugs, love, criticism 
     
  2. chefwriter

    chefwriter

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    Clarified butter would not have made a difference.

         You did not follow the recipe. Inexperience and assumptions were the problem. When you haven't done a dish before, follow the recipe. Don't make judgements about what you think it should be.

         Your first mistake was not heeding the recipes call for using the oil for browning the meat. When the meat is browned, there most likely won't be the total of four ounces of oil left in the pan. Some will adhere to the meat. some will disintegrate in the browning. Some extra may remain but will not bind completely with the 2.5 ounces of flour and can be skimmed off later. Instead of using the oil to guide your thinking about the roux, you should have used the flour amount. So 2.5 ounces of flour means 2.5 ounces of oil. Most likely close to what you would have after browning the meat according to the recipe. 

              You also need to allow a few minutes for the flour to activate and thicken whatever liquid is there. Other factors will help thicken the sauce but at first it can seem too thin and thick sauce is not always what a recipe is intended to produce. 

         The other suggestion I'll offer is to mix the water and base together, then tasting it before adding to the pot. This way you have a better idea of how much base is necessary for proper flavor. The base is used if you don't have home made stock on hand. A home made stock is complete and ready to use.  The base needs to be prepared first. Adding more or less base and water at different times during the cooking is imprecise and throws off the balance of the dish. As it cooks, all the ingredients will be adding their flavors to the dish and affecting the taste.  So when the recipe calls for a certain amount of stock, use the base to make that amount of stock before you add it to the dish, thus providing you with the opportunity to make any necessary adjustments while you still can. 

       Most important, keep cooking. We have all made similar mistakes, some much worse. We learn, move on and in the end we get to eat. But in the meantime, follow the recipe as written. There are occasions when a recipe is wrong, but not often enough for someone with your limited experience to be judging when that is. 
     
  3. brianshaw

    brianshaw

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    I skimmed your post and left, but eventually came back.  Still here.  :)

    Advise:  (1) when posting please clarify what exactly the problem is.  I'm not sure if your braising liquid tastes like crap or is too thin/thick.  Too much extraneous words, etc.  (2) roux is 50:50, but the amount of roux needed is dependent upon the amount of liquid you are thickening.  Doing it in the pan like you did is the hard way that works if you have experience and may not if you do not have experience.  Suggest you take some of that fat and make a roux, but thicken your braising liquid closer to the end of the cooking so you can better control the consistency

    Hugs and love:  Maybe later after we know each other better.  hehe

    Criticism:  work on your writing style and clarity.  Really.
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2015
  4. flipflopgirl

    flipflopgirl

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    Taking cooking classes?
    Good on you!
    Having to write a paper for said cooking classes?
    Bad on them!

    Next time lead in with the recipe.
    Cut and paste if need be , just be sure to cite the author.
    This will help us follow along in our heads and makes advice giving ohso much easier.

    About choosing and following a recipe...
    Try to find one that lists the cooking implements.
    Browning meat in a Duch oven is a lost cause as the tall sides trap condensation and the meat just kinda stews without taking on a beautiful brown color ( helps flavor wise).

    Is there someone there that is a bit more experienced and may be open to teaming up for a bit of between class practice?

    Don't give up and keep us in the loop!

    mimi

    If you can snap some pix and post those.
    As they say a picture is worth a thousand words lol!
     
  5. kuan

    kuan Moderator Staff Member

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    Roux at the end. 
     
  6. golfncook

    golfncook

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    Thank you chef for commenting on my post.  The recipe said to cook in a braising pan, which I do not have and I believe 4oz would of covered the bottom of that nicely.  I always thought when browning meat, use as little fat as possible.

    Thoughts?
     
  7. golfncook

    golfncook

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    Thanks Brian for taking the time to reply.....  

    Thanks for the suggestions.  If I had to do it over again, I would of tossed it and started again since the meat wasn't added yet and that's the main part of the dish.  

    Criticism.... :)  I am guilty of a little drinking and posting.....  Better than drinking and driving :)
     
  8. millionsknives

    millionsknives

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    4 oz is a lot of oil, but a braising pan is wide so i don't know how deep that is.  I still think it's a lot.  I use maybe 1 or 2 tablespoons in a dutch oven. 

    For good browning, your meat has to be DRY.
     
  9. koukouvagia

    koukouvagia

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    Hmmm I find the words "wet sand" to be suspicious.  As far as I can see that's the problem right there.  I can't think of any roux that behaves like we sand in texture.  I think of a roux as sort of a paste made with flour and fat.  But I make different kinds of roux, not just the 50/50 kind.  When I make a bechamel I add a little more flour than the recipe calls for and it becomes thick and difficult to stir, sort of like the consistency of cold cream cheese, but more like a batter.  Then there is the runny roux that I use for a braise such as this one.  I use less flour than the recipe calls for because I prefer a runnier liquidy sauce.

    Your roux was just too thick.  I concur with everyone else, follow the recipe when you do something for the first time before you say things like "I didn't want a bunch of oil" which can only lead to disasterous results, especially since roux is based on a precise measurement of these few ingredients.  

    It'll be ok, next time it will be awesome, but here are some pointers.  Next time don't panic!  You panicked and then just started throwing things in there lol.  The garlic should be chopped and sweated with the onions.  The tomato paste should have browned a little.  You really didn't need to throw away the whole thing, you could just have removed some of the roux and proceeded from there.  

    But hey I've seen worse things from first timers so you're ahead of the game.  Keep on cooking!
     
  10. jake t buds

    jake t buds

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    Totally agree with the other posters here. Based on your description, it doesn't sound like you followed the recipe. 

    I've never used a roux for braised short ribs. After cooking for a long while the sauce reduces and uses the collagen to thicken, as short ribs has much connective tissue. But I use a hearty fruity red wine in my braise. 

    The easiest short rib recipe I know is Jean-Georges Vorgshtnasoitehrwohugoaerg80hrw9ion. 

    Brown about 4- 5 lbs of short ribs in a dutch oven. Use high heat oil (canola or grape seed) sparingly. Just enough to brown the meat, in batches if necessary. Save all liquid that gets released in the plate while you batch brown. 

    Add rough chopped 1 onion, 1 carrot, maybe celery, some garlic in some fresh oil. Saute until soft, about 10 minutes at med-low heat. No need for brunoise. 

    Add the ribs, a big bunch of thyme, and an entire bottle of said wine. Bring to a boil, cover and stick in the hot box for about 3 hours, maybe more. 

    When the meat falls apart, remove the bone, separate the meat, strain the veggies out and chill the sauce. The next day, remove the fat puck on the sauce and combine ingredients and heat through. 

    Stupid easy, yet incredulously delicious. You might find a more detailed account online somewhere. Bittman might be a collaborateur. 

    Anyway, it seems to me you added the roux at the wrong time and didn't wait for it to do it's thing.

    Good luck and keep at it. 
     
  11. pete

    pete Moderator Staff Member

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    I do all my braises in dutch ovens and have never had a problem with browning, unless I overcrowd the pan.  And I would bet that most others here have never had an issue using the same dutch to both brown the meat and braise it in.
     
    alaminute likes this.
  12. koukouvagia

    koukouvagia

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    @Pete  try no to cut off the name of the person you're quoting, had to search each post to find who you were quoting.  I agree with you, I brown a lot of meat in my dutch oven.  The key is not to crowd the pan.
     
  13. flipflopgirl

    flipflopgirl

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    Ok I will concede you that.
    When learning to cook I had problems with the meat (in Dutch oven) browning without leaving scorched dark bits on the bottom.....but at a lower setting the meat would not brown at all but loose all the moisture leaving a gummy mass .

    Asked my dad (the beef stew cook in our home) and he said to brown the meat at a lower temp in a cast iron skillet.
    Worked great for me and this is how I have done it ever since.

    There is more than one way to skin a cat ;)


    mimi
     
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2015
  14. koukouvagia

    koukouvagia

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    As long as you deglaze the pan in which you sear the meat then the result is the same :) except you have 2 pans to clean of course.
     
  15. jake t buds

    jake t buds

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    I understand that anytime you use an acid to deglaze cast iron, there goes your seasoning. Unless you deglaze with….water.

    How boring. /img/vbsmilies/smilies/smile.gif   I use wine to deglaze, and use an enameled cast iron dutch oven. I never had a problem browning meats. Temp, time and don't disturb is my motto. 
     
  16. maryb

    maryb

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    I have never made a roux that looked like wet sand, they are always semi liquid... like a thin peanut butter that will run in the jar
     
  17. koukouvagia

    koukouvagia

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    peanut butter is a better comparison.  A runny peanut butter for most sauces except when I make bechamel it's a little thicker like cold peanut butter.  It makes a better bechamel for my uses.
     
    flipflopgirl likes this.
  18. butzy

    butzy

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    My cast iron pots are very well seasoned and seem to stay that way, even when deglazing with wine, or worse, cooking with wine and/or tomatoes /img/vbsmilies/smilies/smile.gif

    If you use them often enough, I wouldn't worry too much about the patina....
     
  19. brianshaw

    brianshaw

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    I always thought using that term made chefs sound French, or Cajun... Or maybe Creole.
     
  20. millionsknives

    millionsknives

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    Gravy base sounds like something my mom buys at the supermarket. A roux, on the other hand is a basic way of thickening lots of stuff not just gravy.

    Please enlighten us with your food network knowledge about chefs who use the correct terminology. I also hate french words that have come into common usage. Instead of saute, just heat stuff in a skillet with oil. Demi glace? How about meat jello water.