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Random Food Questions Thread - Page 444

post #6646 of 7347
I think Matt mentioned this awhile back and it's great...
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
Quote:
Carnitas

Serves Eight

Adapted from The Sweet Life in Paris by David Lebovitz

4-5-pounds boneless pork shoulder, cut into 5-inch chunks, trimmed of excess fat
1 tablespoon coarse sea salt
2 tablespoons canola or neutral vegetable oil
water
1 cinnamon stick
1 teaspoon chile powder
1 teaspoon ancho chile powder
2 bay leaves
¼ teaspoon ground cumin
3 cloves of garlic, peeled and thinly-sliced
1. Rub the pieces of pork shoulder all over with salt. Refrigerate for 1- to 3-days. (You can skip this step if you want. Just be sure to salt the pork before searing the meat in the next step.)

2. Heat the oil in a roasting pan set on the stovetop. Cook the pieces of pork shoulder in a single layer until very well-browned, turning them as little as possible so they get nice and dark before flipping them around. If your cooking vessel is too small to cook them in a single-layer, cook them in two batches.

3. Once all the pork is browned, remove them from the pot and blot away any excess fat with a paper towel, then pour in about a cup of water, scraping the bottom of the pan with a flat-edged utensil to release all the tasty brown bits.

4. Heat the oven to 350F (180C) degrees.

5. Add the pork back to the pan and add enough water so the pork pieces are 2/3rd’s submerged in liquid. Add the cinnamon stick and stir in the chile powders, bay leaves, cumin and garlic.

7. Braise in the oven uncovered for 3½ hours, turning the pork a few times during cooking, until much of the liquid is evaporated and the pork is falling apart. Remove the pan from the oven and lift the pork pieces out of the liquid and set them on a platter.

8. Once the pork pieces are cool enough to handle, shred them into bite-sized pieces, about 2-inches (7 cm), discarding any obvious big chunks of fat if you wish.

9. Return the pork pieces back to the roasting pan and cook in the oven, turning occasionally, until the liquid has evaporated and the pork is crispy and caramelized. It will depend on how much liquid the pork gave off, and how crackly you want them.

I like mine deeply, darkly, crispy brown on the outside.
post #6647 of 7347
That's a good recipe. Serious Eats (Food Lab) has a great one as well.
post #6648 of 7347
350 seems awfully hot for a braise.
post #6649 of 7347
It's pretty standard.
post #6650 of 7347
Quote:
Originally Posted by aravenel View Post

"Gourmet" Mexican annoys me. It's fundamentally a peasant food. Also should be enjoyed in quantity.

It's like gourmet fried chicken. Makes no goddamn sense.
sorry, this is an ignorant post. there is no conspicuous consumer like a rich mexican. they make piob look like a peasant. besides, mexico was a possession of the French until the middle of the 19th century (hey cinco de mayo!) and there is still a strong french influence on Mexican fine dining, particularly in the DF.
post #6651 of 7347
For the record: I am a peasant..but I do like me some good food.
post #6652 of 7347
Quote:
Originally Posted by aravenel View Post

"Gourmet" Mexican annoys me. It's fundamentally a peasant food. Also should be enjoyed in quantity.

It's like gourmet fried chicken. Makes no goddamn sense.

Thats why I like what Bayless does with Topolabampo (though I don't think I have been there since before Obama ran for president and named it his favorite restaurant, blowing up the reservation queue).

Its fancy mexican food the way I imagine a fancy restaurant in mexico city might prepare food. You've got a lot of the same flavors, ingredients, and combinations, but he's not trying to sell you a $30 burrito. There are no tacos or quesadillas on the menu (although he will sell you all the "Gourmet" Mexican you want at Frontera next door). Menu tends to be seafood heavy with a focus on fresh, seasonal items and the various sauces that are Bayless's specialty.
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
Frijol con Puerco : Black bean-braised Gunthorp pork shoulder, rich pan juices, suckling pig ham, heirloom Mexican ayocotes, molcajete salsa, quelites (wild-harvested greens), crunchy garnishes.

Halibut y Langosta, Pipian Verde de Ajonjoli: pan-roasted wild Alaskan halibut, Maine lobster "torchon," green pipian of toasted sesame & 3 herbs (hoja santa, cilantro, epazote), Snug Haven spinach, roasted white sweet potato, braised black sesame.

Atún en Mole de Olla : pinole-crusted ahi tuna, brothy mole de olla (pasilla & meco chiles, epazote), morel & maitake mushrooms, tender beef tongue, peas & their tendrils, mezcal-pickled radishes.

If I want a taco or burrito, I'll go to the grubby shop under the train...but I'll happily eat the kind of mexican stuff sold at Topolabampo.
post #6653 of 7347
Oh, real question about the carnitas...blotting the fat. I was taught you almost do a confit to make carnitas by loading in some lard to let them simmer in.
post #6654 of 7347
Bayless' torta place at O'Hare is really good. I get to fly through there in a couple days.
post #6655 of 7347
Quote:
Originally Posted by itsstillmatt View Post

It's pretty standard.

Maybe you can help me then. I have definitely seen 350 as a braising temp a lot. But it has always confused me, as the temp for breaking down collagens or whatever you call those connective tissues that cause meat to be tough is more like, what, 160? Go too much higher than that though and it all just melts out completely leaving dry meat, no? I always thought the target was somewhere like 160-180 and if you go even to boiling temp (hence the recommendation to simmer) things are overcooked.

I do see that recipe calls for pretty huge chunks of meat so maybe that's the deal? I usually use much smaller for things like chili verde.
post #6656 of 7347
Quote:
Originally Posted by edinatlanta View Post

Bayless' torta place at O'Hare is really good. I get to fly through there in a couple days.

I think it was SField who pointed to that as the best airport breakfast option around. You can get a Torta with a couple of slices of legit neuske's bacon and some perfectly cooked eggs...there is a few minute wait, but it is awesome.
post #6657 of 7347
Quote:
Originally Posted by Douglas View Post

Maybe you can help me then. I have definitely seen 350 as a braising temp a lot. But it has always confused me, as the temp for breaking down collagens or whatever you call those connective tissues that cause meat to be tough is more like, what, 160? Go too much higher than that though and it all just melts out completely leaving dry meat, no? I always thought the target was somewhere like 160-180 and if you go even to boiling temp (hence the recommendation to simmer) things are overcooked.

I do see that recipe calls for pretty huge chunks of meat so maybe that's the deal? I usually use much smaller for things like chili verde.

Collagen breaks down as a function of time and temp, so at simmering, which is what 350 produces in a wet environment (not sure why, maybe fg can chime in) it breaks down faster, though it does get stringier. "Traditional" eat with a fork braised meats are done this way. As you go lower and slower the texture changes and it takes more time.
post #6658 of 7347
Quote:
Originally Posted by Piobaire View Post

Oh, real question about the carnitas...blotting the fat. I was taught you almost do a confit to make carnitas by loading in some lard to let them simmer in.
yeah, my favorite carnitas is lard with just enough water to get the meat to tenderize, then you cook off the water so the meat crisps in the lard. you get a crisp exterior and melty interior. TIME FOR LUNCH!
post #6659 of 7347
Quote:
Originally Posted by itsstillmatt View Post

Collagen breaks down as a function of time and temp, so at simmering, which is what 350 produces in a wet environment (not sure why, maybe fg can chime in) it breaks down faster, though it does get stringier. "Traditional" eat with a fork braised meats are done this way. As you go lower and slower the texture changes and it takes more time.

don't have all the science right in front of me, but the common sense of it is that moisture is also required to break down collagen and as long as there is moisture present the temperature won't exceed 212 (boiling point). there are other factors than time and temp that affect the texture of braised meat -- most notably enzyme actions that occur at different temp points. now, again, i'm going strictly off the top of my bald head here, but the longer/shorter the meat stands at different temps, the more/less those enzymes work. one of my favorite braising techniques is high-temp ... literally a 450-degree braise. the texture is amazing, but it's definitely almost spoonable rather than fork-tender. the reason, as it was explained years ago by meat scientists who were kind of puzzled by it, is that the meat goes through the active temp range for certain enzymes so quickly that it doesn't have time to set up in the same way. (by the way, sorry for the sh*tty link, it's all i could find right off ... i also wrote about it in French Fry, I believe).
post #6660 of 7347
damnit, every time i think i'm starting to understand what i'm doing someone goes and ruins it all for me.

but this could explain my generally not-as-great-as-i-wanted braising results.

will try the hi-temp braise soon. shame it's summer.
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