Saturday, March 6, 2010

Using Coffee for Braising

A photo of a cup of coffee.Image via Wikipedia

Using Coffee for Braising

Are you aware that your favorite coffee blend could also be used in cooking other dishes? Chefs from all over the world are now developing new and revolutionary dishes that make use of this favorite morning and afternoon drink. Many chefs and restaurateurs are now braising, using coffee as an important ingredient in the liquid.
Food enthusiasts assert that coffee adds a significant amount of depth and layer to flavor. One of the most popular braised foods with coffee ingredients is mushroom sauce. Squab could also be braised using coffee. Some chefs add a small amount of non-sweetened cocoa powder to braise squab.
Do not be surprised to know that braising using coffee does not involve meat alone. Arctic char could also be rubbed with coffee grounds, black pepper, coriander, and cumin. It is then wrapped in hoja santa leaves before being braised in coffee ajus and beef. Veal stock and coffee could also be braised with foie grass.
When using coffee and coffee grounds in braising, pay particular attention to the amount or volume of coffee you use. The amount should depend on how strong you want the flavor to be. Be relaxed as there is just no fast and hard rule. Chefs recommend using strong coffee as a substitute for half of the stock, especially when braising heavily cut meat such as lamb and beef. The aromatic property of coffee could be integrated with the stock following simmering for a few hours.
Take note not to make the coffee flavor discernible. Remember that the goal you should have in using coffee for braising is not to make it taste in the meat. Rather, coffee should effectively blend in and boost layers of flavors. Combining stock and coffee can be easy for cooks who normally have pots of beef stock or veal simmering on a back burner.
You could use strongly brewed coffee instead of instant blends when braising. Some chefs also assert that instant espresso also works well. You could perform some experiments when braising so that you can determine how much more coffee would be useful when cooking. Be attentive and be creative when combining coffee with other active ingredients in cooking.
The idea is to make the flavor surface and last. You could also use coffee grounds and leftovers because it really would not matter. Open your eyes, your nose, and your taste buds to different new possibilities in braising by using coffee.
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